Writers Bureau Course : Review and FAQs

Ever since I got enlisted on the Writers Bureau "Writer of the Year" Award section on their website, I have been receiving countless calls and emails from a lot of aspiring writers from across the country. Just to make it easier for myself, I have decided to type out a detailed post about the course and some FAQ's that prospective students may have. I feel extremely glad to be able to help newbie writers in any way I can but don't be surprised if I copy-paste sections of this post or its slightly tailored versions in my email replies. It makes lot of sense as opposed to writing the same stuff over and over again to ten different people in a day!

30-something queries later, I have a fair idea about the common dilemmas that every writer would have regarding an online writing course. Please bear in mind that the info in this post is entirely based on my knowledge and experiences, and may not be always correct. While I have tried to answer most questions, there might be something that I have missed or overlooked. Do feel free to drop in a mail if you don't find what you are looking for:

Is the WB course credible or is it a scam?
Yes, it is a recognized course but it is not equivalent to a university diploma or degree. The course content is focused on self-improvement rather that developing any new skill sets in the area of writing. However, the WB people WILL NOT run away with your money and their response to queries and mails is fairly prompt. You can, at best, equate it with a writing workshop.

Will it help enhance my resume and career options?

Not really. The course is entirely aimed at your own development as a writer (read: practice and know-how) and recruiters/clients will probably not care about it much.

Will the course help me become a successful writer?

I would suggest you do it only if you have absolutely no previous experience in the field of writing. Most of the material in the modules can be found on various websites and blogs for writers and moreover, the course will not do anything to make a "writer" out of you. However, they do give some valuable tips on how to package, present and sell your work to various publications. The tutors will guide you where you are going wrong but cannot help it if you do not have the required command over language and style. That said, making a living out of magazine feature writing is not a feasible option in India as most publications pay peanuts. You will eventually have to explore other areas of writing like content writing, copy writing and editing if you wish to earn a decent salary out of your work.

The upside is that the course helps you discipline and organize yourself. Assignments pertaining to various modules compel you to explore different areas of writing like fiction, magazine features, non-fiction, writing for newspapers etc so that you can work out what you are actually good at. This again, is nothing that you cannot motivate yourself to do. The only way to be a good writer is to write - nothing else can replace that. I have had a good experience with my tutor and his encouraging comments have certainly done a little something for my confidence, especially in the beginning. C'mon it helps when someone marks your articles as "very well written".

Does the course offer value for money and will I be able to earn my course fee back?

At Rs.20,000, the course does not offer too much value for money in terms of course content but on the other hand, it is not at all difficult to earn your fee back. Once your writing career sets off, you will be able to earn that amount within a few months. Anyhow, they offer a money-back guarantee in case you are unable to do so. So in a way, you have nothing much to lose except time and energy.

An average Indian publication pays around Rs.1000 for a 1000-word article. By that means you have to sell 20 articles to get there which is not too difficult.

Will the WB guys help you get published / pay for your work/ recommend you to publications/ find markets?

No they won't. You will have to scout for markets on your own. Your tutors only suggest whether your writing falls into the "publishable standard" category and the course material will brief you on how to approach editors and market your work.

What exactly does the course teach?

It focuses a little bit on every type of writing - magazines, newspapers, non-fiction, fiction, fillers etc. You can place a request for a free course brochure/prospectus through their website for detailed info on course structure and topics covered.

Was I a writer before taking up the course and has the course really helped me?

To be very frank, I took up the course because I had absolutely no confidence in myself when I started out. If you believe yourself to be a good writer, you can just take the plunge and see how it goes. I was not much of a writer before I enrolled for the course. I just used to write for a few academic assistance websites. Creative writing is something that you have to nurture and practice on your own - no course can do that for you. Now I have taken writing as a full-time profession but it has more to do with other areas of writing. You can check out the kind of work i do at www.shuchikalra.com.

I have attempted to enlist a few pros and cons of the course that may help you weigh your options:

Pros:

  • The course helps you explore different styles of writing and career options in the field.
  • The tutors are extremely helpful and can guide you to tailor your writing for different publications.
  • It is not difficult to earn the course fee back if you follow the course carefully and are already a good writer.
  • It encourages you to write more (through assignments) and practice your skills.
  • The course gives a fair idea about what markets to target ( mostly UK based and does not talk of any Indian markets)

Cons:

  • The course will not help you if you do not have a good command over English and above average creative faculties.
  • You just get to do a couple of assignments for each writing style and the onus of constant practice solely rests upon you.
  • The course material is not very detailed and most info can be found on various websites for writers. This may be good news if you are not willing to shell out the bucks.

Hope this helps. Drop in any comments/suggestions that can help me add more.

41 comments:

  1. thanks for the brief yet insightful article on the WB course. I was debating the course benefits for quite some time, this article helped immensely!

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  2. Hey!! Thanks for writing up and giving your genuine views on the course..:)

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  3. Suchi , you are better than a real Gem ! ravienator@gmail.com

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  4. Thank you so much for this information, Shuchi. I was planning to get enrolled for a course on article writing. I lot of my queries have been solved. This is really worth appreciating that, out of your busy schedule, you have taken pains to share this trivia with all aspiring writers. Thanks a lot again.

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  5. Thanks for dropping by...would be glad to be of any help :)

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  6. Hi Shuchi, What you have listed out in the above article has been very very helpful. I just received the prospectus a few weeks ago and was contemplating joining the WB.
    Your article will help me take the correct decision. Thanks. ~Poonam

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  7. Thanks Suchi for offering such a valuable and genuine guidance.

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  8. Hi Shuchi,

    This Review about Writes Bureau course is very informative, and this really helps one to take a decisions. this review helps people for India. but one thing, can you tell me if this helps me in writing in US style or to write for US clients, because they need it in their style.

    can you reply to this

    Thanks

    Prashanth

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  9. Thank you will be quite an understatement you deserve more..I had second thoughts about joining WB....I have been receiving prospectus with special discounts soaring new scale and now it is deduced upto 6k that made me doubt it's authentisim ..I'm 19 years old and like every contemporary fellow depend on my father's funds..making a living out of writing wud be to early a thought..

    If you won't mind chuck some precious time out of your clock 2 reply me.

    :)

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  10. Hey,
    My advice is DO NOT DO the Writers Bureau courses.
    They are a complete waste of your money and time. I completed two of them (CopyEditing and Copywriting), and found 2 books I had bought from Amazon on the same subjects far more useful than the Writers Bureau courses. And they only cost £8 (GBP) compared to £200+.
    The Writers Bureau has also been exposed as deliberately misleading in its advertising. For reports on the Writers Bureau SCAM see http://spencro.blogspot.com/2007/11/writing-for-profit-revisited.html and http://www.asa.org.uk/Complaints-and-ASA-action/Adjudications/2007/11/The-Writers-Bureau-Ltd/TF_ADJ_43467.aspx .

    Just do yourself a favour and DO NOT use the Writers Bureau, unless you like feeling that you have thrown an awful lot of money down the drain.

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    Replies
    1. Well, this is not 100% true. Join the course for the trainers. It’s beautiful when some one gives you constructive feedback about what you write. If you can just read the books, you shouldn’t have joined a school. I think there is an extent to which a course material can help you be a writer. You have to have it within you. WB has a fair share in helping you know yourself better.

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  11. thanks a lot....your comments were really helpful

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  12. well said, I won't take it.

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  13. thanks for the info but could you tell me if they have any centre in delhi?

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  14. Thanks Suchi. I had enrolled in the copywriting course and I do find the course book informative. I guess the interaction with the tutors adds the most value to the course. I believe this is a good way to experiment for the ones interested in writing. By the way, I love your post! keep up the good work

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  15. hey! what are you talking about in here guys?am looking forward to start the course with the WB but this one guy mr
    anonymous has shocked me .Is he right.?please.

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  16. I also look forward to my course with WB - I am with Anonymous of July 30 2011.Which Anonymous is right,pls?Is it a waste of money or worth it?

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  17. If reading Shuchis' article helped me to take a step further to making a decision about the WB course, the many anonymouses have succeeded in confusing me :/
    HELP!

