North of Jewfish Creek


Dear Friend & Subscriber,

First, I would like to respond to all of you who have so generously given marketing materials to Cathy Perkins. She now has a treasure trove of marketing information larger than mine, and I suspect, larger than many other professionals in direct marketing. I'm sure she will study all this and benefit greatly from it.

From time to time, I publish on my website a piece of work I have created for a client. I do this for a couple of reasons:

1)  I want to "showcase" my work and provide it to you as something you can study for educational reasons.

2)  Another motivation I have is by publicizing what I've written for a client sometimes will get that client more business. And if it's a client whose product or service I believe in, I like to see that happen. After reading the letter I wrote for the Surgery Eye Centers of Tennessee, a lot of my readers emailed me to the effect that if they ever did need an eye operation, they would go to Tennessee to have it done. Others wrote me that after reading what I wrote about Dr. Patterson, they almost wished they DID need eye surgery so they could go and be treated by him.

Another thing I've started doing which my readers don't know about is... I no longer just deliver my direct marketing copy to a client and assume they will exploit it properly. What I do now is, I send my work with a cover letter telling them...

Why And How

They Should Use

What I Have Created!

I think all of you know about Agora Publishing. They are one of the largest success stories in direct marketing. That's true for both on-line  and off-line marketing. Agora sends out very informative messages called "Early To Rise" and I think everybody who reads my newsletter should also be reading "Early To Rise".

Just type in "Early To Rise Agora Publishing" in your search engine and you'll find the link where you can sign up for this valuable and free information.

Having said all that, I now want you to know Agora Financial Publishing in Baltimore, Maryland recently hired me to create a direct mail piece for a publication they have titled "Options Hotline". I just finished that piece and delivered it to them yesterday. It's a 16-page sales letter. And, when you are finished reading this newsletter, you can download it and read it for yourself.

I'm doing this for a number of reasons:

1)  First, by letting you read the letter, I am NOT giving away any of Agora's proprietary secrets. You could not "steal" this letter if you wanted to. It's Agora and only Agora who has Steve Sarnoff and the incredible financial service he provides.

2)  I think publishing what I wrote for them in my newsletter will get Agora some extra business. The letter describes an amazing financial service I think some of you will want to have. You need to remember though, my sales letter will not be used by Agora until it is proofread and checked for accuracy. But I think as it stands now, it is 99.9% ready to be mailed.

After you read it, I'd love for you to send me any comments you may have about this piece of work. If you want to send a comment, please send it to

OK, before you download and read the sales letter I told you about, you should know I am working on this project with a guy who works for Agora whose name is Greg. He seems to be a savvy and a guy easy to work with. Before you read the sales letter I sent to him, I'd like you to read the cover letter about this project which I also sent to him. I sent it by both fax and email. Here's my cover letter to Greg:


Dear Greg,

Attached to this fax (and later in an email), is the finished copy for the "Options Hotline" promotion.

I'm taking a chance here. I am sending you the promotion the way it SHOULD be mailed.

However, I'm almost certain you (probably because of your supervisors) will not mail this promotion the way I have presented it to you.

Everybody will snivel, whine and bitch about a sales letter in this fashion. "Oh My God!" everybody will say, "this is going to cost a fortune to mail."

Well, compared to what you regularly send out, that's a correct statement. But, if you would at least test the promotion as I have delivered it to you, I'm almost sure you will find it to be the most profitable promotion Agora Financial has ever mailed.

You don't know very much about me. But, if you would ever read my newsletters on my website (, you would discover why it is the most widely read online marketing newsletter in the world. I don't know what it is today but, my recent Alexa rating was 1610.

When I first started in this business, I wrote a 361-word one page letter to sell a family crest product. I broke every direct marketing rule in the book when I strategized that letter. People actually laughed at my pathetic attempt to write a sales letter. But very soon after that letter was mailed, it was grossing the equivalent in today's money of one-third of one million dollars... per day. And, that letter with modifications was mailed for more than 30-years.

That's how I started. Since then, I have written more direct mail winners than I can remember.

Often, my biggest problem when I write for clients is to get them to at least test what I give them.

Here's what you need to know about mailing this kind of a direct mail letter with a $1 bill attached to it. My guess (and it's a very informed guess) is, this letter will bring back 700% more gross dollars than the best control letter you have ever mailed for "Options Hotline".

