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Day Six: Write the proposal

Day Six Task
Task One: Write the initial draft of your book proposal Write the draft quickly. Don’t think too much about it. In your initial draft, you aim for quantity, rather than quality.

 

Relax! You'll write your draft in stages

Today's the big day. You're going to write your book proposal. If you're starting to freeze up at the thought, relax. You've already done a lot of preparation work, and you're not going to write it all at once. You'll write it by taking the proposal through several clearly defined stages:

A. First draft . This is your "thinking" draft, in which you think on paper. In this draft, you write whatever you like. You're aiming for quantity here, rather than quality. Write this draft full-steam ahead, without stopping to look things up. Consider "writing" this draft by talking into a tape recorder.

If you need to do some spot research, just leave a note to yourself, and keep working on the draft. You can look up individual items later. The benefit of doing specific research later is that you may find it's unnecessary. It's quite possible that you'll eliminate this material from a later draft.

B. Your second draft . Your first draft has shown you what you want to say. In this draft, you have a crack at saying it. In your second draft, you organize. You decide what material you want to include, and perhaps expand on, and what material you'll delete. Think of this draft as shaping your material.
Occasionally you'll want to take this shaping draft through several documents.

You may have a B1, B2, B3 and B4 version, for example.

Keep your drafts.
Use the "File, Save As" menu option of your word processor to keep versions of your book proposal. When you change the name of the file as you work through different versions, it means that you can always go back and reinsert something that you deleted, because it's in a previous version.

C. Your clean-up draft. Your final draft. You've said what you want to say, now you get a chance to say it better. You clean up the redundancies and spice it up.

Paradoxically, the easiest way to write well is to allow yourself to write badly. Every day. This is because writing is hard when you try to think and write at the same time. Allow yourself to think on paper for as many drafts as you need. Then write the final draft with confidence.

Woody Allen once said that 90 per cent of success at anything was just showing up. I've found that that's very true. So no matter how bad you feel your writing is at any given time, go ahead anyway. Your writing is not as bad as you think, it's simply a crisis of confidence, and even if it is rough when you first get it on the computer screen, it can be fixed. However, if you hesitate, and don’t get it on the computer screen, you have nothing to fix. Get it done!

At the end of this book, in the Appendix, you'll find the complete proposal for my book 7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success. This is a real proposal, and it won an agent contract on first reading. Read it through so that you can see exactly what goes into creating a proposal.

We've already covered what your proposal must contain, here it is again, for reference. Please print this page out:

• A title page, with the title, subtitle, author, word count of the completed book, and estimated time frame for completion. You might state: "75,000 words, completion three months after agreement".
• An overview: a description of the book. This can be as short as a paragraph, or several pages long.
• The background of the author. Your biography, as it relates to your expertise for this book.
• The competition in the marketplace. This is where you mention the top four or five titles which are your book's competitors. (Note: if there are dozens of competitors for your book, this is a good thing, because it means that the subject area is popular. Your book will need to take a new slant.)
• Promotions. This is where you describe how you will promote your book, both before and after publication.
• A chapter outline.
• A sample chapter, or two chapters. This is always the first chapter, and if you're sending two chapters, it's the Introduction and Chapter One, or if there's no Introduction, it's Chapters One and Two.
• Attachments. Optional. You may want to attach articles you've written about the book's topic, or any relevant supporting material.

Let's write the proposal
Your chapter outline

You've already been working on a major part of the proposal --- the chapter outline. If you like, you can begin today's work by spending an hour or two with that. If your chapter outline still has major holes in it, don't worry too much about it. Today we'll complete an initial draft of the complete proposal, and you can fill in the gaps later.

Your background—why you're the person to write this book

Next, we'll work on the background section.
The first piece of info you'll need to include in the background section is a
brief bio. Every book you own has a bio of the author, so take a few books off your
shelves and study the author bios. Most are short. Novelists' bios mention the writer's
interests, partner, children and pets. The bios of nonfiction writers (that's you) emphasize the writer's academic credentials if it's important to the writer's credibility, or the writer's experience in the field the book covers, or anything else which might
be relevant.
Here's an example of a bio, which I wrote as part of the book proposal for: 7
Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success
--

Quick Bio
Australian author and journalist Angela Booth has been writing successfully for 25 years. She writes about business, technology, women's issues, and creativity. Her books include: LifeTime: Better Time Management in 21 Days, Home Sweet Office: Your Home Office, Improve Your Memory in 21 Days, and Making the Internet Work for Your Business. Her feature articles have appeared in magazines like Energy for Women, The Australian Women's Weekly, Woman's Day, New Idea, Vogue, and numerous other print and online magazines.

She's also a working copywriter, writing copy for businesses ranging from international corporations to small businesses with less than five employees.

Your bio must be slanted so that it relates to those experiences which make you the perfect person to write the book you're proposing. For example, let's say that in your daily life you're a doctor. The book you're proposing is a gardening book: how to grow your own organic vegetables. In your bio, might call yourself "Dr. Jane Smith", but for this bio, you’d mention that you grew up on a farm, have grown organic vegetables for ten years, and write a monthly column for Eat Your Organic Veggies Magazine. Your experiences as a doctor wouldn’t be appropriate for this book. On the other hand (just to confuse you), if you intended to cover the health and nutritional benefits of organic vegetables at great length, then your credentials as a doctor would be important, and you'd include them.

Please remember that there is no way you can do any of this wrong --- something either works, or it doesn't. You can always make changes later, when you get feedback .
Many of my writing students focus so much on the "correct" way of doing something, that they never get anything done. Join any writing group, and discussions of correct formatting abound. If you start to get nervous about anything you're doing, wondering whether you're doing it "right", simply tell yourself: "this is the way I choose to do it. I may choose another way at some other time, but right now, I do it this way, and it's the right way for me."

In addition to your bio, if you have publishing credits you'll want to mention them here. Your publishing credits should be paid credits, rather than work you've done for promotional purposes, or material for which you weren't paid.

What if you don’t have any publishing credits? Everyone has to start somewhere. If you don’t have any credits, don’t worry about them. If your proposal is excellent, and a publisher wants to commission the book, then your lack of credits won’t count against you.

Write the Overview

Now you'll know why you spent time writing your blurb. The Overview, the description of your book, is the first part of your proposal that agents and publishers will read. It's your book in a nutshell. It's also merely an expanded version of your blurb.

I've included a sample Overview below. It's from the proposal for my book Writing To Sell In The Internet Age.

