The Linda Ellis Business Model For People With No Conscience

This article is intended for authors like Linda Ellis -- meaning those authors who are mediocre enough to get a few things published but who cannot grow enough of an audience on their own to actually make an honest living.  For those of you that do not know Linda Ellis, she is the author registered copyright holder of a poem called “The Dash Poem”.   Somehow this poem gained some amount of mainstream media attention over the past 15 or so years and Linda has been trying to capitalize on that interest ever since.

Monetization Strategy # 1:  Sell as much “The Dash Poem” crap as possible

On her web site, you can purchase:

1.       The poem in an 18 x 36 gold frame

2.       The Dash Pictorial Gift Book

3.       Live Your Dash bracelets (an idea stolen from Lance Armstrong)

4.       The Dash Poem – unframed

5.       Live your Dash Ceramic Mugs

The store on her current web site has placeholders for two additional products.  We recommend that she print her insipid poem on rolls of toilet paper.  One SKU for scented and one SKU for unscented.

According to, Linda Ellis averages 7,593 unique visitors per month to her site.  This computes to 91,116 unique visitors per year.  According to Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg & Associates (Online marketing experts for authors and speakers) ( the average author/speaker web site converts 3% of unique visitors into buyers. 

This means that that Linda Ellis averages approximately 2733 sales per year.  If you assume her average order size to be $30 and if you assume that her profit margin is also 20% (high for retail, I know).  This means that the net profit on internet sales of crap is $16,398 per year.   Given how long she has been selling crap, I think this is a very generous estimate. But, I will give her the benefit of the doubt (something she is not so good at).

Monetization Strategy # 2:  Write books that are completely derivative from the poem she copyrighted that express no original ideas

On Amazon, she has three books for sale:

1.        “Live Your Dash: Make Every Moment Matter”. Hardcover – 288 pages -- $10.76

2.       “The Dash: Making A Difference with Your Life” (with Mac Anderson).  Hardcover – 96 pages -- $19.90

3.       “The Dash: Making a Difference with Your Life from Beginning to End” (with Mac Andersen).  Hardcover – 96 pages -- $10.87

Somehow she has managed to leverage a 239 word poem she copyrighted into 480 pages of completely derivative material – that comes out to almost exactly 2 pages of crap for every word in her poem.   Now I know why she isn’t selling toilet paper as a separate product.  She is selling it in the form of hardcover books.

So, let’s do some math.  Let’s assume that every single one of her web site visitors also looks her up on Amazon.  I have been told for hardcover books of this nature, the author can expect to profit $2.50 per book.  For her sake, we will assume that she converts the standard average of 3% of visitors into buying a single book.  This translates into selling 2733 books per year and a net profit of $6,832 not counting what she might have to share with the co-author of her two books.   But again, we are being generous.

Oh crap, she isn’t making that much money

Her profits from monetization strategies #1 and #2 total $23,230 per year, every year.   It is a nice annuity, but probably not enough for her to live on and certainly not enough to satisfy her ego (which might explain why she has used the same Glamour Shot on her website for five years.  That picture looks nothing like her by the way).   So, instead of working on her craft and learning how to market her work, she found another strategy that is MUCH more lucrative.

Monetization Strategy #3:  Be a complete troll and threaten people who accidently use some or all of the 239 words she had copyrighted.  Many of these people are grieving having recently lost loved ones.  This is a Web 2.0 variant of reading the obituaries and robbing people’s homes while you know they are attending a funeral.

She has installed a well oiled, money-making machine.  She says she is doing this to protect her copyright.  That is complete bullshit.  Since she has been intimidating people for over ten years, her copyright is more than adequately protected.   However, as you can see from the numbers above, SHE NEEDS MONEY.  Remember, when people say it is “not about the money”, it is ALWAYS about the money.  

The biggest asset she has is that her poem over the years has gone somewhat “viral” on the internet and received a decent amount of exposure. Many artists have leveraged this success in other ways and made crap tons of money.  Please  see Louis CK and Radiohead and the Grateful Dead who let their fans choose the price they pay for material – even if they decide to pay $0.  But Linda, appears to be extremely paranoid, has decided to leverage the “success” of her copyright by scouring the internet and sending emails to anyone she believes has infringed her copyright. 

[Note to self – if that poem ever does make it into the public domain in my lifetime, I am purchasing a toilet paper manufacturing plant and CRANKING up the presses.  In fact, I am going to put my request in my Will so my yet-to-be-born kids can follow up on my wishes]

If you search for “The Dash Poem” on the internet, Google returns approximately 66,000 results.  Searching “dash poem” results in another 21,900 results and “Linda Ellis” returns 185,000 results.  That is a target group (literally) of 273,000 people/groups.   To make this model work she outsources her hate.  She has what she calls a “contracted employee” chase people down and scare them into settling.  Based on what people have told me, the average settlement amount ranges from $250 to $5000.  So, let’s say the average is the midpoint of $2625.   Unfortunately, because so many people are innocently posting parts or all of her poem on their web sites, blogs, and Facebook pages, victims are easy to come by.  All she needs to do is settle 1 case per week (only a mere 52 people or groups per year) and she adds $136,500 to her bank account.  She probably pays her hit man a 20% commission leaving her with a net profit of $109,200 which is approximately FIVE times the amount she makes from her non “ass-holian” ways of making money.

So, she has likely turned a poem she copyrighted plus some internet success into an annual income over $100,000 by doing nothing but shaking down her fans who do not want to go to court.  This is how she is spending her dash.  Is it legal?  Yes.   Is it how you want to spend your dash?  Please let us know.

Personally, I think she is spending your dash.

For more information on Linda Ellis and The Dash Poem visit www.  and