Chapter 52: thou shalt not be shafty

Another one I’ve deleted many times. This whole affair really, really affected me. I wrote it in the moment and it probably comes across a bit too muchy… but seems more than relevant especially in this current climate.

This will be included in my upcoming book So You Are… An Anxious Avocado.

Here is an excerpt of a half day course I paid to attend in the hopes of learning from industry peers. It was anything but.


This thing was odd from the get go and your newfound self publishing knowledge probably worked against you in this sphere. You naively thought this truly would be about the craft and should have seen it coming. You kind of did on entry. That synthetic, intoxicating feeling when there are too many products and banners and promo crap in a room. It’s stifling and reeks of plastic and deception.

You wanted to believe and therefore subconsciously ignored the obvious truth. The answers you and presumably many others were seeking, were cleverly and strategically packaged up into a program – the real ‘product’. The lure of getting punters in the door and ‘bums on seats’ was the guise of teaching those skills in an elaborate retreat that cost tens of thousands of dollars. You presumed you weren’t the only one who didn’t come to buy or be sold something you were not remotely interested in. It was both genius and brutally shameful.

The room felt sticky from the icky ilk of ‘schemy’ sales tactics and the energy coming off the presenters was nervous, tense, defensive and aggressive, like they were waiting to be sprung. Shoddy looks and shady fidgeting were as telling as deep water neon.

You could feel the pennies dropping at different moments as attendees put two and two together, but hated that you’d figured it out almost immediately. It felt like an agonisingly slow, silent, smoky wave of disappointment, betrayal and irritation. It felt like the nineties – except the women who would have been the wives of the men who were having their moment in the synthetic sun – were now here – in their sixties falling for the exact platforms they had helped create and benefitted from. Despite that, you immediately felt a surge to protect them.

To be continued…

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