As a result of this, I got inspired and wanted to share three things with you.
- The whole experience and the 10 key learnings
- The real reason for the workshop – The Sales Pitch
- Pros and Cons of Gerry’s business offer.
The event started on Friday night. When I arrived at registration there were about 200 people waiting. It was so packed they had to re-arrange the whole layout to accommodate everyone. My advice: sit at the front or you may stand up all evening!
The event started at 7:30 pm and I could see the zombie eyes of those who worked all day and were now ready to listen for 3 hours to strangers talking. I expected a paid protégé of Gerry Robert would lead the weekend but no no, it was the man himself (not as plumpy as his pictures suggest, apparently he’s lost 13 stone recently). Gerry starts off by telling us the story of how he grew up in a poor family, worked hard and got on a $100k salary at 26, blah blah then one day he paid $7500 for a seminar that changed his life blah blah. I could smell the sales pitch already aka ‘I used to be poor, I spent $$$$ and now I am rich’.
He then promised that we’d learn the secret of real success and that anyone can publish a book to kickstart their business. Not only that, he won’t try to sell us any other seminars, 1) because he ain’t got any and 2) because he hates sales pitches. In fact he hates them so much he’d kick us out if we tried to sell anything to each other in the audience. But guess what – he prepares us for the drum-roll. There was gonna be a sales pitch (it just wouldn’t be about a seminar I guess) – Saturday evening whoever wanted to stay and listen to Gerry’s sales ability – could do so.
Lesson 1: There is no money selling books. The money is in the business around the book.
Why would you kill yourself selling thousands of books for $10 when you can give away a book for FREE and promote a service for $thousands. Create a database, give a FREE book, and flog something else. Easy peasy;
Lesson 2: Anyone can write a book. About anything. Seriously, you can do it!
You don’t have to be Oprah to write books. You think credibility comes with experience. No no, try the other way around. Write a cracking book and get all the credibility you want. No knowledge? No worries. Interview Flossy and Jossy and get that material in.
Lesson 3: What do I write about? Think about what people would want to read.
So anyone can write a book but what do I write about? No topic? No worries. Write a book about insects procrastination. No, no please don’t. But seriously, write about your business. So if you’re a chocolate beer specialist, well you can write about either chocolate or beer I guess (lucky you!). But you get my point. Write about what you know. But if you’re anything like 95% of the population who don’t know what they know – then just follow the three steps: Identify your objective (e.g. grow my membership club), select a hefty target market; identify and target their needs and problems.
Solve a problem for your target market and engineer your book to deliver your objective. Touche.
Lesson 4: With a system, you can write a book in 40 hours (You must do Lesson 3 first).
40 what? You mean 40 months? 40 hours, ladies and gents, all you need to do is P-L-A-N. Follow Gerry’s system and your life becomes easy. Brainstorm your chapter names; put them in a logical order. Then in each chapter pick up your main discussion points, then turn them into questions and give 3 answers. Oh… just drop me an e-mail or go to the seminar and learn it as it’s too boring to explain in a blog.
Lesson 5: A book is always judged by its cover.
It’s all about the title, babey. I mean look at the difference between these two: Chicken Poop for the Soul vs 101 Warm Stories. Get a good cover, ‘not one from fiver.com’ Gerry says. I’ve seen some good ones out there. My verdict: Don’t underestimate the $5.
Lesson 6: Get endorsements and testimonials.
That’s the easy bit – get your mom to write you a testimonial ‘This is a good book written by a good kid’. And there’s your first client. Next – go and ask every single thing in the world – people, pelicans, grasshoppers, Obama. They’ll say no but just keep asking!
Lesson 7: You can fund the book before you’ve even written a word.
Really? – get your design, get your title and offer some ad space at the back of your book. Try to find companies hungry for some of that hefty market share you’re targeting and flog them some ad space for a few $thousands. Again – drop me an email if you have any questions as this one is quite a good trick for any business.
Lesson 8: Go and interview people who could be interested in advertising.
Call someone that can give you all the secrets of your target market and write a book about these secrets. Maybe then you can write a book about how you wrote a book about someone who gave you all the secrets. It’s the like the NLP of writing. Ta – da.