 

Sample Overview Writing To Sell In The Internet Age

The Internet gives writers unlimited new opportunities Writing To Sell In The Internet Age empowers writers by revealing the immense new earning power that Internet technology gives them. While many writers are comfortable using the Internet for email and research, most are unaware that they now have many new opportunities, including:

• Clever new ways to market their work and services with tools like autoresponders, email mini-courses, ebooks, auctions, and promotional ezines;

• The opportunity to develop a loyal following of readers. They can write and publish instantly, to a worldwide audience millions strong, with tools like Web logs (blogs). This loyal following makes a writer more appealing to traditional publishers;

• The ability to target specific niches, and to garner an income much more quickly than they can via traditional publishing routes. A writer can write an ebook or report this month, and sell it forever.

The Internet gives writers the power to be their own publisher and distributor by selling their work directly to readers. Many writers are already taking advantage of the possibilities. Judy Cullins, who's building an online reputation as "The Book Coach", says of selling her ebooks online directly to readers: "The first months, I had no idea at the time how powerful this method was. My income bolted to over $3000 a month in less than a year."

The new rule for writers in the Internet age is: "Create, promote, sell". What's amazing is that writers can do all this in one day, even in hours. When I write a report, I can format it in PDF (Portable Document Format) at the click of a key. That's the publishing done. I can then add the report to the online store at my Web site in minutes --- distribution done. Then I can send an announcement out to my subscribers (promotion done) and watch the sales rolling in. Best of all I don't have to be anywhere in particular to do this. I can do it as easily on a sun-drenched beach on the Great Barrier Reef off northern Australia as I can in my home office in Sydney.

Are these capabilities within the reach of non-technically-inclined writers? Yes! Although I've been writing about software, computers and the Internet for many years, I'm by no means a geek. The writers who shared their anecdotes and success stories for this book aren't geeks either. They're writers who've seen opportunities and grabbed at them. Many of these writer/ publisher/ entrepreneurs didn’t come to writing via traditional publishing routes. Many started out as marketers, or entrepreneurs. They looked at the Internet, saw how relatively easy it is to make money selling information online, and worked out ways to do it. The Internet is the answer to writers' prayers. It puts writers in control of their own destinies.

We see what we expect to see, so writers have seen the Internet as a magazinestyle "content" market. But because of the unlimited free content online, few sites buy content. (This may change, as more sites with good content change to a reader-pays business model.) Writers haven't yet seen that the Internet is a completely new environment, where they can write what they want to write, and can, without too much effort, make a good living.

A how-to plus a how-they-did-it Writing To Sell In The Internet Age is a how-to for writers to access their new opportunities, but it's also a how-they-did-it. I'll be describing the avenues that writerentrepreneurs are developing to use the Internet to make excellent money in many new ways. These writers are exploring their new options with amazement and delight. It's an exciting time. I'll be including their stories and tips in this book to inspire other writers that they can do it too.

What I won't be including I won’t include descriptions of technology and the online environment. Information on how to build a Web site, how to sell online, how to create a mailing list and other technical minutiae is readily available online. Also because technology is advancing so quickly, technical information rapidly becomes outdated. What won't change however are the basic concepts of writing to sell in the Internet age.

Include in your Overview:
• A description of your book;
• Why your book is important;
• Something about what's included in your book;
• Why you're the person to write this book.

Don’t hype, BUT DO INCLUDE EVERYTHING RELEVANT Please don’t try to hype your book in the Overview. Just tell your story as quickly and as clearly as you can.

Also, don’t hold anything back. I've read many proposals from beginning writers where the writer has tried to be coy: "For the complete details, you'll need to read the book!" This kind of thing will work against you. You're asking a publisher to invest around $30,000 to publish your book. Anyone who's going to spend that amount of money wants all the details. Please provide them.

Your Overview's length Your Overview can be as long, or as short, as you feel it needs to be. Some proposals have one-page Overviews, in others, the writer needs five pages to describe the book. Use your own judgement here. If you need five pages, then by all means, use them. However, if your Overview is long, make sure that you haven’t repeated information.

Write the Promotions section

Next, you'll write the Promotions section. In this section, you will show your publisher that you intend to go all-out to promote your book. You can do this with an investment of money, or of time. If you can do both, you should.

Promoting with money Company CEOs, sports figures, celebrities and other well-heeled people often write books, or have books written for them by ghost-writers. It's understood that any celebrity will hire a public relations agency, and will spend a lot of money nudging the book up the bestseller list. If you have money to spend on a public relations agency, mention this in your proposal. Your publisher will be pleased that you intend to get behind the book.

Promoting with time If you don’t have swags of cash lying around that you can use to promote your book, you'll need to invest time. There are a million ways you can promote your book, from pasting magnetic letters onto your car and building a Web site to calling bookstores all over the country to talk them into stocking your book. You can even act as your own PR agency, and without anything other than an Internet connection and some time, can do a lot of work to help sell your book. Anything that you do will be appreciated by the publisher.

Sample Promotions section Writing To Sell In The Internet Age Here's the Promotions section from Writing to Sell in the Internet Age.

My primary focus will be on online promotions. For two reasons: I'm located in Australia, which means I can’t go the usual book store/ speaking venue route to promote the book. And I've been online since 1992, pre-World Wide Web, and know how to promote online. (I wrote a book called Making the Internet Work for Your Business, which is about setting up a small business online (1998, Allen & Unwin)). Also, it's appropriate to promote a book about selling in the age of the Internet on the Internet.

I have a popular Web site and three email ezines, and I'll be promoting Writing To Sell In the Internet Age heavily in all of them. I now spend ten hours a week working on my site and my ezines, and on promotional activities for them, so I'll increase that to 15 hours, so that I regularly spend considerable time on the book's promotion.

My offline focus will be on getting press coverage and radio interviews.

My plan outline
1. I will create a mini-Web site for Writing To Sell In the Internet Age. This will be a three page sales site, the name of the site to be taken from the book. Such mini-sites are called "buy, bookmark or leave" sites. The entire site is similar to a direct mail letter: its only purpose is to encourage the reader to buy the

book. The beauty of such sites is that if they're efficiently linked from other sites, such as my business site, Digital-e, and other sites in which I have an interest, they quickly rank #1 in the search top search engines, that is, in Yahoo! and Google.com.

2. I'll write a long sales page on Digital-e for Writing To Sell In the Internet Age.
3. I'll develop an email newsletter for the book's buyers, and prospective buyers. This monthly newsletter will update the information in the book, and will include a link for readers to buy the book online.
4. I'll subscribe to a press release Web site, so I can send out monthly online news releases for the book to thousands of media outlets in the U.S., and if the book gets a Commonwealth sale, in the UK and Australia. With the phone, email and fax, doing long-distance interviews for newspapers and radio will be easy. Several of my books have attracted radio and newspaper interviews, and I'm comfortable doing them.
5. I'll interact in online chat rooms, conferences, and in mailing lists, subtly promoting the book.
6. I'll create a private discussion group for the book's readers in the "Talk" forums section of my Digital-e Web site, so that readers can ask questions and interact with me directly. As this forum grows, I'll appoint reader-moderators for the various discussions.

Write the Competition section

On Day Two, you did a lot of work on assessing the market for your book. Here's where you use all that information. Choose anywhere from three to five books which you estimate will be your book's main competitors. Describe how your book is different from these books, and how your book fills a niche in the marketplace.

Include the names of the books, the authors, and the year of publication. If these books were published several years ago, this is all to the good.

Day Seven: Write the sample chapter and revise your proposal

Day Seven Tasks
Task One: Write the sample chapter Write the first chapter of your book.

 

Task Two: Revision

 

Revise the first draft of your complete proposal.

 

Today you write your sample chapter

Write your sample chapter using the A,B, and C method that we talked about. I've also described a fast method that I use to write chapters of books below. If you prefer to use a tape recorder, then by all means do that. I prefer to write first drafts by hand, on yellow legal pads. I find that I can relax and enjoy myself when I write by hand. Whichever method you use, just settle down and write the first chapter.

Note: invariably, after you sell the proposal, and are writing the book, you will make changes and it's likely that the final first chapter you write will be very different from the version you're writing today. Since that's the case, just write as quickly as you can.

A fast chapter-writing method

Writing a chapter of a book is like writing a long article. Most chapters are somewhere between 2000 and 4000 words, but if you want to write a short chapter of 1500 words, that's fine too. Remember that you can’t do any of this wrong, and it's your choice.

Here's a method that I use when I'm writing a chapter in a book. Adapt it to your own needs.

 

1. Reread your notes Reread the notes that you've made during this week.

2. Talk to yourself on paper Then take five minutes and write out exactly what you want to include in this chapter. This isn't an outline; your notes can be as brief, or as lengthy as you wish. I usually talk to myself on paper, like this:
"What do I want to cover in this chapter? I want the reader to understand (this

process/ theory/ idea/ method). I also want to include these five anecdotes. What do the anecdotes show? The first one shows that…"

By talking to myself like this, I eliminate performance anxiety. Some writers do the same thing by writing their chapters as letters: they can take it easy, as if they're talking to a friend. The big benefit of using a method like this is that it does away with formality and stiffness.

3. When you're ready, write When you feel ready, start to write. As you're writing, just get the words out as quickly as you can. It's useful to set a goal for the number of pages in an hour. I usually aim for three pages an hour. However, if you feel that having a number of pages that you "must" write an hour stresses you, then don't set a goal like this.

When you're writing:

• Turn on the answering machine, and turn off your email program;
• Close your office door;
• Set yourself goal of either pages written, or words written;
• Don’t reread your notes. If you need to look something up, just write "tk"

which is an old printer's mark meaning "to come", and keep on writing. If you stop to look something up it may derail your train of thought. Plus you may think: oh, I need to cover this, and this, and this must go in. Assure yourself that you won’t be able to cover everything. Trust that your subconscious will deliver the material which needs to go into the first chapter ;

• Keep going even if you're sure that what you’re writing is less than your best work. You can tidy it all up later. Just get the words down.

If you find that your writing goes slowly with this first chapter, that's normal. First chapters are always slow to write, because you haven’t found the right tone and voice in which to write your book. Once you find those, the writing will go much more easily. Because first chapters are always slow, it's important that you don’t leave your desk until you've written the number of words you set out to write.

Revising your proposal

When you've completed the first chapter, print out the entire proposal. Then go and do something else --- go and watch a movie, or have lunch. Take a good break of at least a couple of hours before you come back to read your proposal.

How to revise

 

Just like your writing, your revision will go through several phases. Copyediting, or line revision, where you fiddle with word choices and grammar, comes last. Here are the steps:

1. Read the entire proposal Read the proposal straight through. Keep note-making to a minimum. This is so you can get a sense of how the material reads. When you've finished this initial readthrough, ask yourself whether what you've written stays close to your blurb. If it doesn’t, you can either change your blurb --- perhaps you've been inspired with some creative new ideas --- or you can change your proposal.

While this read-through is fresh in your mind, write out your impressions. Have you covered most of what you want to include? What else do you think the proposal needs?

2. Slash and burn Before you start cutting, rename your document (Version B or B1, or whatever naming process makes sense to you).

Now go through the proposal and take out the material that you've decided you want to eliminate. If it's too painful to simply hit the Delete key, cut the material and paste it into another document.

3. Add material In this pass through the proposal, add the material the proposal needs. Perhaps you've done some additional research --- write up all the material you want to include.

4. Read for coherency Print out your proposal, and read it through to check for coherency. Make sure that you've included transitions in your sample chapter.

5. Revise for style In this pass through the material, you get to jazz it up, if you wish.

 

6. Copyedit In this final pass through your proposal, check for grammar and word usage.

You're done!

You've done it, congratulations!

You've completed your book proposal. Now comes the fun part, selling your proposal. If you need any help with this, you can contact me at any time. Don't forget to send me a copy of the ms for your free appraisal.

Good luck. See you on the bestseller lists. :-)

Resource: Sample Book Proposal
7 Days To Easy-Money: Copywriting Success
by Angela Booth
Proposal

• Words: 60,000
• Complete ms: three months.

Your name

E-mail: yourname@yourdomainname.com World Wide Web: www.yourdomainname.com

Overview

7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success shows writers how to set up their own copywriting services business in seven days. Its target market is writers, professional or aspiring, who want to make money from their writing skills. Melanie Rigney, editor of Writer's Digest magazine, estimated that ten per cent of the US population aspire to write.

From the book's Introduction:

 

Want to make REAL money writing?

You know you can write. Maybe you're even making money writing. But are you making enough money
writing? Or is it just a hobby, costing you more in
computers, postage and paper than you're earning?
According to writers' organizations, 95 per cent of writers never make enough money to quit their day job.

What about the top five per cent of writers --- they're making big money, right? A small proportion of the top five per cent sure are. They're the headliners --- brand name writers like Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Journeymen (and women) writers are doing OK too. They're the genre writers, writing romance, mystery and suspense, and nonfiction. Writers in this group spend a lot of time looking over their shoulder. Will their publisher accept their next book? Are they writing enough? (Gotta turn in at least two books this year.) What nasty reviews of their latest book will they find on Amazon.com today? Magazine writers may do well too if they combine magazine writing with writing books.

If you want to make real money from your writing skills, you can. And you can do it easily and quickly, in seven days. How? Start a copywriting services business.

I've been making good money as a copywriter for over 25 years. It's fun, creative and lucrative.

 

The business writing market is invisible to most writers

Most writers are aren’t skilled at business, and don't know how business works. They're unaware that businesses hire writers, so they pitch their work to overcrowded markets. Copywriters (business writers) write to meet the communications needs of large and small businesses. The material they write includes marketing communications, proposals, public relations material, and Web site content.

If copywriting does register as a potential market, writers don’t have any easy, practical guides to help them to access this market. While bookshop shelves are packed with how-to guides to writing novels and magazine articles, the small number of available copywriting books are dry and dull, and make copywriting sound about as much fun as doing your own dentistry.

7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success aims to correct this. It's aimed at both professional and new writers. At the end of seven days, the enthusiastic new copywriter will have all the information and experience she needs to set up her own copywriting services business and make money.

Does the material work? Yes! I've been teaching this material in online and offline classes, and selling it online as an ebook. I'll be including many exercises and samples: sample exercises written by my students, sample ads, sample press releases, templates, and check lists. And because the material is based on my own 25 years of copywriting experience, I'll be including lots of anecdotes and insider information.

Writers need this book

True to its "easy money" title, the book focuses on teaching the reader how to get copywriting work, not just on copywriting techniques. As far as I can tell, none of the other copywriting books currently available teach copywriters how to prospect for new business. And yet, going by my experience with students and my monitoring of writers' groups online, this information is what writers need most.

Other copywriting books just don't provide the nitty-gritty of self-promotion and marketing. Writers need details and encouragement to market themselves and their services, so I'll be making this book as forceful and motivating (and fun) as I can. One of my students said that she until she did one of my free sample courses, she wasn't aware that copywriting was something she could do. Now she knows that it is.

That's the takeaway I want to give readers: you can make money, easily, from your writing skills, and you can make it very quickly, no long apprenticeship needed.
The book's structure

Readers will find it easy to work with this book. It's set up in the form of days and weeks, with tasks and exercises for each chapter. As the reader does the exercises for each day, she's doing the work involved in setting up her own copywriting services business. No wasted time – she's working on developing her own small business from the very first day!

Each chapter contains:

 

• Samples, written by my students, so that readers feel more comfortable

 

with the work.

 

• Copywriting techniques for the reader to refer to as she begins to work

 

as a copywriter.

 

• Exercises. The reader will use the exercises to build her copywriters'

 

portfolio.

 

What's not in the book

 

I've left out material which is widely available elsewhere, such as:

 

• How to set up a home business; and

 

• Small business technology.

 

Angela Booth's Background
Quick Bio

Australian author and journalist Angela Booth has been writing successfully for 25 years. She writes about business, technology, women's issues, and creativity. Her books include: LifeTime: Better Time Management in 21 Days, Home Sweet Office: Your Home Office, Improve Your Memory in 21 Days, and Making the Internet Work for Your Business. Her feature articles have appeared in magazines like Energy for Women, The Australian Women's Weekly, Woman's Day, New Idea, Vogue, and numerous other print and online magazines.

She's also a working copywriter, writing copy for businesses ranging from international corporations to small businesses with less than five employees.

 

Partial list of publication credits

 

• Feature articles for mass market women's magazines in Australia and the US,

 

including The Australian Women's Weekly, Woman's Day, New Idea, Energy

 

for Women, Writer's Digest and Vogue;

 

• Feature articles for computer and technology magazines;

 

• Computer manuals;

 

• Content work for Web sites and Internet newsletters (her online articles

 

number in the hundreds, find them by entering the search query "Angela

 

Booth +articles" into Google.com);

 

• Business books for major publishers, including many books in Prentice Hall's

 

WorkWise series (translated into several Asian and European languages);

 

• A series of romance novels for Macdonald Futura UK.

 

Web site

At her Digital-e --- Info to Go Web site, Angela Booth publishers three popular ezines: Creative Small Biz and Your EveryDay Write, which are free to subscribers, and Freelance Copy Write, which has paying subscribers. She also teaches writing courses via email.

Why this author for this book?

Angela Booth is a writer, a business person and a teacher. She knows copywriting both from the writer's and business owner's points of view, and because she teaches writing, she knows how to pass her skills on to others.

She has written professionally for most of her adult life; everything from romance novels to computer manuals. She understands how writers work and think. She has also managed several successful small businesses. She first developed her copywriting skills when she managed a dog training and boarding business, and found advertising so expensive that it was vital that each ad pulled, and pulled well.

Her love of writing and fascination with the creative process also led her to teach popular writing courses at community colleges, and now online. The material in 7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success has been tested by her students, and it works.

Competition

 

The following three books are 7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success's competition.

 

1. The Elements of Copywriting: The Essential Guide to Creating Copy That Gets the Results You Want

by Gary Blake, Robert W. Bly
Publisher: Longman; 1st edition (September 1, 1998)
ISBN: 0028626303
This is a good general reference to copywriting techniques. It's aimed at small business or marketing people who want a simple copywriting guide. It's not directed at the same market (writers) as 7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success, and provides no instruction on how to set up a copywriting services business.

2. Teach Yourself Copywriting

by J. Jonathan Gabay
Publisher: McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Books; 2nd edition (January 31, 2001) ISBN: 0658012010
Another general reference to copywriting techniques, aimed at business and marketing people. Again, it's not aimed at writers, nor does it help in setting up in business as a copywriter.

3. The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency As a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less

by Peter Bowerman
Publisher: Fanove Publishing; (September 2000)
ISBN: 0967059844
This book comes closest to targeting the same market as 7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success.

Peter Bowerman has written a useful book. His background as a marketing executive gives him a strong sales emphasis. However, because he has a sales and marketing background, and not a background as a writer, he doesn't cover the marketing of a copywriting services business. (He calls copywriting freelance commercial writing.)

His experience with marketing make marketing processes self-evident to him, and he tends to gloss over them. However, marketing doesn’t come naturally to many writers, as I've seen with my students. They struggle with marketing, and need instruction in basic marketing processes and concepts.

Who will buy 7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success and why?

The strongest target group likely to buy this book is writers, whether employed or freelance, who want to diversify, and develop another income stream. Aspiring writers are also likely to buy it, seeing it as an opportunity to earn while they learn and develop their writing skills.

Additional target groups include:
• colleges which teach writing courses;
• people laid off from corporate marketing jobs – they will already have an

awareness of the work done by copywriters; and
• early retirees, who want to develop an income, but don't want or need full
employment.

My promotions plan for 7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success

My primary focus will be on online promotions. For two reasons: I'm located in Australia, which means I can’t go the usual book store/ speaking venue route to promote the book. I also have a greater depth of experience in the online world. I've been online since 1993, pre-World Wide Web, and know how to promote online. (I wrote a book called Making the Internet Work for Your Business, which is about setting up a small business online (1998, Allen & Unwin)).

I have a popular Web site and three email ezines, and I'll be promoting 7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success heavily in all of them. I now spend ten hours a week working on my site and my ezines, and on promotional activities for them, so I'll increase that to 15 hours, so that I regularly spend considerable time on the book's promotion.

My plan outline

7. I will create a mini-Web site for 7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success. This will be a three page sales site, the name of the site to be taken from the book. Such mini-sites are called "buy, bookmark or leave" sites. The entire site is similar to a direct mail letter: its only purpose is to encourage the reader to buy the book. The beauty of such sites is that if they're efficiently linked from other sites, such as my business site, Digital-e, and other sites in which I have an interest, they quickly rank #1 in the search top search engines, that is, in Yahoo! and Google.com.

8. I'll write a long sales page on Digital-e for 7 Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success.
9. I'll develop an email newsletter for the book's buyers, and prospective buyers. This monthly newsletter will update the information in the book, and will include a link for readers to buy the book online.
10. I'll subscribe to a press release Web site, so I can send out monthly online news releases for the book to thousands of media outlets in the U.S., and if the book gets a Commonwealth sale, in the UK and Australia. With the phone, email and fax, doing long-distance interviews for newspapers and radio will be easy. Several of my books have attracted radio and newspaper interviews, and I'm comfortable doing them.
11. I'll interact in online chat rooms, conferences, and in mailing lists, subtly promoting the book.
12. I'll create a private discussion group for the book's readers in the "Talk" forums section of my Digital-e Web site, so that readers can ask questions and interact with me directly. As this forum grows, I'll appoint reader-moderators for the various discussions.

Chapter Outline

How to get the most out of this book

A brief chapter to help the reader get the most out of the day-by-day chapters. Includes:
• How long it takes to work through the material.
• How to get the most out of each day's chapter.
• What you'll learn in Weeks Two, Three and Four.
• "Help! I can't complete the material in a week!" How to proceed if you can only work with the material on weekends.
• Confidence-builders, and encouragement for the reader to act on her ideas.
• Information on how to obtain a password and join the online forum for the book at the Digital-e Web site, and interact directly with the author.

Week One: Start Your New Business In Just Seven Days!
Introduction & Day One: Getting Started

 

The Introduction and Day One are included in the proposal, please see the Sample Chapters.

 

Day Two: your portfolio, prospecting and marketing

On Day Two, the reader takes the first steps in marketing her skills. She creates her bio, and begins to compile her portfolio, and writes a direct mail letter to sell her skills.

Includes:

• Copywriter's bio. The reader learns how to leverage her current experience and skills, and writes her first copywriter's bio. Her current experience and skills also show her which businesses she could begin targeting in her marketing. Includes sample bios. (I include sample bios written by my students – real-life student samples are included right throughout the book.)

• Copywriter's portfolio. The reader begins creating her copywriter's portfolio by creating writing samples. An explanation of an electronic portfolio.
• Market research. The reader learns how to find markets, and a prospecting routine is discussed in detail.
• First direct mail letter. The reader writes her first direct mail letter to send out to prospects; a sample letter is provided.
• Day Two copywriting techniques.
• Day Two Exercises.

Day Three: Writing Longer Copy

Day Three's theme is "news". The reader learns to write longer copy, including news releases and newsletters. She writes a news release for her new copywriting services business, and collects sample newsletters to study. She also learns the "Brain Dead" writing process, so that she can quickly write copy, to order, and to deadline.

Includes:
• News releases step-by-step. The reader learns to write a news release. She also
targets media outlets to which she'll send her first news release.
• Publicity is better (and cheaper) than paid advertising, so the reader writes a
news release for her new copywriting services business. A sample news
release is provided.
• Newsletters are excellent promotional tools. The reader discovers the elements
of a newsletter. A sample online newsletter is provided.
• Day Three copywriting techniques. Includes how to follow up on initial
contact, and turn prospects into clients.
• Day Three Exercises.

Day Four: Public Relations Copywriting

In Day Four, the reader will become more comfortable with writing long copy PR, and develop skill creating and working with ideas. She'll price her services. She will also create a tagline (slogan) for her business.

Includes:
• Concepts and communications plans. The reader learns how to develop a
concept and communications plan for a client with a new product or service.
• Pricing. The reader learns how to price her copywriting services.
• Day Four copywriting techniques. How to use incentives in copy. Create a
Public Relations media kit: the reader discovers how to create a media kit for
her new business, and for her clients. More on writing news releases --- how to
avoid having a news release perceived as an ad.
• Sidebar: What should a copywriter know? A method for the reader to become
comfortable writing the kinds of copy she's never written before.
• Day Four Exercises.

Day Five: Specialist Copywriting

In Day Five, the reader considers her past experience, and her interests, and considers building a copywriting specialty. The reader also learns to build her copywriting practice one client at a time, and how to use each client's circle of contacts to build her own contact base.

Includes:
• Copywriting specialization --- yes or no?
• Build a specialty in three easy steps.
• Networking and partnering with others. Copywriters who work completely

alone limit themselves to small projects --- and a smaller income. The reader learns to become comfortable sub-contracting work like graphic design, and also how to work as a sub-contractor for others.

• Difficult clients. The reader learns to rely on her copywriting services agreement.
• Day five copywriting techniques. Add punch to copy. Find copywriting jobs online. Create a mini-proposal.
• Day Four Exercises.

Day Six: Focus on Marketing

In Day Six, the reader works on marketing her new business. The reader realizes the importance of marketing every day, and that all the marketing she does is cumulative. The reader creates a marketing plan. We discuss ten easy marketing tools.

Includes:
• Create a marketing plan for your copywriting business. Why creating a
marketing plan is important, what to include in the plan. Regular review of the
plan for what's working and what isn't.
• Ten marketing tools you can use. Includes: Internet job boards, building a
Web site, writing promotional articles, and joining organizations.
• Day Six Exercises.

Day Seven: Copywriting for performance

In Day Seven, the reader discovers performance copywriting: writing for radio and television, and writing speeches and presentations, as well as writing for video and multimedia (CD-ROMs). Performance copywriting is a huge field.

Includes:
• Conversational style. The importance of developing a natural, jargon-free,
conversational style when writing for performance.
• Video scripts, speeches and sales presentations.
• Copywriting for radio and TV.
• Copywriting how-to: writing radio spots; working with multimedia
companies.
• Day Seven Exercises.

Week Two: Your copywriting services marketing plan and more
In Week Two, the reader continues to build her business, by creating a more

comprehensive marketing plan. She continues with the work of Week One, marketing her business.

 

Includes:

 

• More information on marketing.

 

• Marketing using online resources. The reader learns to build an "almost

 

instant" Web site, which she can use as an online portfolio.

 

• The reader learns about pitching, and how presentations can build her

 

business.

 

• Strategic alliances. The reader learns how to partner with other people like

 

graphic designers so that she can target larger businesses.

 

Week Three: Copywriting for the Internet

 

In Week Three, the reader learns to write for the online environment. Includes:

 

• Why writing for the Web is different from writing for print.

 

• Various types of Web sites, and how to write copy for them.

 

• Understanding a Web site's target audience.

 

• How to write Web pages step by step.

 

• Tips for the reader to market her copywriting services business online.

Week Four: Writing bios (biographies) and creating your own media kit

In Week Four, the reader will do more work on promoting her business. She will develop a media kit for her business.

This chapter includes a final section: "The end of this book; the beginning of your new life as a successful copywriter". This section is a final wrap-up, with some reminders, and encouragement and motivation for the reader.

Sample Chapters: Introduction and Day One
Introduction

Want to make REAL money writing?
You know you can write. Maybe you're even making money writing. But are
you making enough money writing? Or is it just a hobby, costing you more in
computers, postage and paper than you're earning? According to writers'
organizations, 95 per cent of writers never make enough money to quit their day job. What about the top five per cent of writers --- they're making big money,
right? A small proportion of the top five per cent sure are. They're the headliners --
brand name writers like Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Journeymen (and women)
writers are doing OK too. They're the genre writers, writing romance, mystery and
suspense, and non-fiction. Writers in this group spend a lot of time looking over their
shoulder. Will their publisher accept their next book? Are they writing enough?
(Gotta turn in at least two books this year.) What nasty reviews of their latest book
will they find on Amazon.com today? Magazine writers may do well too if they
combine magazine writing with writing books.
If you want to make real money from your writing skills, you can. And you
can do it easily and quickly, in seven days. How? Start a copywriting services
business.
I've been making good money as a copywriter for over 25 years. It's fun,
lucrative and creative.

Can YOU make money freelance copywriting?

Copywriters write for business. They write the words that educate, sell and instruct--everyday words. The words on ads, leaflets, brochures, press releases, product instructions and labels, newsletters, direct mail, and on Web sites. These words are everywhere, and are invisible to most people. To copywriters, all these words indicate a market. Copywriters can make excellent money: the most experienced, enterprising, and productive copywriters scoop in a comfortable six figures annually.

There's nothing fancy or magical about the words copywriters produce. In fact, if you can write clear instructions or a letter, you can write copy. You don't have to be a great writer to be an excellent copywriter, but you do need to recognize and be able to use the attributes of both fiction (evoke emotion) and non-fiction (be clear) in your writing.

Of all the writing I do, I love copywriting most. It's fun, it's easy, it's creative
--- and the biggest plus of all, it's usually short. Whatever writing you're currently doing, whether it's novels, short stories, or magazine articles, you'll feel at home with copywriting, and it will be an additional income stream for you. If you're a new writer, the skills you learn while writing copy easily transfer to other kinds of writing.

Here's the successful freelance copywriter's mindset. You:
• know that you're surrounded by copy every day, everywhere you look. Radio, TV, the Internet, newspapers, food product labels, signs: they all contain words, and a copywriter wrote them. To most people, copy is so ubiquitous it's invisible. To you, copy signals a market. You're observant and aware, and every time a message catches your eye, even if it's only a street sign, you're thinking: "Hmmm… a potential market";

• are interested in getting your client's message across;

 

• are prepared to market, and then market your services some more.

 

First must-do: get your client's message across

When you're writing copy, you're writing it for someone else, to do a specific job. That job may be to get someone to buy something, or to do something. In the case of a news release, you may be trying disseminate information or to change someone's opinion. Whatever you're writing, the message is the client's, and your job as copywriter is to make that message crystal clear.

If the copy fails --- and you won't need to look far to find poor copy --- it's because the copywriter failed to deliver the message. When I catch myself thinking about a print ad or a TV commercial: "Woeful writing"! I ask myself: "Did I get the message?" If the answer is "I have no idea what they're selling and I could care less", it's bad copy. On the other hand, if my answer is: "I hate everything about it, but I know what they're selling and what they want me to do", it's good copy.

Second must-do: market your copywriting services

There's a huge market for copywriting services. Every business uses copy. You may need to educate smaller businesses on what you can do for them, but the market is there. If you've tried to sell other kinds of writing, like novels or magazine articles, the openness of the copywriting market will come as a huge relief. It's not hard to find copywriting work.

However, you do need to market. As a group, we writers are not the world's hustlers. We're not pushy or extroverted. We'd rather write than sell our services by telemarketing or by appearing unannounced in a prospect's office.

Take heart. If you're by nature shy, you can make initial contact with clients via postal mail or e-mail, or by some other gentle, but resourceful method of selfpromotion. You don’t have to change your personality to find effective and fun ways to promote your services.

That's all it takes to make money freelance copywriting. Know that copy is everywhere and that it's all a market, get your client's message across, and market yourself.

How much can you earn?

It's no exaggeration to say that the sky's the limit on your earning potential as a copywriter. If you want to push your marketing, within a couple of years, you can be earning a six-figure income without breaking much of a sweat.

When you're just starting out, you'll charge somewhere between $50 and $100 an hour. As your experience grows, you'll charge more. If you have expertise in areas like finance, real estate, and multimedia, you can charge much more right away.

Of course, your hourly rate is not all gravy. You need to figure your expenses and overheads into that tally before you start to calculate the profits. But you can make money copywriting, a lot of money, because all businesses need to communicate and you're an expert communicator.

Welcome to the wonderful world of copy! Let's get started.

Day One: Getting Started

Your Day One Objectives

 

On Day One, you'll learn about the client brief, and will develop your own briefing sheet. You'll also learn a nifty technique to help you write copy anywhere, anytime.

 

Sections:

 

• The client brief.

 

• Writing copy step by step.

 

• How to Write A Perfect, Selling Ad.

 

• Day One Exercises.

 

The brief, and your Writing Services Agreement

In copywriting, you don’t need to do it all yourself. In fact, you can't. Your copy is based on whatever you're trying to sell. This is a huge plus, because the product always gives you somewhere to start writing. And the more you know about the product, the better. Your client hands you the product, or tells you about it, or explains the service, or gives you a guided tour of the factory, and tells you what he wants: a sales letter, a brochure or a news release. This is "the brief", your instructions.

After he's explained the brief, the most important question to ask your client is: "What do you want the reader to do after he reads this?" (Or the viewer or listener to do, if you're writing broadcast copy or for a Web site.) You're asking what the customer's response should be. Getting the customer's response is your goal. The response could be: to call a phone number, to attend a sale, or to order from the catalog.

Write down the customers' required response. While I'm working on a job, I like to stick a reminder note onto my computer monitor: "Call client number", for example, or "order product". When you get into the excitement of writing the copy, your thoughts can get tangled. It's easy to forget the response. Writing the required response down, and keeping it visible, means that it's always at the forefront of your mind.

Your briefing sheet

If you've been hired by an agency, you'll be given a brief. If you're hired by a business unused to working with copywriters, you'll need to fill out your own briefing sheet. The sample briefing sheet below contains information that's useful to have. Tailor it to your own requirements. Computer-format your briefing sheet with adequate spacing so it's easy to fill in, then print out some copies and keep them by the phone.

SAMPLE BRIEFING SHEET (Figure 1)

 

Type of product or service:

 

Promotional name of the product or service:

 

Any other names?

 

A short description:

 

What three major points do you want to make?

 

What's the primary reason the customer would be interested in this product or service?

 

A technical description (or ask for the manufacturer's specification):

 

Options (colors, material etc):

 

Used for, and how?

 

Target audience:

 

Benefits over competing products:

 

Comments:

 

Customer response required:

 

Are there any disclaimers, or legal requirements which need to be mentioned in the copy?

 

Your Writing Services Agreement

ALWAYS SEND THE CLIENT YOUR WRITING SERVICES AGREEMENT, as soon as you accept the brief. Yes, it's in caps, and I'm shouting, and the reason is this: all the hassles you're likely to encounter during your copywriting career can be countered with an effective agreement, signed by the client, BEFORE you start work. Whenever I accept a brief, and omit this vital step, something goes wrong. So do it. Always. No exceptions.

When you're working as a sub-contractor with an agency, whether the agency is for advertising, Public Relations, or multimedia services, the agency will usually have its own agreement that you'll be asked to sign. Most agency agreements are straightforward. Sometimes they're not. Strike out anything in the agency agreement you don't agree with, initial your strikeouts, sign the agreement and send it back.

Here's the Writing Services Agreement I use. It's not fancy, but it does the job. Feel free to use it, or parts of it, to create your own agreement.

 

SAMPLE WRITING SERVICES AGREEMENT (Figure 2.)

Agreement for Writing Services REF: XXXX
DATE:

Client:
Project:
Fee:
Advance retainer:
Balance due on completion:

Notes:
Your signature below authorizes me to write copy for the project above, for the fee stated. (You can return the agreement via postal mail, fax, or e-mail.)

Two revisions are included if requested within five days of your receipt of copy, and are not based on a change in the assignment brief made after copy is submitted. Balance of payment is due on receipt of the invoice.

You understand that the assignment is work done for hire, which gives you the copyright. You release me from any responsibility for legal or regulatory problems that may arise from the use of any copy I write for you.

Payment options: Check, Direct Deposit

 

(Sidebar) The copywriter's formula: AIDA

Memorize this. I don't know who to credit for this copywriting formula, but AIDA (Attract, Interest, Desire, Action) is a handy copy checklist. All the copy you write should include these elements.
Attract = get the reader's attention.
Interest = keep his attention.
Desire = evoke emotion.
Action = get a response.

Writing copy step by step

The more copy you write for clients each day, the more money you make. Therefore, you need a method to get copy written fast, without dithering and wasting time wondering what to do next. The following method works. I recommend that you use it on every job. More play than work, it's fun and stress-free. Try it.

Step One: Research

After you've been briefed by the client, your first step is research. Even if you're sure that you have all the information you need, doing a bit of hunting and gathering for more information lets your subconscious mind brood on the task before you start writing.

My aim when I research is always to get what I call "the Click". The Click is part concept, part inspiration, part structure, and part my subconscious mind waving at me and yelling: "Yoohoo! We're ready, you can get started."

Your research period may be only a few minutes. When I was asked to do a fast rewrite job on five 30-second radio spots for a jewellery store, out of the two hours I had, I spent half an hour on research. Although I'd worked for the client previously, and knew what he was selling, I wanted to get a new angle, a unique fact – something different that I could base the copy around. I found it. I learned that gold is eternal: it's older than our solar system. That nugget of info inspired me, and let me breeze through writing the five spots.

Unless I'd been prepared to "waste" time on the research, I would have had a much harder time writing the copy, and the copy wouldn't have had any creative sparkle.

Step Two: Prepare by getting a conversation down on paper or on the computer screen
The biggest stumbling block for a writer is the blank page or computer screen. Writers
get performance anxiety just like actors get stage fright. Luckily, that block is easy to
conquer when you're writing copy.
Copy is conversational. If you're used to writing novels or non-fiction, this can
be hard to achieve at first. Good copy is simply communication, rather than literary
elegance, and you don't have to agonize over grammar. If you're getting your client's
message across, you're writing good copy.
Here's a handy trick to get words on the page. When you start writing, imagine
you're talking to someone, telling her about the product. It helps to type something
like: "Jeannie, I just found this great new thing, let me tell you about it…" Then
describe the product.
Or, if you're writing longer copy, longer than a typical page of 250 words, talk
into a tape recorder, and pretend to tell someone about the product, then transcribe the
tape. Either of these techniques will stop you using a stiff and formal voice. You'll be
using an informal conversational style and tone, which is appropriate for copy. You'll also notice you've conquered the blank page.

