Friday, October 12, 2007

I thought I could be an internet millionaire/ or/ how I found out about the Russian mafia

Chapter 1 Gullible

If you have an email address and spend any time surfing the Internet, then I am sure you have received the same email that lured me in, the one that started my descent into the abyss of internet marketing. I’m proud to think that I’ve grown adept at avoiding the most common internet spam and fraudulent schemes. I’ve never set up a bank account for my Nigerian friend who holds me in such high esteem. I’ve never invested in any cream or potion of dubious origin that is guaranteed to increase my penis size – ok, I am a woman, so maybe that one was easy. I’ve also never used my home as a drop shipment address for the offshore business whose owner will repay me ten fold.

No, the one that got me concerned a topic much closer to my heart. This one would make me a fortune by teaching me to write an eBook in just seven days.

What writer doesn’t want to hear that blissful combination of words. You will be rich, and you will write your book in just seven days.

I knew this was something I could do, and I could imagine my words read by hundreds of thousands of folks paying rapt attention throughout the United States. Oh, why stop there? With translation software, people all over the world would read my book. I already had my topic: I would teach people how to write grants. Fiction would have been my preference, but I needed something a little more solid to start with. I had run a successful grant writing business for several years, so I would consolidate my knowledge into a book that would teach people how to write grants.

You may think, “How many people are going to buy that,” but that thought came and was quickly dashed by the upbeat sales letter, which included testimonials from previous satisfied customers. How could I be so late in receiving this email? These people had already made their fortunes, and I was just now receiving the sales letter. Clearly, I had to start immediately.

The sales letter also explained how an eBook eliminated the troublesome search for an agent and negotiations with a publisher. This was the wave of the future, the techie revolution that allowed authors to directly reach the masses, all without killing trees.

Part of the attraction of selling and buying over the internet is that there is no one around to stop you from making your purchase. No sales clerk will look at you in reproach as you sheepishly pay for your jujitsu knife. No dressing room attendant will roll her eyes at the miniskirt you try to pass off as being for your daughter who happens to be your same dress size. No, on the internet, nothing stands between you and your purchase except for your credit card number, which I gladly provided with the assurance that my information was protected on their secure server.

I bought the course for the bargain, special price of $24.99, a price that would NEVER BE OFFERED again. How lucky could I be? I had found my perfect vehicle for becoming a millionaire, and it happened to be on special for that day only.

Even better, the course was itself an eBook that I could immediately download. The clock had already started running on my seven days ‘til millionaire status.

In all honesty, if I had read more carefully or at least considered more carefully what I was reading, I would have realized that I was not being taught how to actually become a millionaire in seven days, just how to write an eBook. But I felt confident that the millionaire part would surely follow shortly thereafter.

I followed the course to at “T”. Well, not exactly. The course encouraged me to just write without worrying about spelling or grammar or even logical flow of information, we would go back and fix that later. Even though I kept trying to take this advice, I couldn’t ignore grammar. I couldn’t just type a paragraph that didn’t fit in the flow; I had to fix these problems as I went along. I had to fret and worry and pull my hair over every word. And references, I had to track down references, and everyone knows how twisted the internet searches can be. A search to find out who wrote a particular quote can lead to hours long reading about the French Revolution, which has nothing to do with grant writing, by the way.

So it took a little longer than seven days to complete. Actually, quite a lot longer than seven days by the time I read the information, wrote, researched, revised, wrote some more, tried to find some more information to add, stretched the writing, and finally added an author page, title page, table of contents, and index to reach the suggested 50 page minimum for an eBook of premium value.

But the point is, I followed through. I did create an eBook of which I could be proud, and that I thought would be very useful to the organizations that had already been kept waiting for longer than my allotted time.

Now, indeed, I had this eBook, locked in my computer with no way out. And that is where the course I had bought ended.

No instructions on how to reach the masses who were waiting for my tome. Nothing about building an email list, collecting money, how to deliver the product. No affiliate team waiting to market and promote my prize. I needed some way of getting my millionaire in the works book out on the web. But the seven-day bible didn’t mention any of this. My timeframe was already skewed way past seven days due to the writing, a website would surely set me back quite a bit more.

I went back to the original sales letter, which I had bookmarked in my Favorites folder. Nothing about how to send out your eBook. I went back to the guru’s site, expecting that there would be “Volume Two, Selling Your Seven-Day eBook” available for sale. Still, there was nothing.

to be continued

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