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The Copywriter's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells Paperback – April 4, 2006

115 customer reviews

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The Copywriter's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells + Words that Sell: More than 6000 Entries to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas + The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This book succeeds on two levels. For beginners, it offers a clear, comprehensive guide to the business of and techniques used in advertising copywriting. And for the professionals behind the typewriter, this book is a valuable back-to-basics tool that should be given a prominent slot on the bookshelf. (Los Angeles Times)

About the Author

Robert W. Bly is a freelance copywriter specializing in business-to-business, high-tech, and direct advertising. He is the author of more than sixty books and has appeared on CNBC and CBS's Hard Copy. He lives in Dumont, New Jersey.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 3rd edition (April 4, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805078045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805078046
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert W. Bly (Montville, NJ) is a professional writer, speaker, and marketing consultant with over 3 decades of experience in business-to-business, high-tech, and direct response marketing. He became a self-made multi-millionaire while still in his 30s. Bob is the author of 80 published books including Careers for Writers (McGraw-Hill/VGM), Secrets of a Freelance Writer (Henry Holt), The Copywriter's Handbook (Henry Holt), and The Elements of Business Writing (Alyn & Bacon). McGraw-Hill calls Bob Bly "America's top copywriter," and he was named 2007 Copywriter of the Year by American Writers and Artists, Inc. Bob writes a column for Target Marketing magazine. The Direct Response Letter, Bob Bly's free e-newsletter, has over 60,000 subscribers.

Check out Bob's blog at http://bly.com/blog or contact him at www.bly.com/contact

Follow Bob:

E-newsletter: www.bly.com/reports
Twitter, http://twitter.com/Robertbly
LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbly
Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Bly/535042603

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Compay on February 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to improve your writing skills for print or the web, this is the book that you need to own. This book is all steak with the fat trimmed off, powerful tips and techniques with absolutely no fluff.

While some of the techniques included in the book aren't unique to copywriting guides, Bly offers his own effective spin on them. In the first 60 pages alone, you're treated to a goldmine of tips on writing effective headlines and crafting easy-to-read copy. Bly tackles copywriting methods for direct mail, catalogs, brochures, websites, and even press releases. Unlike most books on copy, Bly provides great advice on writing for TV commercials and radio spots.

As a Search Engine Optimization guru, I found Bly's take on writing web copy to be extremely refreshing, even if it wasn't new information to me personally. I loved that this was probably the only copywriting book that actually stresses finding the balance between writing copy that sells, and copy that is search engine friendly. Most web design books don't discuss copywriting, and most copywriting authors have no knowledge of writing for search engines. Bly certainly did his homework.

This is an excellent guide for writing copy, especially if you're writing for websites. This book is probably the best investment that you will ever make.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dark Helmet on April 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is mainly geared towards people wanting to learn hard sell direct response advertising. Sales letters and web advertising are its main focus. There are chapters on other forms of advertising such as brochures and white papers, but IMHO there are other more effective books on soft sell methods.

As for the comments dinging the Bly on his comments about creative advertising... Yes, there is a place for creativity in advertising, but the creativity should never obscure the main purpose of advertising, which is to sell products. As a copywriter, your job is to write the words that get people to pull out their wallets and buy. Are there ads that are both effective and creative? Of course. However, for a copywriter, effective should always come before creative. Never forget that you're playing with other peoples' money, and advertisers want the best bang for their buck.

Note that there have been some revisions for the 3rd edition. The section on computer equipment have been removed. No big loss there, since by definition the technology would be outdated by the time the book went to print. The chapter on freelancing has also been omitted, since Bly devotes an entire book to freelancing, Secrets of a Freelance Writer.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The knock that some reviewers gave on this book is that its just contains basic copywriting principles for beginners. Have you guys noticed a lot of the print and television advertising? Mostly cute, gimmicky filler that doesn't do the job of selling products. I remember a few years ago when the media blasted the SaleGenie.com Super Bowl ads for "not being entertaining enough" and being a "major fail." Many media outlets blasted SalesGenie.com for running ineffective ads and not knowing who their target audience is. They were wrong and so are the reviewers who criticized this book. By the way, SalesGenie.com GAINED 10,000 SUBSCRIBERS by Monday morning --the very next day. That was over $21 million in annual subscription sales. So much for not knowing their target market and target audience. It wasn't a cute commercial, but it was great sales copy that targeted underperforming sales professionals looking to gain a competitive edge over their peers. In fact, the SaleGenie.com commercial had the best ad copy, and it followed many of the principles explained in this book.

The Copywriter's Handbook will break down the anatomy of what's behind writing a good ad and how to construct good ad copy that sells products. Many copywriting books will tell you to use a bunch of techniques, but never explain the how or why about it. This is why there's so much inconsistent, bad ad copy proliferating. The author helps you understand why you must follow certain principles of constructing ad copy, and why certain techniques work. If you buy this book and actually read and comprehend what's in this book, you will learn how to write better ad copy.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Stacy Karacostas on July 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Before I started my own copywriting business years ago, this one was my first books on the subject. And I still refer back to it periodically. Bob Bly is a copywriting legend who is well-known for making the fundamentals of writing great copy easy to understand. Whether you're thinking about a writing career, or just need to make your marketing materials more effective, this is the perfect primer for anyone who wants to learn how to write to sell!
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45 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Chovaleoni on July 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're a practicing copywriter and don't know what a brochure is -- ummmmm...I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but perhaps you should consider another career. Yes, this book actually defines what a brochure is. I am shocked to see that experienced copywriters found it useful. The advice is rudimentary at best. I gave it three stars because a) basic information has its place and b) I didn't want to tarnish the rating. It was my mistake to buy it. If you're looking for a book to inspire award-winning creative, get Creative Advertising by Mario Pricken. After devouring it in one sitting, I wrote copy all night long. For fun. On a weekend. And, no, I'm not a sweltering geek. The Kickstart Catalogue is an amazing tool for bringing out your natural talent. It teaches you from the inside out (you'll understand what I mean when you read it).
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