Famous Last Words: Great Book, Lousy Promotion
A large box arrived from Elsevier, unsolicited and containing a wonderful book—essential reading for anyone who writes the English language whether for fun or for business communications.
The title: “Gabay’s Copywriters’ Compendium: The definitive creative writer’s guide” (Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann). Its 700-plus pages are packed with copywriting secrets, business quotations and speech writing how-tos, as well as with insights on PR writing, Web writing, proofreading, punctuation, grammar, metaphors and a ton more. It is fast, funny and chock-a-block full of actionable information on what to say, what not to say, how to say it and how not to say it.
Marketers will find a wealth of valuable secrets and rules that must be obeyed if you want action. The author calls them “Top Tips” for direct mail copy, viral copy, writing press releases, packaging copy, great brochure copy, poster copy, great awareness (above the line) ads, writing reports, great Web copy and radio ads. “Gabay’s Copywriters’ Compendium” is a British import, but that makes no never-mind. It simply is great.
How to Do Publicity
The book arrived in a box containing a generic cover note—a truly crappy, photocopied sheet of paper showing the logos of all of Elsevier’s various divisions and a list of the categories of books it publishes. At the bottom was the following copy:
We believe your readers will want to learn more about this book, so please consider it for a possible book review, excerpt or author interview. For more information or additional material, including electronic files, author contact information and publishing information, please contact the publicity department.
My first jobs after getting out of the Army in 1960 were working in the publicity departments of two publishers, Prentice Hall and Franklin Watts Inc. I was responsible for getting books reviewed—jollying up reviewers and radio talk show hosts in hopes they would give the new titles some coverage.