Step Three: Brainstorm with word associations

You've got a page of conversation. Print it out if it's on the computer. Without thinking about it too much, circle any words which appeal to you. Circle five words. At this stage, you're nowhere near writing the final copy. You're making creative connections. This method of brainstorming uses your right and left brain.

Starting with the first word, write down 20 word associations you come up with. You can use a cluster diagram, or just make a list.

The key to getting results with this method is lack of effort on your part. Just do the process mechanically, and write down the first words which pop into your mind.

When you've done this, go and do something else for a while. Have a cup of coffee, or take the dog for a walk. Sometimes you'll get a rush job, and you won’t be able to take much time away, but no matter how rushed you are, take at least ten minutes.

Step Four: First draft: write it fast

 

When you sit down at your desk, write a first draft as quickly as you can. Don’t refer to any of the word lists you made. Be casual, be confident, and get those words down.

Your first draft is your first take on the job. This gives you something to work with, and you can tweak it until you're satisfied.
As you become more experienced, your first draft comes close to being your final draft. I usually send my second draft to the client as the "Initial Draft". I offer two free revisions of this draft in my writing agreement. I've found that if I'm working for the client directly, then either the client accepts my Initial Draft, and says "Great! Just what I want", or I do one minor revision. When working with an agency, I rarely get asked to do revisions.
My feeling is that because I've done a lot of preparation (research, getting a conversation down, and brainstorming), I'm pretty much on target when I send the Initial Draft. Therefore, the preparation work you do is important. Don’t try to jump into a final draft that you intend to send to the client when you sit down at the computer. You'll freeze up. Having a process that you work through leaves plenty of room for discovery ---and all writing is discovery --- and creativity, and this shows in the final results. Even if you don’t use any of the material you created in your preparation in the final draft, the preparation process loosens you up and helps you to write creative copy day after day, because you're not working --- you're playing, and your subconscious mind loves to play.

Copywriter's How –To: Five Easy Tips To Write A Perfect, Selling Ad

 

( Each chapter contains Copywriter's How-Tos, copywriting reference articles.)

A perfect, selling ad? I lied. There's no such animal as the perfect, works-every-time, selling ad. But I got you to read this far, didn’t I? That was the title's purpose --- see Tip Two: Write an attention-grabbing headline.

I didn't lie about these tips, though. They're easy and fun to use.

 

Tip One: who's the reader? (Or viewer, or listener if you're writing for broadcast.)

Although you're writing for a crowd, it's easiest to write if you imagine you're talking to one particular person.
You can even start writing your first draft with a salutation, as if you were writing a letter: Start with "Dear Elli", and keep writing.

Who is this person? Is she old, young, married? Where does she live? What's her life like? What does she want most? What's she scared of? Why would she be interested in your product? What difference would it make in her life?

Professional copywriters spend a lot of time in this phase of the writing process. You can't motivate someone if you don’t know who they are.

 

Tip Two: Write an attention-grabbing headline

 

Your headline is vital. No one is looking for your ad. You've got to wave and yell at them to get their attention. If you don’t get their attention, no sale.

Write a trial headline to get yourself started. This probably won’t be the headline you'll use. However, with a trial headline, you've got a corral for your copy. You're writing to that headline.

When you've written a draft of the ad, force yourself, with a timer, to write another twenty headlines in five minutes. (Read the rest of the tips and write the benefits and the response before you write a draft.)

Don't try too hard. Who cares if they're all junk? You're writing lots of headlines to get your subconscious mind to take you seriously, and throw up the PERFECT headline. You'll never achieve this perfect headline with conscious thought. It's a gift from your subconscious, but you have to goose it into cooperating.

You may find a headline you like more than your initial headline. Just substitute it, if it fits. If it doesn’t you can write another version of the ad to fit that headline's concept.

Tip Three: Write the features first, then work out what the benefits are
Nobody buys a product (or a service) for its own sake. They buy because it benefits
them in some way. The benefits are what you're selling.
• You're not selling a German Shepherd puppy, you're selling an intelligent, loyal companion and family protector.
• You're not selling a car, you're selling travelling comfort, prestige, and a surefire babe-magnet.
• You're not selling a book, you're selling the adventure of a lifetime, love, romance, and sex.

To get a handle on this, take a sheet of paper and briefly list the features of your product or service on the left.

Then beside the feature, write the corresponding benefit that each feature provides.
Remember --- use the benefits in your ad.

Tip Four: Don’t forget the response!

I've lost count of the number of ads I've seen everywhere from the Yellow Pages to full display ads costing thousands in magazines, where the copywriter and everyone else forgot the response.

You must tell the reader what you want him to do. You must ask for the sale. Ask the reader to do something: call a number, come into the store, go to a Web site.

This is so important that when I'm writing an ad I always write the required response on a sticky note and tape it to a corner of my monitor. I tape it onto the screen itself, so I can't miss it. (Yes, I have been guilty of forgetting the response. And very embarrassing it was too.)

Tip Five: Read it out loud You've finished the final draft of your ad. Before you show it to anyone else, read it aloud.

 

You'll pick up redundancies, awkward sentence construction and other nasties when you read the copy aloud.

 

Day One Exercises
Exercise One: Write a brief

In this exercise, you'll put yourself in the client's shoes. You're a furniture manufacturer. Your business is expanding. You're inserting a quarter page display ad in your local Yellow Pages. You pick up the phone and call a local copywriter. (You know her because she called you and left her contact details.) What instructions do you give the copywriter? Write 100 words of the manufacturer's instructions to the copywriter.

Exercise Two: Getting (conversational) words on paper: Tell me about your favorite pen
A pen manufacturer has hired you to write copy for a newspaper display ad. Pick your
favorite pen, and do some research on pens. Next, in 150 words, tell me about the pen.
Start with "Angela, let me tell you about this pen…" Remember, that you're talking,
not writing. Write as you'd speak. Also remember that this is not copy, this is just you,
telling a friend about your pen.

Exercise Three: Write ad headlines from the brief you created

In Exercise One, you wrote a brief. Now write 30 headlines you could use for the ad which you'll write from the brief. Remember, this is a quarter page ad for the Yellow Pages. Read the Yellow Pages, and check out some of the ads before you start.

(When you're writing copy for clients, it's good practice to write at least 20 to 50 headlines (some master copywriters write 150 headlines), before they set to work on the ad itself.)

Exercise Four: Create the ad from the brief and headlines you wrote
Create the ad from the brief. Tell me what graphic you'd use, the headline, and the
body copy.

I wish you big success,

 

Matt Poc