"Ex-construction worker makes $309/day"

That was the bait in one of the emails jumping out at me when I powered up the smartphone this morning.

Now, I intend no offense to construction workers, and hope to encounter no irate representatives of their noble trade when next venturing out of doors, but the implied message here seems to be that we're talking easy money, i.e., if a mere ex-construction worker can pull off this trick, then surely it's not reserved for brainy types. Even I might get away with it. Assuming said worker maintained the pace for a year, he could double his previous earnings (I checked online to see what the average annual income is for construction workers).

So what did he do to improve his lot so radically? Here's the complete subject line of the email:
Ex-construction worker makes $309/day selling Kindle books? (Webinar)

Kindle books? But-but-but—that's what I do! At least, I have *a* Kindle book out there (and a very nice one, too—I wish you’d check it out).

Said book tends to pull in less than $309 per day, although hope springs eternal and so forth. Ah, but I don't know what the construction worker knows.

Moving on to the body of the email: "A friend of mine will reveal how he's making $309 per day selling Kindle books on Amazon. Want to know his SECRET?"

Does anyone not want a secret for raking in extra dough? But just in case greed isn't a sufficient motivator, there's more:
"p.s. You're going to learn all about the brand new Kindle Matchbook 'thing' too. If you don't know about this, you could be DEAD on Amazon in 2014."

A-ha! Fear! Greed plus the fear of being even further out in the cold than is already the case. If that doesn't get me clicking, maybe I'm dead already.

What's happening here is fairly blatant, I think. But then these emails must come to me for a reason. Suffice it to say that I've self-identified as a prospect by tuning in to a few of these webinars over the last couple years.

Enough times to know the format:

First, the presenter makes a case for the importance of his subject (being ready with quotable sound bites when asked a question about your book, having a personal brand, or whatever the topic du jour happens to be). And quite often he will actually let slip some usable tid-bit for free. But all too soon he begins talking about the system he'll share with you, for a small (actually, not so small) phenomenal fee, if you want access to the goodies that will change your life.

By the way, the guy sending this email happens to be an ex-lawyer. Lawyers are reputed to make quite a lot of money, but this one gave all that up to do things like hosting webinars. (Hmm)

Well, despite occasional unsubscribe requests, I continue to receive this stuff. The people sending it figure they know what I want.

Quick review: What do I want? My memoir is about parental love and sacrifice, about empowerment, about cooking for yourself if you don't like what's on the menu (metaphorically, that is). And my ongoing role, in attempting to notify the world of its existence, hopefully serves the purpose of providing some context for people who need to make decisions and aren't sure whom to trust.

And, well, it's a story, too, about pursuing dreams—dreams that may not be realistic but that nevertheless can motivate extraordinary accomplishments, albeit possibly at a cost (financial or otherwise).

Costs may be inevitable, but they should also be minimized.

In living out that story, I had many occasions to hear pitches for various ways of solving our problem and attaining our dream. I know how vulnerable one can be when they're delivered—how easy it becomes to shoehorn one's better judgment into taking the bait. Even when the proposed new strategy involves not only sacrifice of resources but a detour in some direction not closely related to the original dream.

I'm not going to become a huckster in the cause of promoting my book. Not even for $309 per day. It would feel like a betrayal of everything.
 •  3 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 01, 2013 17:58 • 1,138 views • Tags: persuasion, sales-pitch, webinar
Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jo (new)

Jo Carroll It's not only a betrayal, Stephen, it's falling for someone who seems to believe that we writers are fundamentally both greedy and gullible and will believe him when he says he can help us make this sort of money. I simply don't believe the figures - if he can do that, why not do it for himself? I feel sorry for people who get drawn into scams like this.

message 2: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Gallup Thanks for the comment, Jo. Writers are likely as gullible as anyone else, particularly when fretting about the success of a project as important as their own creation. That's probably why, on reflection, I feel a certain amount of outrage: This pitch attempts to do the same thing I've seen done to parents who are in great distress over whether their kids can be helped.

message 3: by Jon (new)

Jon McDonald Excellent Stephen, very useful in this new world of self publishing. Far too many novices (like myself) ready to take the bait.

back to top