You know you need a good hook for your copy -- right?
Here's a music video to inspire you to get one!
If you want more on this, go to my latest podcast episode, "Finding Your Hook":
I don’t know. I’m not an expert on business failure.
But I do know that the success rate would be a lot higher if more startups generated more revenue sooner, and more profits.
The 3/4 failure rate, by the way, comes from a Harvard Business School study by Shikar Ghosh. Inc. Magazine reported the study.
Just a few days ago, I spoke to a group of startup founders at a conference in San Francisco.
If you’re interested in improving the odds of success with your own venture, here’s an audio of my talk at the conference (redone in a recording studio, nearly word-for-word):
Rather download an .mp3? Sure. Just click here.
Questions and comments are welcome, below.
And if you want to contact me about possibly working together, you can send me an email: email@example.com
Many of my friends are aghast that I don't fritter my time away on social media (like they do).
Hey — everyone has their addictions. I get it.
Anyway, one not-quite-social media site I find fascinating is Quora. Lots of interesting people and great content.
I admit I lurk more than I contribute.
However, someone recently posed a really interesting question, and I felt moved to answer.
The question was:
"What is the most important attributes of a successful person?"
The best one-line answer I saw was: "Subject-verb agreement."
But I know better. Some successful people have terrible spelling and less-than-stellar grammar.
(Not everyone's a writer, y'know.
And I even know world-class copywriters and best-selling authors who make stupid writing mistakes all the time.)
I thought about the question a lot and came up with what I think is an unusual answer — maybe even a unique one.
Because of the feedback I got on my answer, I decided to post it here an share it with you.
More on the feedback in a minute.
First, my answer about the most important attribute of successful people, originally posted on Quora:
It's the ability to handle paradoxes.
Successful people are very impatient, yet they are also unshakably patient in the long-term view. They want steps completed well as quickly as possible, but they also know some things take work... time... tweaking... and it only hurts to rush those things.
They fight to get credit that they feel is due (sometimes they know that's not due) when it will further their aims, but they are smart or dumb-lucky enough to "take one for the team" and let others have all the credit when it fits -- even when the others don't deserve it.
They are rigid as concrete with steel reinforcement when it comes to their determination to achieve what they want. But they are measuredly flexible in how to get there. And, they are resilient with setbacks and total fails. Maybe not right away -- successful people need time to lick their wounds, just like everybody else -- but successful people don't put that much time into feeling sorry for themselves, either.
They can be remarkable detached from their emotions and think logically with great power. But they can also tap deep into their emotional cores (some, to be sure, more than others).
And, most successful people I've met are high-energy. Yet there are times when they appear so lazy and scattered that you wonder how they ever got anything done.
Success is a journey. And journeys are not always smooth or fun. Sometimes journeys don't go as planned. Sometimes, they lead to places you never imagined, including places you had spent your whole life hoping you would never go.
Successful people are committed to the journey, take them where it may.
A Quora buddy of mine, who's not given to spewing out indiscriminate praise, told me, "That's an amazing amount of insight, David. If you don't mind my asking, how did you acquire such familiarity?"
Heh. The first question was a lot easier to answer than his.
But I thought about it, and figured I might as well share that as well:
Charles, thank you.
So, several ways and places:
OK, I just gave you my thoughts.
So... what are your thoughts?
At the risk of being labeled a grammar bully, I'll rephrase the question so the subject and verb just get along...
What are the most important attributes of successful people?
-View from the top, most recent Platinum Mastermind, San Francisco-
Just about 100 years ago, a group of entrepreneurs got together regularly and would brainstorm ways to grow their businesses. Their companies–like General Electric, AT&T, Ford Motor Co.–fueled the growth of the great American economy in the 20th century.
They called their sessions "Mastermind Meetings." If not for Napoleon Hill (author of "Think and Grow Rich"), you and I might never have known about Masterminds.
Now, flash forward to 2015. By the end of May, I will have attended three high-powered Masterminds this year.
