Elmer "Sizzle" Wheeler

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him for the Kindle here below. I can catch a TV interview with the author of a new book and have a sample on my Kindle while the interview is still in progress. If the sample works for me, I'll have the book in my Kindle account 60 seconds later. Amazon sends me a ton of free samples and I buy a lot of books. What follows is a series of ledes from books available on Kindle where the author struck out with me.

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to make it easier to hold companies liable for encouraging others to commit patent infringement, in its latest rejection of a decision by a specialized court that hears appeals in the nation's patent cases."—Brent Kendall, The Wall Street Journal. I read the above 41-word lede sentence six times and was flummoxed.

"Your first 10 words are more important than the next 10,000," wrote America's super-salesman Elmer "Sizzle" Wheeler (1903-1968). What are the first 10 words? In the world of advertising, they are called "headlines." Newspaper journalists call them "heds."

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