21
Dec
13

A gambler, a pool supplier, and a fashionista walk into a bar …

I am keen to feature a guest post on you blog as it would do wonders for my portfolio. I realized it was time I stopped ghost-writing for others and built an online reputation for myself.

I have received three emails at work pitching stories using this exact (misspelled) phrasing. They are a scam. Or something. Some computer somewhere is churning out these emails and sending them to publishers, or a coach has given scores of would-be writers—fed up with a life of obscurity behind the ghost-writing curtain, desperate for the rush of fresh air in their lungs and the warmth of sunlight on their pale, damp skin—some very bad advice and a poorly written form letter.

The first one was from a guy who wanted to write about gambling as a means of making a living. I forgive myself for falling for it.

Can you really make a living as a professional gambler? The authors of “How to Make $100,000 a Year Gambling for a Living,” say it’s all about knowing which games are beatable and how to beat them. David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth give detailed instructions on how to make money at games including sports betting , blackjack and poker. I’d like to propose an article about whether gambling is a viable career choice.

It seemed so oddball and out of nowhere. It could have been an actual pitch. I wrote back and suggested another angle. I can’t in good conscience publish something advocating gambling as a “viable career choice.” Nor would I publish anything pushing occasional methamphetamine use as a healthy lifestyle choice. Or lifting heavy boxes with your back instead of your legs. So I suggested he write a personal essay about his experiences as a gambler making a living and the decisions he made to achieve his lifestyle.

He wrote back to tell me he was “disappointed” I didn’t like his idea but

… the idea that you have suggested also sounds good to me and I assure for an interesting and informative article on it.

Enter doubt, stage left. Is this guy for real? I mean, bravo for learning English as a second language and everything, but “disappointed”? Even if he does send something, I’m unlikely to run it now. But I don’t think I’ll need to worry about it, because two weeks later I got a fishy email from a guy who wanted to write about pool equipment. Swimming pools.

I run a swimming pool supplies business. Writing is as much a passion of mine, as my business is, and the two often cross paths. I have ghost written a number of articles and have been published in reputed home improvement journals.

I am keen to feature a guest post on you blog as it would do wonders for my portfolio as a writer. I realized it was time I stopped ghost-writing for others and built an online reputation for myself …

Hmm. Something familiar about this.

This guy distinguished himself from the gambler by including a helpful list of story ideas, including such surefire home runs as “How to Replace the Light in Your Pool Without a Hassle” and “10 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Robotic Pool Cleaner Today.”

There were 12 story ideas in all. I ignored the email for 13 reasons.

Just this morning I got an email from a woman pitching stories about fashion design.

I am someone who loves shopping for clothes, keeping up with the latest fashion trends, designing clothes for myself and my friends and keeping a close watch on what’s in vogue. I am fortunate that my day job is fashion merchandising as it allows me to indulge in things that I anyway love.

So … you won’t be surprised to know she she went on to say:

I have ghost written a number of articles and have been published in reputed journals. …

These pitches are scattered across the internet like dandelion seeds. Those that aren’t emailed are posted on Contact Us pages and in article comments.

Googling “I am keen to feature a guest post on you blog as it would do wonders for my portfolio. I realized it was time I stopped ghost-writing for others and built an online reputation for myself” revealed another prolific ghost writer with a passion for property refurbishment, hotel renovation and interior design. I found an Internet marketing, SEO and Word Press expert also crying out to write a guest post. There is a lonely, ink-stained Cisco engineer out there as well.

I came across an identical pitch from this morning’s fashionista. And there is another gambler out with the same last name as the guy who wrote to me. A brother perhaps. Couldn’t possibly be the same guy, because this one is also a traveler and fitness enthusiast “who likes to stay in shape, and passionately follows sports.”

He has a list of 14 helpful article ideas, if you’re interested.

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