I wish they taught this skill to students in high school or college. Creative writing students especially need to spend a semester on it, but never do. You’d think publishers would deliver a 101 guide on it for their authors, though I’m not sure the publishers themselves always know anything about it.
The skill is copywriting. What is copywriting? According to Copyblogger, one of the top sites dedicated to the subject:
Copywriting is one of the most essential elements of effective online marketing. The art and science of direct-response copywriting involves strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action.
Here are 3 primary ways that copywriting becomes essential to your success as an author.
1. Writing query letters, synopses, and other submission materials
This is the classic form of copywriting that most writers engage in. A query letter is not a straightforward description of your work. It’s a sales letter. It should be persuasive and seduce the agent into requesting your work.
And this is why writers struggle with queries, because they can’t bridge the gap between writing to entertain (or inform or inspire) and writing to persuade. It’s a different mindset, and it requires an ability to look at one’s work as a product that has a selling point. (If you need more information on how to formulate a hook, click here.)
I used to have a boyfriend who spent 10 years in sales. What I learned from him is that it’s not about succeeding on your first try or even with the majority of tries. It’s about making the highest number of tries with the best prospects, then bouncing back quickly from rejection.
Unfortunately, most writers’ egos are fragile, and they can’t see the query process as one of the oldest practices in human history—a sales practice where rejection is commonplace.
So, adopt the mindset of a copywriter. You can’t convince everybody, so just convince one person who’s a good match for what you’re offering. (But make sure you deliver the quality goods you promised!)
2. Writing copy for your website and social media profiles [Read more…]