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  18. Hey! Am new to this post. The WB course seems interesting but the last few comments have thoroughly confused me. Since the last post was some time back, any leads that can help people like me in their decisions?

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  19. I've heard mixed reviews about the WB course.. I've actually enrolled myself and am having second thoughts about it.. I hope the quality of the course is good enough...

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  20. i am confused...but thhe writer's bureau wld be genuine nd nice i believe because u need to try out things at times to know exactly what it is..if u have the money i feel u shld go for it...

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  21. Does anyone have WB course? Can they sell me as second hand or its xerox? Please contact me at m.in@rediffmail.com

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  22. Hi.
    i just saw WB ad in the Times of India and I wanted to check out. This post helped in understanding more on the course.

    Thanks.
    http://nokik.blogspot.com

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  23. Hi Shuchi,

    Does WB has any centres in India? Am also quite confused with regard of there authenticity? i Received two to three brochures from WB, where it says that they will help us to find the market to sell our writings.
    Basically, i did journalism course and i want to enhance my writing skills. Thought of taking up the course with WB, but am in a big dileamna,should i do the course of drop the plan.

    Can you pleae reply to this.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Priya

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  24. Hi. Well, this blog is really good. Well, I have been thinking about joining WB course as well. Its a lot of money, so I am really unsure. I am an Indian from Malaysia and I love reading and writing but I am not good enough. your article is really good but some of the comments have made me confused. Should I or should I not?

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  25. could you let me know the course content please?
    I am interested in non-fiction writing details of courses offered by WB will help me choose the right course.

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  26. Nicely explained, I want know more about WB, thanks for your awesome thought on it.

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  27. Hey friends,

    It seems that WB stands as a reputed and a professional body, and there are many writers from India and around the world who have profited from its expertise.

    I have received a prospectus from them and Shuchi's blog really helped me take a positive decision in this respect. After all, its a great stepping stone to a grand writing career.

    The WB course takes you to the doorstep of that career, and from there onwards, its entirely up to you how well you fare.

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  28. I was stupid to pay for this course. I did not receive my books even after striving hard to pay everything. Stay away if you can. Now i wish i had obeyed my conscience or had found this article earlier.

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  29. The problem with the Writers Bureau is that it is misleading in its advertisements. Anyone getting the course should read the fine print very carefully.
    For example, when I had ordered the course I was under the impression that there was no time limit for the course because that was what was stated on their "Prospectus". NOWHERE in those 10-15 pages did they mention that there was a 4 year time limit on the course. However, the enrollment form that you sign on states that there is a four year time limit.
    Also, they do lead you to believe that they will help you find a market for your work, but like Suchi rightly said you have to scout for markets on your own.
    Join in if you can afford to spend on their courses with the only expectation that you will have someone to read your work, correct it for you and encourage you on.
    But then, even I could do that for you & i'd do it for free!! :) lol

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  30. I have finished the course and had a book published. Without the course this would have been impossible. I think its a brilliant course. In terms of value for money...definitely! Four years of tution is a long time!

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  31. thankyou so much for your genuine advice. i m accepting the bitter fact that the course is not going to help you a great deal if you are not above the average milestone of the "queens" language! :( but still, being a complete newbie in this writing world and ofcourse , my undying passion for writing is invoking me to give it a try...:) well, you stroke the chord somewhere deep inside and m gonna take it even more serious along with my academics!! thankyou . cheers di!!
    kriitiarora@rocketmail.com

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    Replies
    1. First, I'd like to say thank you to Shuchi for taking the time to give everyone the pros and cons of studying with The Writers Bureau - she's done a wonderful job. And I am pleased that she got on so well with her tutor - this is vital in any course.
      Here at the Writers Bureau, we don't claim to offer a degree level qualification. What we do offer is a really practical course that will get you published and earning from your writing if you follow your tutor's advice.
      We do, however, feel that it will enhance your career options as publishers and editors are not really interested in your CV. The only thing they are interested in is how good your writing is. They want to see links to your published work so that they can decide whether you can write to the standard they expect.
      We have been helping students achieve their writing ambitions for the last 22 years - so we must be doing something right. I can assure you that we are a well established and reputable college - a member of the Association of British Correspondence Colleges (ABCC) and the British Institute for Learning and Develpment (BILD).
      You can always contact us at studentservices@writersbureau.com if you have any further queries or need advice about a writing career.

