I got an email this evening which made me angry.
Things that make me angry are quite common these days, and a certain kind of email, which I started to get after we attended a business show at the O2 earlier this year, is near the top of the list. They usually advertise webinars – and in the name of Humanity, how did we go from the discovery of fire to the invention of manned flight to the webinar? – which promise get-rich-quick internet schemes but are in reality just sales pitches for ‘secrets of business success’ packages.
Tonight’s email had the same title as this post, and it caught my eye. I have joined the Kindle Revolution. I have published a novella and a short story as ebooks. This email was about me, and others like me.
Well, no, it wasn’t. I won’t tell you who it was from, or whose wares it was advertising, but I will otherwise quote freely from it.
It begins – and I have not altered the spelling or grammar:
‘have you ever wanted to write a book ? Your own book gives you INSTANT credibility and means you can charge more and get more clients for whatever you do. PLUS you can make great money from selling your book (especially if you self publish) KINDLE and other eBook formats are now outselling physical books in a massive new BOOMING MARKET. But maybe you have been put off by what seems a HUGE effort to make it happen ?’
It then goes on to speak of a person who has published 170 books ‘and is £3m the richer for it’ and knows the secret of how to write a book in eleven hours and will pass that knowledge on to me at a special event, for which, at a special discount price, I will only be charged 50%.
Now. I am writing a novel at the moment. It’s maybe a third finished. It has taken me quite a lot longer than eleven hours so far. There’s no guarantee whether it will ever be published, or if it is, whether it will make any money at all, and I find this kind of email rather offensive. If this bloke’s system is so good, why is he sharing it with people? Why is he trying to create a new generation of competitors?
That line about writing your own book giving you ‘INSTANT credibility’ made me angry too. The idea that you can use the writing of a book as leverage to charge clients more is rather insulting to those of us who try and do this for a living.
I know what this event will be about, because I’ve heard this bloke talking about it before. Personally, I think it’s rather immoral, but I thought that about quite a lot of the things I saw at the O2. I suspect it will involve an ‘inspirational’ talk including many charts and slides and call-and-response, then an invitation to join a ‘workshop’ or to buy a course at a ‘discount.’
We live in desperate times, and many people still don’t quite understand the internet. Certainly they don’t quite understand epublishing – god only knows a lot of people who work in publishing don’t seem to have got their heads round epublishing yet. It’s a fertile place for someone to set up get-rich-quick schemes, but really these schemes only work for the few. The purpose of the event mentioned in this email is not to make people rich – it’s to make money for the organisers.
And that makes me angry too.