Writers Are Faking Their Success

These are five techniques they use to mislead readers.

Benya Clark
4 min readAug 14, 2022
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Last month, I wrote an article called Writers Are Lying To You About Their Earnings. It’s about all of the hoops that writers jump through to give a misleading representation of how much they’re earning — from hiding behind claims of “satire” to outright lying.

That article did unexpectedly well, so — God forgive me — I’ve decided to be a hack and write this follow-up. Since the first article already covers the main rhetorical devices that writers use to exaggerate earnings, in this article I’m going to shift the focus to the technical ways that writers use to provide fake “proof” that they are successful.

Photoshopping Screenshots

One of the oldest tricks in the book is to photoshop screenshots so that they display different numbers than they originally did. For example, a writer might receive an email stating that they’ve earned $500, but then edit in an extra zero so it looks like they earned $5,000.

Sloppy photoshops are easy to spot, but when they’re done well, they’re virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. No matter how many screenshots an author provides, they haven’t proven anything.

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Benya Clark

I’m a lawyer turned writer from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, and more. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter at exploringsobriety.com.