Write It Right: Part 2
Editor's Note: In September 2009, I wrote a Business Common Sense e-newsletter titled Write It Right: What authors can learn from the great copywriters. Now I have more to say on the topic.
Back in 2003, I sent a book proposal to several mainstream publishers, and it was rejected out of hand. The title:
"WRITE IT RIGHT: What Authors Can Learn from the Great Copywriters."
"My authors have nothing to learn from advertising copywriters," a senior editor a W.W. Norton sniffed.
I wasn't going to take months out of my life writing a book on spec and then spend a lot more time trying get it published. So, I consigned the project to the recesses of my computer and went on to other things.
Over the years I kept seeing serious lapses in communication skills by people who should know better, the most recent being the United States Supreme Court. (See "IN THE NEWS" at right.)
Members of the Supreme Court are among the most highly educated and literate men and women in America. Their business is linguistic precision. If their decisions are not understood, they are failures.
Whether creating a letter, legal brief, court decision, memo, e-mail, blog, special report, proposal, press release, advertisement, article for publication or a full-blown book, we are all authors.
And the greatest challenge to an author is capturing the reader's attention and holding it.
In my opinion, the way to learn how to write is to study the tested and proven attention-getting (and attention-holding) secrets of the elite, anonymous cadre of highly-paid (six- and seven figures a year) advertising copywriters who mobilized the English language and sent it off to sell.
"I have always believed that writing advertisements is the second most profitable form of writing," said Philip Dusenberry, Chairman, BBDO North America. "The first, of course, is ransom notes."