Two are private, and invitation-only. But the third one, which I attended two weeks ago, has a couple of openings. And you're invited to apply for membership, while the spots are still available.
I'm co-moderator of the Platinum Mastermind with John Carlton and Stan Dahl. If you don't know John in a Mastermind setting, let me sum him up in a sentence:
For the growth-oriented entrepreneur, there is no one on Planet Earth as good as Carlton in providing simple, high-octane guidance to scale up your business and dramatically increase your profits–fast.
I'll confidently admit that I'm pretty good at this, too. And so is Stan. We've both helped people turn cash-flow into money-firehoses in short order.
But there's something unique about Carlton that... well.. defies description.
So what's the Platinum Mastermind like?
It's the only one that specializes in solving specific problems for you in your business. It's a small group (all members must pass a pretty stiff vetting process, and we turn away about half the folks that want in).
We literally run the meetings as "Hot Seats"–where each member gets a full session (usually an hour or longer) as the center of attention, with the entire group focused ONLY on your situation, with one goal in mind: solving whatever's troubling you.
In a good Hot Seat session, we'll deconstruct both the big and the naggingly-small problems now slowing you down from reaching your goals (or sucking the life from your business)...
... figure out all the options (both good and bad)...
... and make specific recommendations on what to do to SOLVE everything.
At the bottom of this blog post, you can watch a short (one-minute) video where three members disclose the kind of results they have gotten from the Platinum Mastermind.
IMPORTANT: While the members have given us permission to make their testimonials public, everything else in this group is kept strictly confidential. It's a safe place to be with people like you, who are facing challenges that... let's be honest... most everyone else in the world simply doesn't understand.
Now, the Platinum Mastermind is nothing like a seminar, or even remotely like a lot of so-called business coaching sessions. Our meetings are NOT filled with endless motivational nonsense, or robot-like repetition of mindless slogans and general advice someone once read in a book.
Not at all.
- View from the street, most recent Platinum Mastermind -
So... what is it like?
With a combined in-the-trenches experience of more than 100 years, having made and helped others make millions of dollars, John, Stan and I will lead the group in showing you:
- Exactly how to fix the immediate problems causing you pain
- How to shore up the weak parts of your current biz plan so you're completely clear on what to do next
- Where to find better resources, tech help, networking possibilities, and the best tactics known to the group
- Plus, how to shake off the bad parts of being an entrepreneur, so you can finally enjoy the fame, wealth and happiness you deserve.
And as much as I value the other Masterminds I have participated in and will continue to participate in, I've never experienced anything else nearly as hands-on as the Platinum Mastermind.
Now that you have an idea of what we do and what you'll get out of it if you become a member, you might be wondering if the Platinum Mastermind is for you.
Let's start with how to know if this group is NOT for you:
- It's not for you if you are so stubborn (and let's face it, we entrepreneurs are stubborn) that your mind is closed to input from others who have successfully dealt with the challenges you are facing
- It's not for you if you don't believe that sometimes, others can see things about you and your business that you can't see for yourself. (My friend "Doberman Dan" Gallapoo, a successful former Platinum Mastermind member himself, puts it this way: "You can't see the picture if you're in the frame.")
- The Platinum Mastermind is not for you if you firmly believe that business can't be fun, and that business needs to be 100% serious and logical, 100% of the time.
That's how you know to go elsewhere, right now.
OK, got that?
Now, here's how you know that this group could be a good fit for you:
- It could be for you if you'd like to leapfrog painful (and unnecessary) experience by hearing from others who have successfully faced, and overcome, challenges a lot like the ones you're facing now
- It's also for you if you like to help others grow their businesses by sharing your own failures, as well as your victories
- And it would definitely be for you if you are committed to growth in your business and improvement of your quality of life–and you're ready to go beyond the "treadmill of conventional wisdom" and move up to a proven and usually little-known path of what really works...
So here are the key details:
1. The group meets four times a year... and we'll allow you a year-and-a-half to get your four meetings in (that way, it's easy to schedule your participation, and you're not penalized for not making four meetings in a row)
2. We also host a private, members-only, Google Group... so you can connect with the group between meetings, to double-check your progress, get copy reviewed, and even float new ideas.
