Thursday, November 10, 2005

You To Can Make Millions From Your Blog!

I absolutely love self-help books.

Not because I think they’ll help me in any way, but because half of the time, the ‘advice’ they give you is bloody hilarious.

I remember sitting in Writing Class, when my tutor walked in. A girl was sitting bolt upright at her desk, grin on her face, and a book with a title something like “How to Get Rich From Writing”.

My tutor glanced at the book, did a double take, and almost burst out laughing.

“This is an excellent point I wanted to raise.” She said. “Don’t bother with any of this crap. The only way to guarantee to get rich from writing, or get your book published in ‘five easy steps’ is to write a book like this, because people who don’t know any better buy them.”

Red faced, the girl pushed the book into her bag.

“You don’t need someone who’s never published a novel telling you how to do it.” My Tutor continued. She turned to the dry-erase board and took out a marker. “Here is all you need to know, and the only way to get published.” She wrote:

  1. Practice writing until you’re very, very good at it.

  2. Come up with a damn good story.

  3. Do some research, and find a reputable, successful agent, specifically one that doesn’t ask you for money up front.

  4. Ask your new agent to find a publisher.

“That’s it.” She said. “Writing is a talent. If you’re good enough to get published, you will be. That’s all you need to know about how to get published.”

Now I’m not talking about all self-help books here. There are some good ones that give advice on how to deal with thinks like the loss of a loved one, etc, etc.

I’m talking about the ones that promise to make you a whole heap of money, with little or no effort. How to get women to like you. You know, crap.

I once read an advertisement for a self help book, that the sales pitch went something like this:

I’m 40 years old, short, balding and not very good looking, but I sleep with a new woman every single night! How? Because I know certain key words that drive women wild.

A friend of my brother’s actually wanted to buy this thing. I asked him:

“(Name removed to protect the ignorant), if a 350lb woman, with bad BO, no teeth and a mustache asked you out, is there any way you would say yes?”

“No.” He said, as if it was obvious.

“So what makes you think that just by saying the right thing, you could make any woman go out with you? Women are, you know… people. Not some weird alien race that once you’ve figured them out, you can wrap them around your little finger!”

“Yeah, but this guy says he knows key words!

Let me tell you all something. Unless those words are, ‘I have a squijillion dollars in the bank, my own private jet and a Porsche’ and the woman you’re talking to is as shallow as a bedpan, there are no key words.

I just want to know why the people who write these books are so out of touch with reality. Most of their advice would only work in a perfect world, or they appear to have been written by people who have lots of theories, but have never tried them out in real life. It’s like the son of a millionaire, with a trust fund, who has never worked an actual day in their life writing a book about how to make millions from just what you have in your pocket.

Yeah, pal, it’s a great theory, but come back when you’ve actually spent a single day with at least one toe in the pools of reality.

Sunny recently found a book called “Minimum Wage to Maximum Wealth”  (Yes, ‘maximum wealth’ was underlined, just to show they’re serious.

Now this book starts out with some fairly decent advice. Don’t buy things you don’t need, and certainly don’t buy things you don’t need on finance.

However, that’s where the reality stops.

For one, they suggest after you’ve paid off your credit cards, to close them out and never get another card.

Bad idea. The best thing to do is pay off a credit card, cut it in half, but leave the account open. Why? Because if you need to apply for a loan, and they get your credit report, if you only have a single credit card near its limit, it’s a red flag. You’re using over 90% of your available credit. If you have 5 credit cards, but only use one of them, on your credit report, it shows that you’re only using 20% of your credit potential.

Ok, but that I could excuse. What came next had me laughing out loud:

Speak to your boss, and demand that your company allow its employees to invest in the company. Demand an independent, non-salaried professional to oversee this, and also demand that the company hold regular seminars, courses and workshops on how to invest.

State that you are going to go public with this idea, and if they go along with it, it will result in good publicity for the company. If they refuse, state that they will get ‘appropriate’ publicity.

So basically, this great advice is to demand that your company change its business practices, and spend money out if its own pocket to do it, all to satisfy you, a single employee…and if they don’t do as you say, your ace in the hole is that you’ll tell the papers what complete shits they are.

Let me translate this into reality speak:

Go talk to your boss, and tell him you want your way, or you’ll cause a shit-storm of trouble for him. This will let your boss know that you’re an opinionated troublemaker with no grounding at all in reality.

By reading my book, you’ll expect your boss to be terrified of you writing a letter to the local paper, that no-one will be interested in or give a shit about. He knows it probably won’t get printed, because the column space will be taken up by a much more interesting story of a local man who taught his dog to water-ski.

Your boss will completely fail to register the fact that you’re causing trouble, and that trouble can be taken away with the two simple words: ‘you’re fired’. There is a line of people behind you who are so desperate for a job that you’ll be easy to replace with someone who will soil their pants on your boss’s say so.  

So go ahead, become the annoying ‘trouble’ employee, the one that your boss will at first simply avoid, before actively looking for an excuse to fire you.

Anyway, in closing I would like to announce the release of my own self help book, entitled “How to not be a self-help book-buying moron”. Here it is in it’s entirety, and you can print it out for free:

There is no easy way to make money. If there was, we’d all be rich. Self help books are crap written by people after a quick buck. They are under no legal obligation to deliver what they promise, so just don’t bother.

Here’s the one step program, to rid you of your self-help addiction:

Step One : Don’t buy them.

1 comment:

MC Etcher said...

A lot of advice in such books does seem like common sense crap, but many people do not have common sense, and may find some value in such books.

What's frustrating to me is how far beyond 'writing' you have to go to get anything published and marketed.

If I wanted to be a salesman, marketer, or one-man PR Firm, that's what I would have done.

And you can't just write a brilliant story, you have to write a genius query and a Pulitzer-worthy cover letter just to get the first page your story read.