online dating

Giving Away Ice in Winter

Hey, what’s so difficult?

Send an email to 20 people you know and tell them that you’ve got a free book for them. All they have to do is, when they get a notification email from Amazon, click on a link and claim the gift.

You see, I had just published my first book for Amazon Kindle. It was about online dating: 50+ Online Dating Profile Tips for People 50+:How to Write an Awesome Online Dating Profile that Attracts People You Want to Meet.

To get people to buy my book, I first needed to get them to know it’s available, or raise its visibility. Amazon uses an algorithm based on sales and reviews to rank and place a book. That makes sense. Amazon wants to make money, so if you want to be highlighted on the first search page, it helps if you’re making them money.

So, when someone accepts my gift, it counts as a sale. I’m paying for it, but it’s just a promotional expense. And, at $.99, it doesn’t break the bank. Before I gifted my book, I sort of explained this in an email to my 20 friends. Granted, writing an online dating profile is probably not what my 20 friends were thinking about when I approached them. However, even if they couldn’t use the book or didn’t want it, I implored them to please just accept it.

I forgot to also tell them it doesn’t matter if they don’t have a Kindle, you don’t need to have one to accept the gift.

OMG! When I decided to do this, I forgot the population I was dealing with – most over 60. You’d think they’d just crawled out from under a rock holding a flip phone, and thought a tablet was something you took once a day to control cholesterol.

For about half the group, you’d think I was asking them to commit suicide, kill their first born, or scam them out of their social security number.

I’m sure several ignored my email, thinking, “What does that jerk want now?”

Others probably opened the email, and filed it for later action which, at my age, often means, when hell freezes over. That’s not meant maliciously. But chances are that I’ll innocently forget about it…until hell freezes over or someone destroys my email account. As I write this, I have over 6800 unopened emails dating back to 2000.

Some let me know that they don’t own a Kindle. To them I counseled that they could view my book on a smartphone, tablet or coputer with an app from the Kindle or Apple store. What I actually wanted to do was yell at the top of my lungs through the Telmex DSL line that I didn’t care if their computer was a vintage 1982 Osborne 2 computer running the CP/M operating system: “Just click on the F**king link and accept my gift. I need the sale for my Amazon rankings. Can’t you help out an old friend?”

Then I got this response…”But, I don’t have an Amazon account.”


Imagine walking up to someone you know and trying to hand them an envelope with 2 tickets to the next Bruce Springstein concert (I’m in no way comparing my book to The Boss).

“Gee thanks!” They say, as their eyes narrow and they look at you sideways, all the while slowly running their fingers over the envelope trying to ascertain its contents and that there are actually tickets inside. “What’s the catch? Why do you want to give me Bruce Springstein tickets…for free?”

“There’s no catch,” you explain. “I put the anthrax in the tickets I gave Joe.”

Unphased by your answer, your friend asks, “When is it, the concert that is.”

“Two weeks from Tuesday,” you answer.

“Where is it?” they continue.

“At the stadium,” you say.

“Oh I hate that stadium,” they complain, rolling their eyes. “I don’t know if I can make it.”

They reach out to hand the envelope back to you.

You hold up your hand and suggest. “Wait, just keep the tickets. Give them to your kids or another friend. Or, how about that bum on the street corner over there panhandling for a cup of coffee or whatever.”

They look at you with a furrowed brow. “Are you sure these are legit?”

Now to be sure, my book isn’t everybody’s shot glass of tequila. It’s about helping people over 50 improve their online dating profile and avoiding many of the mistakes that prevent them from finding the kinds of dates they want to meet.

Maybe my next book will be about how to gratefully accept a gift – even if it’s something you can’t use or don’t want – even an electronic one.

Hey, I’m not looking for a thank you. Just click on the stupid “accept” button!

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