3. The cost for your membership is a reasonable $15,000 for the year. (We offer everyone a ridiculously generous payment plan, and it is very manageable for any entrepreneur's cash-flow.)
BONUS: Once you have joined the group, Carlton and I will give you a one-hour phone consultation (you get to keep the recording; just keep it to yourself). This phone "Hot Seat" is to get you started, before your first meeting. If you were to hire us to do this outside the group, you would pay $4,000 for this call.
People pay us this much (combined, for one hour of our time) because of the consistency of cash-surges we have helped clients create over and over again–often with just one breakthrough idea.
But this one-hour phone Hot Seat is yours free after you join. And we'll give you specific (but manageable) homework to complete before your first meeting,
So you can get up to speed and take full advantage of your first Platinum Mastermind experience.
Does all this sound like it's for you?
Then fill out the questionnaire right now, while it's on your mind. It would be a shame for you to miss out on joining this group because you got distracted and put it off (and we do keep the group small, sometimes putting people on the wait list for openings).
This 5-minute questionnaire actually answers most of the common questions folks have about the group... while also helping you clarify where you're at in your career as an entrepreneur.
Next Step: When you're done filling out the questionnaire, hit the Submit Button. Stan will personally review it; the three of us will confer; and we'll decide quickly if you're a good fit for the group.
If you are, then talk to John, Stan or me before you decide. We'll email you to set you up with a call... to answer all your questions and share all the details of upcoming meetings (like the dates and cities; typically we meet in San Francisco or Los Angeles).
Note: This confirmation call can be quick. However, we'll stay on with you until you're satisfied you're ready to sign up, or move on. There is no obligation on your part until you have decided to become a paying member.
Next Step: Once we agree you're qualified to join (and remember, we have veteran biz owners as well as folks early in their careers in the group, so your income and experience are NOT the deciding factors)... and once you agree to become a paying member...
... then you get a SECOND call with Carlton and me (this is the bonus session I told you about before.) It's a longer call, in full Hot Seat consulting mode (worth $4,000 if you booked the time separately with us).
This call will be your free introduction to Hot Seat-style problem solving... and also will get you immediately initiated and ready to settle into your first actual meeting.
One of the many things that sets this Mastermind apart from all the others.
And remember, every member receives a full Hot Seat each meeting... the "stay in touch" private Google Group we maintain... the stunning quality of our expert guests (recent ones have included legendary entrepreneur Joe Sugarman, marketing genius Dean Jackson, and Gary Halbert's sons Bond and Kevin...)
... and, just as important, the relaxed payment plans we offer (so your cash-flow doesn't take a hit from a single large payment).
Plus, because there's so much personal attention designed in automatically, we have to keep the group small. That's a huge advantage for members (especially the introverts who may have a hard time in other, more crowded groups full of relentlessly attention-seeking extroverts).
You'll see that the group bonds quickly with newcomers, forming tight and lasting friendships.
You'll be very welcome here, and your life can easily be transformed into something awesome once you allow the Mastermind miracle to work its magic.
But first, you need to set the process in motion, by filling out your questionnaire. We'll keep all info completely confidential (as we do in the meetings, too).
And, if you're a good candidate, you'll be getting a call from Stan soon.
Again: There is no commitment and no obligation on your part at this point.
We're simply starting the process to see if you and we are a good fit.
And here's the video, where three people (in very different businesses)
discuss their experiences and results:
Apply now by filling out this 5-minute questionnaire.
But what in the world does sushi have to do with copywriting... or, with anything on this blog?
As far as I knew until yesterday... very little, or maybe, nothing at all.
But then World Copywriting Blog Executive Contributor Jim Van Wyck kindly pointed me to an article which condenses the wisdom of perhaps the greatest sushi master in history... a man named Jiro.
The article alone can point you how to become a better copywriter... a greater success in any business... and really, a better person.
I strongly recommend you read it here.
Three short (true) scenarios:
•Once my trainer at the gym finds out what I do for a living, he confides that he has a great idea for a book.
•Two weeks ago, I meet with an old friend who runs a world-class writer's conference. Back in the day, she got six-figure advances for books she still receives royalties for today. It wasn't long after we sit down for lunch that she admits she has two new books she wants to write.
•And me, yes. I've published two of my own books and co-authored a slew of others. But new books are bubbling up inside me, right now, even as we speak.
I could give you dozens more examples, but I think by now you see that your desire to write a book (whether it's your first one, or your 85th book, like copywriter and author Bob Bly)... this desire is normal, and universal.
The good news is, today it's easier than ever to write a book, and for umpteen reasons you already know, it's as good an idea to do so, or even a better idea, than it's ever been before.
So what's the catch? Why isn't everyone writing a book, all the time?
We all know the conventional reasons: writer's block, the fear that no one would want to read it, not knowing how, the belief that you're not _____ enough (fill in the blank) to write a book... and the list goes on and on and on.
I'd like to propose a different reason (which probably includes all the above ones):
You don't have your head right.
This has to do with attitude, and viewpoint.
If you want to write a book, and you're not doing it, it could be that you're looking at the whole thing the wrong way. You might have some feelings and beliefs that are not only working against you... they simply might not be true.
Rick Frishman, Bret Ridgway and Bryan Hane have just released something to help you get your head right. It is, of course, a book. And it's called "Mistakes Authors Make." In this encouraging, inspiring new book, you’ll find tons of valuable nitty-gritty details it took me years to learn myself.
But more important, I think, is the ingenious way what’s between the covers can open the doors for you, mentally. To getting started. To getting finished. And to getting your new book published and available for others to read. If all this sounds good to you, I'd suggest you get a copy.
The authors are offering three really nice bonuses if you buy the book today (Friday, April 10, 2015) on Amazon, and then you email them a copy of your receipt. Here's a link with all the info:
- No, I wasn't compensated to write this review. I did get an advance copy of the manuscript to take a look at, however.
- Two of the authors, Rick Frishman and Bret Ridgway, are friends of mine. But I separated myself mentally from that friendship to write you what I consider an honest review. And if I didn't think their book would be worth your time and money, I would have politely declined to recommend it to anybody.
- I don't make any money if you buy the book. However, if you end up publishing your own book, I might enjoy an emotional reward. Especially if I find out that, even in a small way, I had something to do with it.
OK, so here's the link again to their Special Launch Offer:
For the longest time, my products and services have been thriving as a "word-of-mouth" business.
But I have recently put up a couple of new one-page Web sites to explain products and services.
If you're looking for coaching, mentoring, copy critiques, or my books and courses, here are a couple of shortcuts that give you what you need to know:
Web site #1: Free Content + Info About Books & Products
Dr. Jeremy Weisz did a terrific interview for his "Titans of Copywriting" series, and was kind enough to let me lead off the "AskDavidGarfinkel.com" site with the edited version.
Also on this page, info about:
Web site #2: Coaching, mentoring and copy critiques
I have an exclusive service for a small number of people each year in professional copywriting mentoring.
Also, serious marketers with Web sites that sell, video sales letters, and other direct-marketing money-makers come to me to help them improve their conversion.
If you are interested in finding out more about my personal services, click here.
If you know your business could be doing a lot better and you're not sure what the next steps are, my buddy John Carlton has the answers for you in his new book The Entrepreneur's Guide to Getting Your Shit Together.
Many people who understand copywriting and even the whole direct-marketing mindset are uncertain about what to do so that it works for them -- that is, to rake in the cash at a rapid rate, like they've heard about in legendary stories.
Frankly, I know a lot of folks who can do it (make huge sums of money fast with direct marketing) -- but when it comes to explaining it to others, and giving them real-world steps they can take -- those folks fall short as pragmatic teachers.
Not Carlton. If you know me, you know I have a long and storied history with him. He has a much longer and much more richly storied history as the brains behind untold numbers of multi-million-dollar promotions and in fact entire businesses.
But here's what tickles me to this day:
Unlike a lot of nobodies-from-nowhere who now insist that you worship the ground they walk on, Carlton has not forgotten where he comes from. He doesn't stick his nose up in the air or make any effort to impress you with how f'ing smart he is. His attitude is refreshing: Anyone with gumption and desire is worthy of his most high-powered advice, as he sees it.
That makes a big difference. Some other highly successful direct marketing gurus hold back and do their utmost to make you feel small. Hearing from a guru on high who you know is secretly sneering at you because he has decided you don't measure up -- that doesn't exactly feel good, does it?
Carlton is not trying to get his hand in your pocket. He's not trying to get you to the top of his prospect list. He does have other, more expensive products, but he doesn't give a rat's ass if you ever buy anything from him.
He's semi-retired, for God's sakes. But I just know, he does feel a debt to a world (industry) (perspective) that has made him rich and free beyond anything he could ever have imagined when he first got started.
And this book -- his first ever "officially" published work -- is an installment payment on that debt.
He'll probably rake me over the coals when he reads this, but he'll never prove me wrong. And I think the story needs to be told. He's giving away information here others have paid him thousands for, and made millions with. It's really that good, because it's entertaining and life-changing as well as eminently practical.
And it's cheap. No other way to say it. A bargain-priced guide to a much better life. About the cost of a movie ticket, or a few gallons of gas.
But unlike a couple of hours in a theatre or an hour on the freeway, what you'll get out of this book will last you a lifetime.
And if you do more than read it -- if you choose to act on it -- it just might make you a huge wad of money, to boot.
I will admit I didn't have the presense of mind to put the mug down and it might look like I'm posing for an ad about the benefits of drinking coffee.
But regardless of the oddness of my pose, you can see that I'm happy seeing people I probably wouldn't get to see in one place, any other way.
That's why I go. And that's why you should find events that work for you the same way... and go.
Oh, by the way, the event was Traffic and Conversion in SF last weekend. There were well over 100 people (of the 2000 in attendance) who I knew, there. My only regret is that I didn't get to see all of them.
We will explore that on a Webinar called
"Use Your Copy Skills To Create Profitable Info-Products -- The Easy Way"
Wednedsday, January 9, 2012
8 pm Eastern
It's free to attend, and you'll get lots of content:
Update -- Here is a link to the replay:
On Wednesday October 10 at 8 pm Eastern, the most successful copywriter you've probably never heard of (unless you're on the inside of hard-core direct marketing) will join Brian McLeod and me on our Monthly Members
Training for FastEffectiveCopy.com.
His name is Jimmy Curley.
Jimmy is the guy John Carlton turned over his biggest clients to when John moved on to other things.
Jimmy currently has over 100 controls going and is a partner in 2 multimillion-dollar companies... because, as he put it last month, "they got tired of writing me a $20,000 check every time they needed a new ad."
(Yeah, he's that good. And his copy makes clients so much more money than his fee is.)
Wednesday night (10-10-12) at 8 pm Eastern, Jimmy will spill the beans on how he puts direct mail letters together. And video sales letters. And Web page sales letters.
This is truly priceless information and I hope you can attend.
Here's the link to sign up for the Webinar (it's free for World Copywriting Blog readers):
See you there!
How was that possible?
Our best guess has to do with decisions.
There are a lot of decisions people make, often below the surface of their awareness, when they write. These decisions put your brain in idle, or sputter it to a screeching halt.
"How do I say this so it instantly hooks my prospect?"
"I know this niche is interested, but couldn't I go after a broader market right away?"
"What's the one benefit of what I'm offering that my prospect will find absolutely irresistible?"
We all have to make those decisions -- and they all take up bandwidth in the brain.
And so, writer's block begins...
But what if you knew what all the key decisions were that you would have to make -- and you made them before you ever wrote a word of the copy itself?
That was what we did at the workshop. It was one of the secrets we uncovered that allowed every student to write most or all of a complete sales letter, with no writer's block... in just two days!
Hey -- last week my partner Brian McLeod and I gave an in-depth Webinar that revealed the 5 Powerful Discoveries we made at the High-Speed Copywriting Workshop in San Francisco May 5 and 6.
We've put a replay of the "5 Discoveries" Webinar online, so you can see for yourself.
Here's the link:
"Write A Complete Sales Letter In A Weekend" -- that's what we're promising at the High Speed Copywriting Workshop May 5 and 6 in San Francisco.
Naturally, what we're doing has stirred up a lot of controversy.
Here's what high-powered copywriter Rick Duris, who wrote a lot of copy for Jay Abraham, wrote about this event on the Warrior Forum:
From what I've heard, the way they're structuring this event I think is pretty cool.
To be blunt, you'd have to be an idiot to pass this up.
Look at it this way: I was also invited to the Gary's Bencivenga 100 Retirement Seminar Event. All expenses paid. My seat was locked in.
But I was an idiot. I couldn't go that weekend. Too busy with a big project about to launch.
I was kicking myself for a year while Gary was futzing with the videos.
Can you believe it? 100 other copywriters got the jump on me for a full year! If you don't think that pissed me off, you don't me very well.
In other words, you CAN'T treat this as any old seminar. This is an event. A true opportunity.
There's gonna be world-class copywriters on stage AND in the audience at David & Brian's event. And I personally don't want to miss a moment of it.
- Rick Duris
PS: And if anyone thinks I'm being compensated to say this, I'M NOT. Without sounding all hypey dypey, I just think this is going be a darn cool event.
Click this link to see what he was talking about.
And, on another subject, lest you think we are taking ourselves too seriously, you really need to see this video about The 7 Naughty Habits of Highly Effective Copywriters.
Co-Producer, High-Speed Copywriting Private Workshop
In my lifetime, I can’t think of anything that has had a more transformative effect.
Think about it. The Internet has changed how we receive the news - and how quickly.
Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have redefined how hundreds of millions of people interact with each other.
The Internet has even brought change to one of the most change-resistant institutions in society - the educational system. Today there are accredited online college programs readily available to people who never could have seen a way to get higher education before.
With all this massive change, I thought it would be interesting to know where it all came from.
I finally found out. And I'd like to pay huge homage to a little-known engineer, a Polish immigrant to the United States, who dreamed up the idea that eventually led to the very network that allows you to read this blog post.
His name was Paul Baran, and he wrote a 24-page paper for a think-tank in 1960 that laid out the foundation for the Web we know and love (and sometimes hate and curse) today.
Mr. Baran died last year in Palo Alto at age 84.
Here's a guy who was a practical visionary, right up to his very last breath.
"... [S]itting in bed before he died, Paul Baran sketched out an idea and sent it to Wheeler [a friend a business partner] for a look. It was a detailed plan on how to run a better hospital.
If you're interested in how ideas become pervasive reality (and to me, that is one of the most important aspects of how copywriting ultimately works), see this terrific appreciation of Mr. Baran by Bloomberg Businessweek's Brendan Greeley.
And, on a personal note, thank you, Mr. Baran.
Publisher, World Copywriting Newsletter
You can get a free copy of this book by clicking on this link.
I'm crazy about "Work the System."
I was given a review copy last summer. I truly meant what I said in the headline: this is the book every small business has been waiting for.
Because it gives you the real, though seldom mentioned, advantage that most big businesses have over you: the ability to build, run, and maintain a system.
I used what I learned to write and produce 12 1-hour videos, professional quality, which sell for $800 a set. I never could have done it without what I learned in this book.
I was so nuts about the book, I bought a copy for my brother for his birthday.
And I got permission to give a free copy of a PDF of the book to a client of mine that runs a $50 million company.
Yesterday, my client told me he has completely reorganized his business based on what he learned. In fact he hired someone from a well-known franchise to come in and apply what he learned from "Work The System."
And my brother?
Well, he's still my brother.
But he has been displaying some systematizing behavior lately. So who knows?
You always hear Business Blowhards proclaiming, "Work on your business, not in your business."
How many of them have the savvy and the skill to tell you how... especially, how many have that savvy and that skill, because they have actually done it themselves, with their own business?
And gone from 24/7 overwhelm and teetering health, to a completely happy, healthy, low-stress lifestyle?
Only one that I know of: Sam Carpenter, author of "Work The System."
Do yourself a favor... get yourself a free copy of this book. Now. And read it.
It could make your business -- and your life -- a lot better.
To get your copy, click here.
In a letter to a man named Ray Calt in 1955, he described "my work habits as a copywriter" as "appalling" and confessed:
"I am terrified of producing a lousy advertisement. This causes me to throw away the first 20 attempts."
Ogilvy's letter to Mr. Calt, from The Unpublished David Ogilvy: A Selection of His Writings from the Files of His Partners, was recently posted in full on the excellent blog Letters of Note.
Here are a few highlights:
You might find it odd that: here I am, admiring and paying homage to what seems like the impossibly hard work of writing copy, when I have dedicated most of my career to make writing copy easier for others (and for myself).
That, of course, is what Fast Effective Copy is all about.
But I do see value in the insane overwork Mr. Ogilvy is confessing to.
The most productive sales letter I ever wrote,for Abacus Travel Management, brought in a cool $40 million over the course of eight years.
I only rewrote that letter seven times. I'm sure Mr. Ogilvy would have seen me as a hopeless lightweight.
But one thing I learned was that when you're swinging for the fences, you've got to do everything you can to make it the best it can be.
And Mr. Ogilvy was always swinging for the fences.
Many thanks to blogging expert and World Copywriting Blog Executive Contributor Jim Van Wyck for suggesting this post to me!
Co-founder, Fast Effective Copy
He's Elmore Leonard, the crime novelist that gets respect in the serious, patched-elbow, pipe-smoking literary world. (My stereotype may be dated, but hopefully, you get the idea.)
He's 86 and still writing two pages a day. I would call that "going strong."
So, he's not a copywriter, but he sure as hell knows something about writing.
Look at this excerpt from Rum Punch (p 12) to see what I'm talking about:
Ordell heard him say, "It doesn't matter where you were, Reggie, you missed your hearing. Now I have to… Reg, listen to me, okay?" This Max Cherry speaking in a quieter voice than he used on his wife. Talking to her had sounded painful. Ordell placed his athletic bag on an empty desk that faced the one Max Cherry was at and got out a cigarette.
This looked more like the man's den than a bail bond office...
Grammarians, have a field day. All kinds of things "wrong" with what he wrote.
Copywriters, pay close attention. Elmore Leonard knows what he's doing.
This morning, reading an interview with Leonard about his new book in the Wall Street Journal, I discovered he has 10 rules for writing. Even has a book by that name.
I tracked them down on the Web, and here they are:
While this is more for fiction than for copywriting, you can learn a lot and improve your writing if you pay attention to what he is getting at.
In his book he adds: "My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."
Think about that.
How many of these would vastly improve your copywriting... and your results?
And as a 16th birthday gift, Dad takes him to the Bunny Ranch, the famous Nevada brothel, for his very first time.
I'm talkin' 'bout the news from the hip, flashy side of the advertising industry, which suddenly found a way to take the Mad Men attitude even deeper into their daily work.
From today's Wall Street Journal:
"Ads with f-bombs? Get used to it," says Glenn Cole, chief creative officer of 72 & Sunny, a unit if MDC Partners Inc. "Major brands will start to take off the granny pants and create racier content that demands the attention and respect of younger audiences."
Such content would be focused on the Web and certain cable-TV channels.
I suppose if the job of your copy isn't to sell anything... but it's vitally important to show how f'ing hip you are... then this is a good thing.
What's your take on this earth-shaking development?
Co-founder, Fast Effective Copy
P.S. I have no problem with the f-word.
In fact, some of my best conversations include it.
Just not any sales conversations that I can recall ever being successful.