The Copywriter's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing That Sells Paperback – Aug 2 1991
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The Copywriter's Handbook is somewhat out of date. There are no references to Web sites or the Internet, and author Robert W. Bly advises that a freelance copywriter have a good typewriter. No matter. Bly has compiled an incredibly useful resource for budding, and even experienced, copywriters. Bly calls his book "a step-by-step guide to writing copy that sells." And that it is: Bly covers the writing of print ads, direct mail, brochures, catalogues, public-relations material, trade-journal articles, speeches, newsletters, commercials, and more. But equally informative is the substantial amount of space that he devotes to the copywriting business, in which he offers guidance in setting up a freelance copywriting business, getting hired by an ad agency, and hiring and working with copywriters (this section also includes a chapter on graphic design for copywriters). This is a terrific book. If you don't take my word for it, take David Ogilvy's: "I don't know a single copywriter whose work would not be improved by reading this book," he says. "And that includes me." --Jane Steinberg
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Top Customer Reviews
It is filled with no-nonsense advice and instruction on the craft of copywriting. It probably truly is the Bible for copywriting. If you are starting out on a path to a career in copywriting, just ask nearly any seasoned pro and they will refer you to Bly's work.
In this volume, Bly explains advertising and copywriting and the many forms they take shape in. He explains how copywriting applies to all manner of promotions and advertising, e.g., headlines and body copy for ads, brochures, letters, article writing, TV, radio, and both commercial and non-profit promotional materials. It is both a definitive how-to and an idea book.
Whether you are starting from scratch and completely clueless or a professional seeking new ideas and approaches, this is a must have book.
I'm a technical writer (not a copywriter), but felt that this book had good things to offer. I think it also helped define my own style of writing.
If you are into freelancing and consulting, I'd also highly recommend his 'Six Figure Consultant' book. He gives a lot of good practical advice and seems to have a lot of experience.
He continues to explain not only the ins and outs of writing copy, but also the ins and out of the copywriting business; how to find the jobs that you want as a copywriter, how to hire other copywriters to work for you (whether as a business that needs copy, or a successful copy writer who has more work than he can handle).
Finally, we get a bonus section - a chapter explaining everything that a copy writer needs to know about graphic design (I personally think copy writers should know enough to be able to do some routine graphics work themselves, in a crunch).
One reservation that you may have is that the book is a little outdated (the updated edition dates back to 1990). For a similar, more recent work, focusing more on the business end of copywriting, you are encourage to look at the work of Peter Bowerman.
Author of "Ordinary Miracles - Harness the power of writing and get your point across!" (ISBN 1-4116-7252-6)
I too am a copywriter and, for the first time, empathised almost entirely with what a fellow writer was saying.
You see, the subject matter is steeped in misunderstanding. What the aspiring writer needs to know is that almost all copywriting is about selling.
Robert Bly understands this, and communicates it well. He knows it's not about clever headlines; it's not about puns; it's not about abstract concepts. Yes, the copywriter is a salesperson - one who is paid by his clients to sell their products.
This book recognises this with a relish. It urges us to identify the USP (that which makes a product different and saleable) and to put it right up-front, to deliver simple messages that everyone can understand, and to write precisely for the intended audience.
Bly's comprehensive guide covers pr! ints ads, brochures, radio and TV commercials, direct mail and PR material. There are also chapters on getting a great job in an agency, and going freelance.
The only element with which I would take issue is Bly's somewhat dismissive attitude towards graphic design. I can think of many designers and art directors who would be hopping mad over Bly's comments about `fancy visuals' that don't add to the selling process, and about the limited value of white space. Surely someone who has worked so much with designers knows about their contribution to the `pickupability' of advertising material? A minor quibble, but a valid one.
Most recent customer reviews
This is an excellent reference for writers or marketers. Although it predates the popularity of the internet, the basic writing advice the book gives is timeless. Read morePublished on Feb. 21 2013 by ScienceLives
After looking for a decent book on copywriting on Amazon (where else?), I decided to buy this one, based on the positive reviews it got from other readers. Read morePublished on April 8 2003 by Laurens Bonnema
Simply put, this book is an exceptional nuts-and-bolts guide to copywriting. I highly recommend it.Published on July 2 2002 by Gr Haynes
Have you ever had to write a sales letter? After too many of my own sales letters failing to earn me a penny, costing me more money than I could afford to lose -... Read more
I bought 2 copywriting books from Amazon prior to this and couldn't really make any progress. With this book, I truly got a handle on the art of copywriting. Read morePublished on June 3 2001 by Jim Sutherland
If you are a copywriter or a would be copywriter you can benefit from this book. I've had it on the bookshelf next to me for several years and refer to it often. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2000 by Joel Heffner
I must join the league of others who think that this is a great book. Robert Bly consistently writes excellent book time and time again. I have never been disappointed. Read morePublished on Nov. 9 2000 by Jennifer Woodard
To sell your product (in my case books), you have to describe it in (glowing) terms that relate to the needs of the potential buyer.
Bob Bly describes writing to sell. Read more
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