When I was a kid- my grade eight math teacher told our class about a mail-order scam where someone would put an ad in the classifieds–offering an ancient secret to becoming rich and famous. All you had to do was send nine dollars to a box number and the secret of unlimited wealth would be yours.
A few weeks later, a booklet in a plain brown package would arrive. You would tear open the package to discover that the secret was putting your own ad in the paper-and sending out the booklet yourself. You could buy the booklet in bulk. You could put your ad in multiple newspapers and then before you knew it you would be raking in the millions, nine bucks at a time.
I don’t think the mail-order scam is still around, but we have plenty of high tech versions of the same thing.
Recently out of curiosity, I signed up for a free seminar that promised to teach the secrets to becoming a best selling author on Amazon.com
I realized pretty quickly that the the free seminar was just a pitch for the upgrade.
An upgrade would give me instant access to the special secret insider info, which was being shared for the first time by the hottest-most powerful, most successful superstars in the booming billion dollar e-book business. Apparently there were over ten thousand people who had already clicked through to the upgrade according to the ticking counter on the sidebar. The upgrades were going like hotcakes.
Now I am a little bit overly skeptical by nature, probably because of the x-ray glasses that I trustingly sent away for when I was eight. My x-ray glasses were a real life lesson. But apparently there are many people who are willing to believe that the flow of wealth is only a secret away.
I clicked over to the upgrade page just to see what the deal was.
I saw–various upgrade packages available. For two hundred and fifty dollars you would get the seminar but the five hundred dollar bundle would get you the seminar plus the bonus lessons, and if you wanted to go directly to the sanctum of insider secrets– well that would be a thousand dollars where you could get the seminar and the bonus lessons and a private coaching session from one of the experts, plus they would help you build your own website so that you could sell your ebooks and offer seminars where you could sell insider secrets. Well, I clicked myself out of there pretty quickly– but I have to admit a part of me was thinking, “Was I being negative again? Was I being fearful and closed minded? Was I blocking the flow of wealth and money?” “No!” said the other part of me. What kind of inside track would you be on if ten thousand people were on it with you? That seminar and all those so called secrets were just the mail-order scam 2.0.
It’s kind of a metaphor for our human frailty. We want to believe there’s a short cut, a secret door, an easy way to get rich quick. Even rational intelligent people with college educations and a lot of success in life will fall for Ponzi schemes.
Here is my secret. And it’s free. If you want to get rich writing ebooks, write one. Find out how hard it is to actually write a book. Find out how difficult it is to shape an original idea and then develop it into something that makes sense. Find out how writing is painful and takes diligence and determination and time. A lot of time. Then when you have done that– you can look into how to sell it and get people to buy it. It goes for anything in life. Do the work. There’s no shortcut. There’s no secret.