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How to Make a Hooker Blush: Lewis Howes’ Book Launch

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Reading Lewis Howe’s recent book launch made me feel dirty, but not at first…

I started out by opening his email, titled “Epic book launch” or something like that.

My first thought was, “Hmm, maybe I’ll order this.” After all, the guy does put out a VERY high-quality podcast and he’s definitely doing a lot of things right.

But by the time I was done reading the page, I was putting my wallet away.

All the things Lewis promised, if I’d just buy more books, made me throw up a little in my mouth…

I quickly realized:

This was book-whoring at it’s Greatest.

I might be all alone in this.

That’s OK.

And if you’re a “fan-boy” of the School of Greatness, I’ll understand if you hate me.

You should know, however, I don’t hate Mr. Howes. He’s teamed up with the Rodale Publishing machine, and doing quite well.

I genuinely applaud his success…

I am simply expressing my growing disdain for what book sales have become, and where they are going.

Writing about his School of Greatness book launch, Lewis Howes claims he’s gotten his game plan from friends who are “best-selling authors and book marketing geniuses, like Tim Ferriss and Ryan Holiday.”

I don’t doubt that, entirely…

But, those guys wrote terrific books, and I would argue, their books will endure exactly because of the quality of writing.

(The verdict isn’t in yet, on Lewis Howes.)

Further, I’ll go out on a limb to say I bet Tim Ferriss (of whom I possess the illusion of knowing through his podcast) would not have written, like Lewis did:

Make me an offer for 1,000+ books, and I’ll consider your proposal (winking face)

So in my mind, what I’m calling “book-whoring” is on a slippery slide toward the gutter. Or, it’s already there.

I guess I’m old school and yearn for the “good old days,” when books used to rise and fall on their actual merits, versus using gimmicks like the “priceless” used car and $15 thousand dollar one-hour Skype chat Howes is hawking.

(Does this make him a used-care salesman?)

I’d be remiss not to admit the marketer in me sees and admires the evil genius of this launch…

It’s sure to be wildly successful.

After all, only a couple dozen people with a spare $100,000 are needed.

And little known, but important records are sure to be broken, like the one for fastest movement of a new book to the $0.01 cent rack at Amazon.

…faster than a pimp can put a dollar in his pocket.

Hmmm…

I’m quite sure he did plenty of pre-sale orders in addition to the millions of copies he’s now moving.

Geez, just think of all that money!

Hmmm…

Come to think of it, I have an unpublished manuscript, and an 05’ Camry with 138,982 miles on it…

Tell you what, I’ve got a deal for YOU!

If you act fast…

I’ll send you 1,000,000 digital copies of my “future-least seller” for just $10 Million.

You’ll automatically be entered in my sweepstakes for the Camry (KBB value, $5200)

And, as an exclusive bonus, I’ll let you text me for a week…(no video)(and it’s in airplane mode after 9pm EST, no exceptions!)

This offer will be capped at the first three responders!

I don’t want a penny over $30,000,000.00!

Hurry and buy now, or miss out forever…

4 Replies

  1. I’ve got one problem with your post… 

    I’ve come to believe there’s no such thing as “the good old days.”  It’s a lie we tell ourselves.

    The books we know and love are pretty much all known and loved because somebody sold them to us.

    Take, for example, the best-selling book of all time.  (Oh no, here’s comes the controversy!)  

    The Bible.

    Every Sunday, and usually every other day of the week, there are rooms full of people who’ve been brought together to get pitched on the ideas in that book, and how they should buy and follow it to make their lives better.

    Am I wrong?

    If it weren’t for the salespeople at the front of the church, the Bible would’ve gone out of print centuries ago.

    Every other book that we know of was SOLD to us.  Sure, Lewis’s cheeky comment about 1,000 copies is maybe a little off-putting…  BUT…  If he doesn’t say it, there’s a Fortune 500 Director of Sales who wouldn’t think it, who suddenly does, who buys a copy of the book for their entire sales organization.

    Again, most people won’t think this.  This is unique feedback from me.  But you asked my opinion so you get it!

    Roy Furr

    Copywriter and Marketing Strategist

    PS: “The World’s Best Copywriter,” Gary Bencivenga, taught me 
    one secret that changed my life completely.  

    It’s the easiest way to become “untouchable” in your field.

    Watch this 4:17 video now to learn Gary’s secret:
    http://www.BreakthroughMarketingSecrets.com.

    1. Do I ever love a little controversy! Thanks for the spice, Roy…

      I was turned off by Lewis’s “cheeky” comments, but when you put it in perspective with the ultimate sales job, that is, selling a book which, if not read, results in everlasting burning in hell fire, yeah, I can see how Howes might deserve a pass! Well done, sir.

      -JM

  2. Hey Jesse,
    Love your work!
    I do agree that marketing tactics have gotten very aggressive of late. I had a similar experience recently when I clicked on a link in an email from someone whom I admire, and a book that I’ve been searching for. I was sucked into a vortex of long-form sales letter, giving my credit card first, only to find a video upsell that couldn’t be stopped, and a second video upsell that flat-out made me angry. I sent the person a disappointed email (and was stunned and delighted to get a reply from him which confessed he was uncomfortable with his marketing firm’s tactics).
    In the ‘good old days’ we had to wait for the gatekeeper, a traditional publisher, to get the book to a bookstore so we could see a copy of it, or read about it in the print newspaper. Or the self-published author had to schlep her own books around their local area. Thank goodness that’s no longer the case. Now we, the reader, are the gatekeepers and we must learn how to protect ourselves from the bombardment of aggressive marketing techniques. People buy what you are selling–and it is pretty hard to remain a thought-leader if you push a dodgy book on your unsuspecting audience.
    Oh, and Tim Ferris apparently did use that ‘pick up a bargain if you buy 1000 copies’ technique. He had to, when the brick and mortar bookstores black-banned him.

    1. Fantastic points, Sarah. And I checked out http://www.inkslingersuccess.com (nice domain, btw!) and hope you’ll notify me as things develop there–looks like a terrific project.

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