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Seth Godin, Rejection, And The Power Of No

April 24, 2015
Seth godin

Photo courtesy of Joi Ito

In late 2009, I was working on a big picture marketing book and approached Seth Godin about doing the foreword. I did this using an email very similar to what those in the direct mail industry know as the “dollar letter.”

What was the difference? Instead of attaching money to the email I sent, I attached a receipt for a $1000 contribution to a charity I knew Seth Godin supported.

More details about what happened and why I did this are available via Episode#148 of RED Podcast.

Here’s what I sent…

Seth –

I just donated $1000 to the Acumen Fund in your name. This isn’t to bribe you, because I couldn’t afford that, but to grab your attention and show you that I’m serious about making something happen.

Of course, $1000 isn’t what it used to be, so if you’re up for what I’m proposing, I’m going to donate an additional $5000.

I know you must get a ton of requests like this every week and you can’t say yes to everything, but I’m hoping you’ll see something different in this one– a spark of something or maybe a common bond…

You know me from my radio interview with you, but what you may not know is that I’m not really a DJ. I’m a marketing guy. I actually own that show and started it to market myself. Plus, it gives me a good excuse to meet people like you.  🙂

I started in the music industry in 1995 (while still in college) doing street, radio, and direct response work, but found it was more fun to play with my own money and work my own products. In addition to my broadcasting stuff, I’ve released several books and sell about 30,000 of them per year.  Also have a catalog of audio products including both music and audio books.

I’m doing ok, but looking to take things to a new level. Want to expand my marketing knowledge beyond the music industry and start playing in the deep end, where I can help more people.

And that’s where you come in…

I’ve have some “big ideas” which have helped me to grow my business and I’ve put them in a short, general market business book, which I’m going to release and sell for under $10.

The title is “Never Leave Money on the Table – How to Grow Any Business with 10 Simple Marketing Strategies” and I’m hoping you’ll like it enough to write a 350-500 word intro.  Not only would it be a great honor for me, I feel having you involved is the best way to make use of “leverage” and extend the book’s message to more people, which will empower them to grow their own businesses.

I’ve attached a PDF of the manuscript for your review.  Any feedback is appreciated.

Thank you very much for your consideration!!


This is Seth’s reply, which I received the next morning…

thanks David

your generosity is remarkable, and appreciated.

the thing is, I don’t write intros or forewords for anyone, because Amazon lists me as a co-author. I know that your book is probably going to be self-sold, but then I won’t have a policy any longer, will I?

So, I’d love to help, but I can’t because the floodgates will open. I don’t blurb ebooks for the same reason… no friction.

I’m very sorry.


Did I respond? Yes…

Totally get it. Thank you very much for your consideration!! Should something change, please keep me in mind. 🙂

I hope to cross paths with you again soon!


And that was that.

Listen to Episode#148 of RED Podcast for more details of what happened, including some great takeaways about why saying no is great for your business.

Interesting in writing and publishing your own book? Here’s how to do it in 90 days or less.

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