Agora is a great direct marketing company. No one can argue with their monstrous success. And I realize Agora has utilized many of the very best copywriters in the world. But, I'd like to suggest to you what they have not used is a great direct mail strategist... someone who focuses not only on writing great direct mail copy... but also... direct mail strategy.

The way your mail is structured now, much of it is not delivered. And what is delivered, an enormous amount of it is never opened. And what is opened, only a very small percentage is actually read.

The "Options Hotline" promotion I am giving you with this cover letter will achieve almost 100% delivery by the Post Office. It will be opened by almost 100% of the people who receive it. And it will be read by almost 100% of the people who open it.

It's pretty obvious to see why this will work so much better than what you usually mail.

"But what about the bothersome logistics of preparing a mailing like this?" you and your superiors ask. Greg, I can tell you this... I personally have created promotions that required more complicated lettershop endeavors than this particular promotion. And, I was able to outsource it easily and to get 125,000 of those letters mailed every working day of the week.

Let me tell you about just one of those promotions. I created it for Health Laboratories of America located in Phoenix, Arizona. It was, I believe, the most widely mailed diet promotion in history. The letter worked so well, we almost couldn't find a list that wouldn't pay a profit. Eventually, after years of mailing tens of millions of pieces, we finally ran out of lists we could mail to at a profit. So you know what we did?

We got the file of everybody who had a driver's license in the United States. Then we did a computer program that did a simple calculation based on the height and weight information contained in that file. This enabled us to "kick out" all the porkers who had a driver's license. We mailed millions of those letters to those porkers at a very considerable profit.

By the way, that file, when I last checked, had a universe of 160 million names.

To hell with it. I know you guys are not even going to test my promotion. But hope springs eternal. And I thought before I did anything else, I would give it to you the way it SHOULD be mailed.

Then you can discuss it with the "powers that be" and when they tell you there is no way in hell they are going to test this promotion, I will rework it (it won't take much) and give it to you in the much weaker, lame-ass format which will keep everybody in their comfort zone.

By the way, this promotion does, of course, need to be proofread by you or some member of your staff with an eagle eye to make certain I haven't accidentally written something that is a factual error.

Anyway, please email me at as soon as possible and let me know you're not going to even test this promotion. A prompt reply would be appreciated.


Gary C. Halbert
"The World's Most Modest Copywriter"

P.S. As you know, Mark Ford here in Florida has a brilliant mind. Why don't you run this promotion by him before you summarily refuse to mail it?



Well, believe it or not, within minutes of having sent that cover letter, I got a response from Greg. Here's his response:


Thanks Gary - I printed it out and I'll read this bad boy... I pretty much make most of the decisions here, so I think we'll be able to mail this beast!





And here's the reply I sent him:


Praise the Lord!



I want you to stop reading my newsletter here... and instead... download and read the sales letter for Agora. It's very important you do it in this order. You see, after you've downloaded and read that letter, you need to come back to my website and continue reading this newsletter. That's because I want to give you some more information and ask you a few crucial questions.

Click on the link below to read the 16-page Agora Publishing letter for their product, "Options Hotline".

Agora Options Hotline\07-28-05 Letter With Table.pdf


*** ONLY AFTER YOU'VE DOWNLOADED AND READ THE 16-PAGE SALES LETTER SHOULD YOU CONTINUE READING HERE *** Well, I hope you found the 16-page letter you just read both interesting and informative.

In any case, here are a few facts I think you should ponder: We are now living in the most uncertain time in the entire history of the country... if not... the world!

By this time next year, there may be peace in Iraq. Or, the violence may continue to escalate (as many analysts believe) until it is such a mess, it will drain our country of so much money and resources, it could trigger a national bankruptcy. Or maybe the situation in Iraq will be something in between.

I just don't know. Neither do you. And nobody else knows either.

And what about the price of gasoline? Maybe it will be $10 or more a gallon (it already is in some countries). Or maybe it will drop to a $1.25 or less per gallon.

Again, I don't know. And neither do you. And neither does anybody else.

Same thing with the economy in general. A year from now, things may be just rosy. Maybe everybody will have a job and plenty of money. Maybe not. Maybe there will be a 30% unemployment rate and most people will be struggling just to survive. Maybe it will turn out to be something in the middle.

And what about terrorism? After 9-11 and the London subway bombings, we've learned anything is possible. Maybe they'll blow up the Statue of Liberty or the stock exchange building or the two nuclear power plants just south of Los Angeles. Maybe nothing will happen.

The point is...

Nobody In The World Can Now Predict

The Future With Any Degree Of Certainty Whatsoever!

Which brings me to another couple of crucial questions you should be asking yourself.

First, do you think you will ever be able to write copy as good as the recent examples of copy you've read on my website?

Secondly, do you even want to expend the time and effort to get as good at writing copy as I am?

My suggestion to many of you is the answers to both of these questions should be a loud, resounding "NO!"

You see, it's unlikely you will ever be able to write copy as good as me. (I love to use bad grammar.)

The first reason is, I am a natural born copywriter with a unique gift for it. I conceived my first mail order project when I was approximately 9-years old. Many of you are too young to remember this but before television and in the early days of radio there was something you could buy called a "crystal radio". This little gadget was made of (I think) some kind of non-precious gemstone like quartz that would vibrate to radio signals. It had a little wire thing that hovered over it. If you manipulated it around just right, you could actually listen through headphones to an occasional radio broadcast.

All the kids I knew and many of the adults wanted a crystal radio. If you knew how, you could make one of them yourself. But, of course, most people didn't know how to make one. So my very first mail order idea was to go to the public library, read up on how to make a crystal radio, digest it into an easy-to-read information product, advertise and sell it through magazines like "Popular Science" and "Popular Mechanics".

Of course, this did not come to pass. After all...

I Was Only 9-Years Old

Much later, when I got out of the Army and moved back to Ohio, someone suggested I go work for the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department. I had no interest in that. After three years of risking my life as a military policeman, I never wanted to experience violence again.

Instead, I went to work for a company on Main Street in Cuyahoga Falls called Economy Savings and Loan. It was owned by a parent company called Capital Finance Corporation. Economy Savings and Loans made loans to people who couldn't get a "standard" loan from a bank. As expected, many of the loans Economy Savings made ended up going south.

A large part of my job was collecting money from people who were behind in their payments. I was really good at collecting the money. One time a guy who was a magician "disappeared" owing us money. I located him on a cruise ship off the coast of Portugal and sent him a message about his debt. Picture this: Here's this magician who has done a "disappearing act" from the United States and is now aboard a cruise ship off the coast of Portugal  when he receives a call to go to the radio room... where... there is a telegrammed message for him to the effect he should pay the debt he owed to the Economy Savings and Loan.

Another time, I wrote a collection letter and had it mailed to every one of our dead beat customers. That letter, if memory serves me correctly, collected more delinquent money in one day than all of the company's efforts for the last five years.

After that, I wrote a letter for a collection agency called Financial Adjustment Service. This company was to be owned by me and two of my friends. Alas, the company never got off the ground. But that early letter I wrote (with no training whatsoever) was a virtual masterpiece.

It wasn't too long after I stopped working for Economy Savings and Loan that I discovered the world of mail order and direct mail... and... as the saying goes...

The Rest Is History!

The point is, I was born good at writing copy. Or at least, I became good at it soon after I learned the alphabet. That's probably not true of you. You were probably born with other gifts which I do not possess.

Not only was I born with the gift of persuasive articulation, I also  "nourished" that gift throughout the years. And, I continue to nourish it to this very day.

Most of you reading my newsletter, quite frankly, do not have this natural gift... and even if you did, there are not enough years left to live to nourish it to my level of competency.

Can you imagine trying to compete against Lance Armstrong in a bike race? He was born with a genetic advantage which makes his heart and cardio vascular system more than twice as efficient as the rest of the world's most gifted athletes. And he has nourished that gift by an almost impossible regimen which includes six grueling hours of training per day.

Can you imagine deciding it's your goal to beat Tiger Woods at golf? Well, you'd certainly have your work cut out for you. First, Tiger was born with the exact mental and physical attributes required to play great golf. And, if I'm not mistaken, he's had a golf club in his hands since he was 3-years old. And even though he is the best golfer in the world, I'll bet he still continues to practice more than any of his competitors.

Can you imagine having a goal of becoming wealthier than Bill Gates? I can't even begin to think of a way to intelligently attempt to achieving that goal.

Having said all that, you are probably thinking I am conceited about the gift I have for writing. You are dead wrong. Many people who've had the opportunity to personally watch me work have marveled at how good I am and they are insanely jealous of me. But I can tell you, if you lived inside my mind and body... that jealousy would fade away like a Key West sunset!

I think a lot of gifted people feel that way. Someone desperately wishes they could play music or sing as well as the star on stage. But that star, at the same time, may be suffering from suicidal thoughts, anxiety and feelings of worthlessness.

Listen, I don't want to ramble on and on about this so let me get to the point: You may never be able to ride a bicycle like Lance Armstrong. You may never play golf as good as Tiger Woods. You may never become as wealthy as Bill Gates. You may never be able to play a guitar like Dickey Betts. And... let's face it... you'll probably never be able to...

Write Copy As Good As Gary Halbert!

That being said, you probably CAN learn to ride a bike, CAN hit some golf balls, CAN make some money, or CAN write copy good enough to have some fun and maybe even make a little profit.

But when it comes to writing copy, I have a message for all of you who can afford to follow this one simple suggestion: If you need copy written, and if you can afford it, you should hire ME to do it. You're insane if you don't.

Even if you have the potential of becoming as good as me (which is very unlikely), who knows how your life and the world is going to change in the time it takes you to develop your skills to the level I have achieved.

For much, if not all of my career, it's been impossible to hire me. I simply didn't want or need any more money. But that's not true right now.

I just received an email from a guy who was cheated out of money he's owed for ad copy he wrote for a car dealer. He asked me if I had any suggestions as to what he should do.

I wrote him back saying I personally have been cheated out of about 2-1/2 million dollars in the recent past. Some of this money was flat out stolen from me. Some of it was lost because I entrusted incompetent (but non-criminal) people to handle some of my affairs.

In addition to that, the IRS has taken an interest in the last seven years of my tax returns. I think I'll be okay with them and that I don't have anything to worry about. But when you are dealing with any governmental agency, you just never know. Anything can happen.

In addition to that, there is a tiny handful of people to whom I would like to repay money they lost because of a suggested investment idea they got from me. I don't have a legal obligation to repay this money to these people. But my conscience bothers me. I just hate it whenever people lose money by "betting" on me. But I am human and sometimes it does happen.

Not only that, I think it's time I socked away some money to prepare for my "golden years". It's a funny thing but, I seem to be somewhat of an optical illusion. Not long ago, I was on stage in front of approximately 200 people who didn't know me from Adam. I told them I was going to give one of them a valuable prize. To win this prize, they had to guess my height, my weight, and my age.

Well, when I averaged up all the answers, it turned out the average guess of my height was exactly right. It turned out the average guess of my weight was 29-pounds less than my actual weight. And when averaged all together, they had guessed I was 15-years younger than my actual age.

The truth is, it doesn't matter how young and thin I actually look to other people. The calendar and scales don't lie.

Holy cow! I think I'm starting to slip into a "senior moment" and let this tale get away from me. Even so, before I wrap it up, I want to tell you one more little story.

I know a doctor who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. He has made two financial fortunes in his lifetime. He made both of them because of me and my copywriting ability. Some time ago, in the not-too-distant-past, just before I was beset by a horde of demons from hell, I announced I wasn't going to be taking on any more clients. You know what this doctor did? He paid me three times my normal fee... just to have me "on hold" to work on a promotion for him which didn't even exist yet! Well, he has finally discovered what he wants to work on and I am now creating the marketing for that endeavor.

Look, if you can afford me and you need some sales copy written...

I'm Available!

What you should do (once again, if you can afford it) is hire me while the "getting's good". I have a sneaking suspicion this door won't be open for very long. For one thing, I think after Agora tests the letter you downloaded and read, they are going to want to "own" me. Well, nobody's ever going to own me. (Except Sirian, of course.) But if the price is right, I will be available for an "exclusive lease".

Secondly, every one of the few times in the past I've announced I was willing to take on some clients, the response was so overwhelming... the window of opportunity to hire a great copywriter such as myself... didn't remain open very long.

I don't think it will this time either.

Hey, go read that letter I created for "Options Hotline" again. Then sit and think: Do you really want to put in the time, effort and energy to be able to write a letter such as that? Maybe you're broke and you don't have a choice. I understand that. But, if that's not the case, you should be contacting me via my email address ( immediately. 


Gary C. Halbert

Pathetic, Poor, And On My Knees Before The World


P.S.  I just heard Tiger Woods is coming to Miami. I'm going to gather up all the remaining money I have left and bet him I can beat him at 18 holes of golf. Oh wait a minute! That would be kinda stupid, wouldn't it?


I guess I WON'T go do that.




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