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    2. I have found the course useful (writing for children), notably the advice from tutors. Making the most of the course is up to the student.

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  32. Thank you for taking out time to address everyones' queries. T'was an informative article.

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  33. hi Suchi,

    I'm into advertising writing for almost a decade. Yesterday I spoke to my mentor about enhancing my copy-writing skills and my grasp in English. He recommended mt WB and said that he is also going to get enrolled. One thing I want to know is that will it help me in my advertising writing?

    Sujeet

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  34. Thanks Shuchi for sharing your views and experience with the WB course. I have been an amateur writer for a while now, as I have a passion for writing. But, if I were to consider the WB course to make a transition to a writing-related career, it won't help me much in terms of getting industry-recognized credentials, though it might improve my writing skills. These days, most publications and media houses give a break to only writers with proven skills with past publications. So, despite spending Rs. 20k if one can't get one's competence certified, guess it's not for me.

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  35. You are very honest and straight forward. Thank you for that

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  36. At first,unlike all , Thanks to Shuchi for sharing all her views, opinion, expereience with WB and also giving Pro's & Con's of WB course explaining in short. Just to share small story of mine shuchi - real fact.
    I like to write a lot lot lot on every topics which interest's & inspires me, namely on Indian Economy/International Policitical situation/India's Foreign Trade etc..) I had been writing since past 20 years to Present PM of india Dr Manmohan singh since 1993 (was FM of India) /Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji and again to Dr Singh till date, during writing in 1998 had applied to WB but after getting course details and time line, found course will not serve the purpose as it is of long duration/lenghty and to talk to Tutor in UK will be again time consuming and expensive.In 1998 was living in Mumbai and was a great FAN of The Times of India newspaper (as it is not just Newspaper but whole package of News/Views/Information of Local/national/international level, over & above the only 'Newspaper'found creating/giving and extending so many types of Opportunities & statistical inside info to its readers), I have visited Times of India office opposite to CST or V T Station twice in 1998 and somehow trying to meet some Editors and wanted to give them Articles written on Indian Economy - challenges and solutions,India's foreign trade, International political situation /International Diplomcy on Foreign Trade & Commerce but all in Vain, as you in your views "Rightly Stated" that Editors are least interested in your article. But that didn't stop me from writing to my Prime Minister of India at that time to Mr Atal bihari vajpayeeji and once I have in my letter to PM, suggested and requested to start Website of PMO , which will enable people like me to write to them anytime and from anywhere and the End Result was within a weeks time have come to know from the News in same " The Times of india" that PMO has started website name "pmindia.nic.in" for people of India and every citizen of india can write to PM of India now directly'. Shuchi you can check in 1998 /1999 this small news which appeared in The Times of India. Since 1998 till date have been writing to my PM as and when wished/want to write on every matters, which makes my country India a "Super Power " in all aspects. I am much thankful to the than PM of India Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji for fulfilling such a small but very big wish of mine and Today every State Govt has there own such Website having field asking " Your View/Opinion" or Write to the Chief Minister of ...... State".
    Even recently President Mr Pranab Mukherjee iniated same in Jan 2013 inviting views from common man of India directly to him ( news came in The time of India again) and I have written in Feb and also received Appreciation from President's Office - Secretary for writing to the President of India.
    Reason for sharing this story was to inform via your Views blog to you , to WB and to all upset & depressed writers that - "Where there is a will there is a way" and God helps those who help themselves" and also vimp to note that " when i viisted TOINS office in mumbai and had my some of the so called Articles were atleast taken or readed by Editors , a thought to write to PM of India to start a Direct Dialing or Website for Common citizen would not have arised and benefited our country and to all Writing loving People.
    Thanks to Suchi again and Warm Regards
    Bhavya Shah.

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  37. I am technical writer and this information really help me alot. Thanks

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  38. HI,
    I can see that you have puts lots of time in this blog, this is vey inresting article to read.
    Assignment Writing

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