I was recently asked to consider participating in a program related to my upcoming book (The Entrepreneur Equation). In the initial phone call, the person who was putting the program together explained some information about bringing together several business authors and offering a package that included all of our books, some additional content and a live event. He also touted his and his partner’s lists and connections.
It sounded somewhat interesting, but a lot of things do at first. I wanted to see it on paper.
I asked this gentleman to send me over the paperwork, and all that I received was a one-sided agreement about my obligations related to the event (which by the way, had no date and very few specifics- I guess I was supposed to agree to some unnamed event occurring at some point in the future…)
Red flags were flying in my mind- if this was the information he had together, I wasn’t going to be a fit to participate.
I wrote back and told him that while it sounded interesting on the phone, there wasn’t enough written material for me to evaluate on the opportunity as a whole and if and when he had more, he could feel free to send it along. This is what he wrote back (I have “X’d” out a few details for confidentiality):
“Thank you Carol,
I understand that sometime these internet based promotional campaigns can be a little difficult to articulate in words.
The bottom line is that we will have about 3 million e-mails addresses that we are promoting a $X package called the XXX. It will include X books that are all in the entrepreneurial theme, of which we wanted to make your book one of them.
If we have the chance to write up more detailed marketing materials before we get the Xth author, we will let you know. I highly doubt that we will need to, as most authors would jump at the chance to get in front of 3 million people for XX dollars.
I really appreciate your time to take my call and review the materials.
All the best,
Several thoughts occurred to me:
-If they couldn’t articulate to me what they are planning, how are they going to articulate it to customers?
-How am I supposed to agree to something when I don’t really know what I am agreeing to? Furthermore, what kind of authors would I be aligned with if they would agree to something that they didn’t have full details about?
-Can we say…defensive? I loved the “most authors would jump at the chance to get in front of 3 million people”. Well, I am not most authors. Those 3 million people do me no good if they aren’t in my target market, don’t open their emails, etc.
-Finally, wouldn’t they want to be clear about my responsibilities and obligations for their own benefit? Obviously that wasn’t a priority, which made me feel this wasn’t a business fit to me.
Opportunities, especially ones with sexy hooks like “access to 3 million people”, can sound very enticing. However, I encourage you to make sure you fully understand the details before you sign on the dotted line.