Lesson 9: Put up a fancy event and get other people to pay for it
And once you get lots of funding for the book, what do you do? You run away.. NAT! You put up a party to celebrate. Not just a ‘bring your booze’ party but a sponsored one. Get someone to pay for the event and if you’re feeling generous invite a charity and give some back to the good people. Don’t forget your FREE books – you need to flog some of these too, hey!
Lesson 10: The Book is 90% marketing and 10% content.
Selling is king here. Tell your customers you’re not doing a sales pitch, then mask your sales pitch, then bring some people in to do the sales pitch for you and then tell them they have to buy your product. That’s not what Gerry Robert was trying to teach but that’s definitely what I learnt.
So what’s the point: It all comes down to this (and he didn’t lie about it not being a seminar, it’s more hefty than that):
Ladies and gentlemen, do you want a professional design, perfect editing, impeccable binding, a money-grabbing book title, an award-winning website, unlimited access to a fancy celebrity database, a fabulous e-book in all formats required, a cheesy video ad, a bespoke social media setup, guaranteed endorsements from 10 best-selling authors and some extra stuff that will change your life forever. Look no further. We will do everything for you for the amazing price of $29,999 for our Instant Author Program.
Wait what? The best part is that if you grabbed one of these gift vouchers – you can have it for $24,999. What a bargain *eyes roll*.
The good stuff
On a serious note – I can see some of the positive highlights of the Instant Author Program, one being the connections Gerry and his company have and the expertise in publishing and\ flogging books. Of course you would have your book done with less stress, efforts and time with Gerry Robert’s program. Of course the title and design his team creates could be amazing. Of course the customer service they offer can be best in class. And for $29k they’re giving some serious attention to your book in a way that you can focus on your marketing. I can completely see the value – especially if you can’t be bothered doing it yourself – especially if you don’t have a clue of where to begin. Of course if we tried to do it alone, it could be a tough ride. So I have no issues with what Gerry offers or with Gerry himself. I don’t know if the system works or not, it probably does. Take it this way, if you have $24,999 to spare and don’t know where to spend them and that sounds like a good deal – then do it.
The not so good stuff
No problems with the WHAT. My problem’s with the HOW – i.e. how they position this programme ‘a universal tool for success’. No matter how great it is – it cannot work for everyone. Nothing can ever work for everyone in the same way and produce the same result. No matter how much money you spend – your success isn’t guaranteed. And Gerry never promised a guaranteed success. However, I personally feel that he implied that if we DIDN’T do his program, we won’t succeed. He didn’t say that but that’s how I felt.
‘Don’t go home without buying this. In 25 years less than 10 people have come back to buy it. You need to buy it right now’. Okay? Maybe that’s because people go home and use a thing called ‘the internet’ to find out if there is a cheaper way of doing all the things you offer. And then another thing called ‘Google’ comes up with alternatives. A lot of people CAN do it by themselves and WANT to do it themselves. Or maybe he’s right and people struggle to make tough decisions so life makes the decisions for them.
Hey, if you’re anything like me, I would not pay $25,999 for the program. I love the thrill of learning and the journey of discovering new ways of creating things. I like the stress and the struggle. Yes, success would not happen overnight but the wait will be worth it. And if a publisher did 99% of the work for me then how could I ever feel independent enough to publish a second book without external help? I think of the long term. I don’t regret going to the event and I am writing a book on my own as a result of what I learnt. And if I had the extra $25,999 or if I could have the program for free, I’d give it to a friend as a gift.
My Verdict: Go to the event and make up your own mind. Write a book whether you do it with Gerry’s program or not. Oh.. and there was a draw for a big cash prize at the end!
Experience it yourself and make your own judgment. When you do so, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I value others’ perspectives and in no way I believe my perception is the right one. And if you wanted to have a chat about the details of what I learnt – please feel free to drop me an email and we can arrange a skype call. The sooner you do it, the fresher it would be in my mind.
The upcoming Gerry Robert events in UK/USA/Canada: