Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Buyer Beware--Even if it's Free--or Nearly Free--at Least Appears to Be!

(I promise, there’s a positive note at the end of my rant.)

Yes, I’m still gritching and groaning … and trying to save the newbie’s money! Saving the newbie-writer from heartache and mis-spent monetary currency is one of the reasons TWC exists, so please bear with me while I vent once more. Please also note that I’m speaking for myself and not for anyone else.

I promised an update to my February 6 post regarding Pay to be Paid Scams: Even though the newsletter owner promised to quote me in his rebuttal, his next edition stated that he did not wish “to incite”, and the issue was dropped altogether. HOWEVER, he is still pushing sales of the Pay to be Paid Scam. Please do not fall prey by paying $50 for absolutely NOTHING on this “Opportunity”!

I repeat: Rob, “SHAME ON YOU!” A scam is a scam no matter where on earth it is formulated or perpetrated.

On to other issues:

Over the years I’ve gotten hundreds—if not thousands—of newsletters and e-zines written by the top writing gurus. Most started out good or even almost great, and then denigrated to pushing the latest e-books or courses written by the editor/writer and/or his/her buddies.

(Please note this does not include those writers/editors who put out quality electronic publications to, honestly, help other writers—usually at very reasonable prices. This bitch session is aimed mostly at copywriters … this time.)

Seems when they go from sending out one quality newsletter or e-zine per month, as Peter Bowerman does, or once a week, as John Forde and Trent Steele do, to filling up your inbox with time-wasters carefully worded in their best emotion-grabbing copywriting to buy this and buy that to turn you into a $600K per year Bob Bly or Clayton Makepeace wannabe, they’re in it not to make money from copywriting, but off you and me. Why else would Mr. Bly have spent the time to write 70+ books? Why else would his books be shilled in nearly every copywriter’s e-zine?

Then there’s self-proclaimed reformed lawyer—and spam king—Shawn Casey, who will sell you his business in a box, complete with all the copywriting … for you to sell to others, who will sell to others. Honestly, just what the hell is being sold here?

Even though I enjoy Forde’s weekly e-zine, and Bob Bly and Clayton Makepeace are two of the best copywriters on the planet, the constant push to sell the latest and greatest from either of them is a turnoff. However, Forde’s e-zine typically contains enough substance to keep my finger off the unsub link.

End of rant. On to the positives.

This week Forde offers up a link to test how your webpage looks in 21 different browsers. This tool is a keeper: http://browsershots.org/

In COPYWRITER'S ROUNDTABLE #349, he also goes on to explain “How to Tell the Difference Between a "Good" Idea and a "Great" One”.

“Are You Thinking Too Hard” answers the question of why our best ideas hit us when we’re in the shower or driving down the road. Definitely worth a read. Subscribe at CopyRoundtable@jackforde.com

Also on a positive note: A few months ago our guest here at TWC was Dr. Bruce Cook. I loved his first book, “Philippine Fever”. I’m now about two-thirds of the way through his second, “Blood Harvest”, published under the pen name Brant Randall. Why the name change? He’s done exactly what we’ve addressed here many times and used one pen name for each genre.

“Philippine Fever” is all action/crime, written in one voice. “Blood Harvest” is historical, based on a true story related to him by his grandmother, and told in nine first-person narratives, where “dumb clucks” becomes “dumb Klux”. A lynching, political aspirations and moonshiner’s greed, combine to make one fine read. “Blood Harvest” is due out in May.

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