May 2017 4
From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.
(More) Bookstore Lessons
In the last email, I talked about my visit to Strand Book Store in Manhattan. In this email, I’m going to discuss two more lessons from Strand that apply to direct response copywriting … one from the fiction section and another from the non-fiction section.
I’m contemplating writing another novel and I spent about an hour in Strand looking at how various novelists opened their novels. After all, in theory, the first few paragraphs and pages of a novel had better draw the reader in. Right?
But … with a couple of notable exceptions, the openings of even famous novels by famous authors were poor. The first few paragraphs of A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway are superb, even beguiling. But that’s an exception.
The first few paragraphs of direct response copy, also known as the lead, MUST draw the reader in, and keep the reader reading. Each sentence of copy must propel the reader to read the next sentence … and so on. Direct response copywriters get this … I’m not sure that our brothers and sisters in the fiction business are always brilliant at this.
Let’s head over to the non-fiction section. The writers and editors are often superb when it comes to writing titles. Let’s see some examples. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing Blast the Sugar Out!: Lower Blood Sugar, Lose Weight, Live Better I Will Teach You to Be Rich The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age What are we really seeing here?
Stuck for a great headline? Look at non-fiction books.
There’s some irony here. Yes … publishers create some great headlines/title but they are generally awful at marketing. Trust me on this based on my personal experience with my book about Caddyshack.
Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter