Showing posts with label skill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label skill. Show all posts

Saturday, September 22, 2018

An Important Skill for Every Writer



By W. Terry Whalin

About 25 years ago, my phone rang and it was an editor for a publishing house in Chicago. He asked, “Can you write back cover copy?” The back of a book contains enticing words which sell the reader on the contents inside the book. To write these words involves a specialized writing skill that I have learned.

“Absolutely, I can write back cover copy,” I said yet inside I was trembling because at that point I had never tried it. I received the assignment and the publisher sent the manuscript for the book. I had several days to skim the contents of the book, and then craft the words for the back cover. The payment was a modest $50 per book and in that period I wrote several dozen back covers. There was no publishing “by-line” or credit for my work but I gained valuable experience and increased the diversity for my writing.

Many writers have never tried copywriting or considered it. Possibly you are one of those writers and I want to give you some encouragement to learn this skill and highlight a resource with some additional instruction. Brian Clark, known as copyblogger, defines copywriting as, “one of the most essential elements of effective online marketing. The art and science of copywriting involves strategically writing words that promote a person, product, business, opinion, or idea, with the ultimate intention of having the reader take some form of action. So, whether you're looking to sell something or to build traffic by earning links from others, you’ll need to tell compelling stories that grab attention and connect with people so that they’ll respond the way you want.”

Whether you are writing a book proposal or a query letter or an ad for your website or a sample back cover for your book or any number of other types of writing, learning copywriting will help you put power and persuasion into your writing. Every writer needs this skill. If you are a fiction writer you need to learn good storytelling skills--and nonfiction writers need to learn to tell stories. In addition, every writer needs to learn to add the power of copywriting to their set of skills.


For many years I’ve read and reviewed many how-to-write books on a wide variety of topics—but I’ve never seen a single book on writing back cover copy—until I read Shelley Ring’s excellent book, HOW TO WRITE BACK COVER COPY THAT SELLS.

In seconds, every author needs to capture the attention of their readers. The back cover of your book are some of the most important words written to sell your book—in the bookstore or online. As Ring explains in her book, “Each chapter of How to Write Back Cover Copy walks you step-by-step through the creation of your copy package. Putting together the copy package first allows you to cement your non-fiction ideas and message, work through your fiction plot, develop your character arc, and strengthen your motivation. Much like a synopsis, writing the summaries first also keeps you on track as you complete the book or fiction novel.” (Page 6)

Ring has written back covers for traditional publishers and indie authors. Whether you are writing nonfiction or fiction, you will learn valuable insights in this well-crafted book. I loved the appendix which contains simple templates every writer can use for key aspects of the creative process. I highly recommend HOW TO WRITE BACK COVER COPY THAT SELLS.

Many writers need this skill of copywriting. Have you studied copywriting? How did you learn this skill? If you have other resources, please let me know in the comments below. 

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  One of his books for writers is Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success.  He lives in Colorado and has over 205,000 twitter followers.
 

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Writing Life Details Are Important


By W. Terry Whalin

Let me begin with good news. Every writer can learn the skill of handling the details. Some of us are only focused on the big picture with our writing. We are determined to complete a particular book or magazine article and writing on it every day to meet this goal. Yet the craft of your words and storytelling is important. Are you sending it to the right editor? Are you using the correct spelling of that editor's name? The details matter.


A while ago, I purchased all of the remaining copies of Book Proposals That Sell. With over 130 Five Star reviews and great feedback about this book over the years, I know it has helped many writers to succeed in the world of publishing—no matter what type of book you write. I wrote this book from my passion as a frustrated acquisitions editor to help writers send better submissions. If you don't have a copy, it has never been so inexpensive and available only from me. Follow the link to learn more details.

As a part of this effort, I purchased a website, wrote the words for that website, created special bonuses and have been telling others about this effort through emails, articles and twitter. In the process of setting up this launch, I created five emails on autoresponders. These autoresponders contained the bonus items for those who purchased the book.

During this creation process, I received an email from one of these people who purchased Book Proposals That Sell. He had not received these bonus item emails. The email clued me that something was wrong some place in the process. I investigated my shopping cart and learned that I neglected to click one button in one place. From working with computers for years, I've learned one simple truth: the computer only does what you tell it to do.  I had skipped one important detail and no one got their bonus items. Talk about embarrassing! To straighten it out, one by one, I sent all five bonus items via email to each individual. Now that my shopping cart is fixed, the process of sending these bonuses is automated.

There are several lessons for you from my experience:

1. The details are essential. As writers, you ignore them at your own peril. Your submissions will not hit the target nor get results if you do not work at the details.

2. Listen to your audience. When they tell you something, spring into action or make adjustments.

3. Deliver on your promises. Your word and integrity are important. And if something goes wrong, apologize (everyone is human) and then fix it as soon as possible.

4. Work hard to maintain and keep your relationships. Years ago, I heard John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Book say, “Selling books is all about building relationships.” See the truth in this statement?

Whatever you are writing or promoting, the relationship is critical and the details of your writing life are important.

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing and the author of more than 60 books including Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success (available exclusively through this website with bonuses even though this book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews). He blogs about The Writing Life and lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers.

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