Archive Monthly Archives: November 2008

Who Says I Can’t Take Time Off?

Sunday, 7:21pm
Reno, NV
“Lately it occurs to me… what a long, strange trip its been…”


I’m gonna be on the road for a while here (heading to Dubai for a seminar, for starters)… and also takin’ care of some personal biz.

All of which means I’ll be putting the blog here on ice for a couple of weeks.


This doesn’t mean you should not visit.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that almost exactly four years of this blog are archived… on this very page.

It’s a ton of heavy-duty stuff, just waiting for you to feast on…

… and many will admit that the specific advice and tactics you can discover here — for free — are better than the crap you pay through the nose for elsewhere.

That’s what folks tell me, anyway.

So dig in. The past few years have been particularly interesting, since they’re post-Web 2.0 and oh-so-very hip and cutting edge.

But there is treasure all the way back to the first posts, too.

For example:

1. Detailed lesson on finding hooks for headlines: “Fishing For Hooks” on 10/19/06. (Get it? Fishing for hooks?)

2. Sobering reality check on the economy: “Are Ya Scared Yet?”, 9/29/08.

3. Cool “Tip O’ The Week” on 9/01/08.

4. Then take the Quiz laid out on 9/04/08… and see the answer on 9/08/08. (Don’t cheat, now.)

5. Go all the way back to 3/14/05 for “Your Own Private Chemical Dump” (yeah, weird subject, but it’ll get ya thinking)…

6. Find out “Who Gets Read” on 8/04/08.

7. Two truly twisted visits into the teachings of the late, great Gary Halbert await in June 2008 (“Jerks, Genius & Juice”). He will forever be missed. (My completely inadequate goodbye — the most painful thing I’ve ever written — was written on 4/10/07.)

8. Check out the contest on 10/02/08, and see the results on 10/06/08.

9. Finally, wake up your Inner Salesman with “The Unforgiving Human Funk” on 2/20/06.

This is all just a taste, mind you.

I’ve been slugging it out on this blog for years, and I’ve earned every reader I’ve got (and I’ve got ’em all over the globe).

If you’ve never explored the archives… or haven’t gone back for a trip down the aisles in a while… this is a perfect opportunity to visit this very unique Dungeon Of Delights.

I’ll be back soon.

Just got some stuff I gotta take care of right now.

Stay frosty (and wish me luck)…

John Carlton

P.S. I might — key word, might — be able to dash off a Tweet or two in the interim. You should sign up anyway, and start following me and all the other nutcases on Twitter currently making life just a bit more… wired.

P.P.S. Oh, yeah… one more thing.

If you wanna comment on any of the referenced posts… please do it here, in this comment section, where I’ll see it.

Plus, of course, you are always welcome to use the comment section to rant, wheedle, whine, bitch, moan or gloat to your heart’s content, on any subject.

Lord knows, we all need to vent once in a while…

Your Tip O’ The Week

Wednesday, 6:12pm
Reno, NV
No one here gets out alive…” J. Morrison


Hey, do you like roller coasters?

I grew up during a great time in American “fun zone” culture — the LA County Fair had a permanent Fun Zone built in the 1930s (long before safety codes were invented)…

… and you took your life in your hands on every ride.

Man, it was fun.

  • There was The Hammer — two flimsy capsules of thin mesh swinging in opposite directions at the end of steel posts sixty feet long. You climbed in, held on tight, and spent ten minutes barely missing the other capsule as you went round and round and round…
  • There was The Wheel of Death — a 90-foot-in-diameter round floor, with loosely welded-on cages along the edge, that spun around generating huge G-force, while the floor slowly tilted to a 90-degree angle. Forbidden to leave our cages, we felt obligated to crawl (cheeks flapping our ears and eyeballs bulging) from cage to cage… because, you know, none of the rides had anything remotely resembling a seat belt or restaining device of any kind.


And then…

… there were the roller coasters.

Two of ’em. Count ’em.

Two of the nastiest, most rickety and dangerous rails of decapitation and maiming ever erected by a crew of ex-con Depression-era drunks.

Good God, those were great rides.

Kids today have no idea how much fun there was to be had paying 25 cents to risk your life like that.

We’d ride ’em til we puked.

And after an afternoon of cotton candy, purple crushed ice, popcorn, hot dogs and gallons of Coke… well, you get the picture.


… on to the Tip O’ The Week.

The reason I’ve been thinking about roller coasters is — of course — because of the multiple “rides” we’ve all been sharing these past couple of years.

  • The economy: Roller coaster.
  • The state of Internet marketing: Roller coaster.
  • Politics: Roller coaster.
  • General anxiety about the state of the world: Roller coaster.

Makes ya wish for the good old 1990s, when the biggest scandal around was about that Bubba getting frisky in the Oval Office.

Ah, those were the days.

You know that quote: If you wanna make God laugh, make plans.

And I’ve had so many product launches that almost weren’t pulled off because we nearly expired from the effort. 

Nevertheless, times like those have also been a hugely creative for me.

This is one of Nature’s perverse little jokes:

The worse the situation… the better the writer.

We all need crucibles to bounce against to trigger our best work.

Now, this week’s tip comes from a flurry of mentoring moments I’ve handed out in the Simple Writing System Coaching Program. (If you ignored your opportunity to participate in this breakthrough mentoring program… well, you should forever hang your head in shame and despair. It is just an amazing resource of shaing, learning and networking. Never been anything like it before. Probably will go into history as the Woodstock of Mentoring programs, never to be repeated. I don’t even know if there are any spots available at the moment. But you can always check right here.)

One of the more common trouble spots of many marketers centers on the uncomfortable fact that, often, you have to talk about yourself.

You’re part of the package. The author, the expert, the coach, the guru, the whatever. In order to make your case, you gotta stand up and (essentially) do some world-class self-aggrandizing.

Some might call it bragging. Regardless, it’s often the toughest job you’ll ever have as a marketer. I’ve known some Hall Of Fame braggarts in my time.

Halbert counted “finding new ways of self-aggrandizement” as one of his top hobbies…

… but mostly, marketers run into a brick wall of doubt and shyness when they discover they’ve got to tout themselves.

Here is what I wrote to a student who was frozen by fear over the need to “go there”:


We ALL have trouble writing for our own stuff. I HATE writing for my own products. It’s a pain to examine myself the same brutal way I examine clients…

… because it’s tough to get out of your own box.

The answer, however, is frustratingly simple: You CAN do it.

You just try.

And you try again. Until you get it right.

Psst! Here’s a killer copy tip that might help you out a bit. On the house!

And then you challenge what you believe you’ve discovered. Take a nap or a walk or a shower (I use all of these to let things “work themselves out in my unconscious”)…

… and come back and be hard-core on yourself and everything you’ve written. Not knocking yourself down — just digging past the easy answers, for the good stuff.

This is why we say — with honesty — that great salesmen lead better lives. They engage in the Zen arts of self-reflection and meditation (even if they have no idea they’re doing it)…

… and they seek self awareness and the clear, brutal honestly of reality.

You can do this.

Just know that it’s tough for all of us… but once you FIND that elusive, groove, you’re off to the races. You literally explode from your box, and the stuff just flows.

I’ve been doing this all my adult life. I’ve taught people who loathed any kind of self examination to do it anyway.

You can do this. Stay with it.

That’s the tip: Few can talk about themselves easily.

You just get over your fear… and find your groove.

And I’ll tell you something else: Once you do get past your fears and reluctance…

… it’s like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

Marketing thrives on honesty and self-discovery and openness.

That’s not the image outsiders have of marketers… but it’s true.

This simple piece of advice has been the foundation of my success ever since I left my old slacker-self (who is still sitting on that slacker couch deep in my unconscious, somewhere, wondering when I’m gonna stop all this ambition nonsense and get back to terminal goofing off): I can do it.

I didn’t believe it. I did it anyway, despite my disbelief.

And as I gained confidence, I started “doing” everything that had seemed so elusive to me before.

“Doing” rocks.

Give it a try.

And tell me your roller coaster stories.

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

P.S. Hard times call for more resources, and buckling down with better info and advice.

This blog is full of actionable marketing tips, and you can get even more by signing up for my free report “11 Really Stupid Blunders You’re Making With Your Biz & Career Right Now.”


I’m Baaaaaaack…

Tuesday, 11:20pm
Reno, NV


Just dropping by to give a shout-out to readers.

I’ve been away, slaving under the brutal yoke of a Big Damn Launch.

And man, do I have stories to tell. Harrowing stuff, too, that’ll curl your hair.

But not tonight.

Tonight, I’m tipping a Pale Ale in congratulations to Mr. Obama, and wishing him serious luck as he engages the mess he signed up to fix.

Hey — it’s only the Fate Of Civilization hanging in the balance.

By a thread.

Interesting world we live in, don’t you think?

I’m all for rolling the sleeves up, and diving back in with gusto tomorrow. The ride is so much more fun when you’re committed to goals, and itching for more challenges…

More later.

Right now… I’m gonna enjoy this good feeling in my gut about the future, whether it’s real or not…

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

P.S. Remember, if you need to hear more of my twisted ramblings, you can always follow me on Twitter: