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Direct Mail Copy That Sells Paperback – May 1, 1984
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Here are the secrets of writing copy that sells, revealed by the best known and most highly respected direct mail writer of our time.
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Top Customer Reviews
I underestimated this book at first; wish I'd read it a couple of years ago ... along w/Schwartz' "Breakthrough Advertising" and Lewis' other copywriting books, this is an absolute must-get. It really does dig deep into comparing the difference between credible, compelling copy and lukewarm copy that doesn't sell.
A must-get for everyone who write ads, including site salesletters - it's a scorcher!
One or two poorly chosen words can change everything in DR and this book is for the writer who really wants to pay close attention to every phrase, every sentence, and every word. It's sort of like the teacher you had at school who seemed really fussy at the time but, later on, turned out to be absolutely right about everything.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that while the other other books are written to get everyone fired up about the potential results of great direct response marketing, this book, despite its laconic title, tells you why you should not use words like laconic. Instead, it provides words that a DR writer should use--to produce results.
Written over two decades ago, I feel that everything here remains salient: people are still wary of crazy claims and I think that copy that sounds too good to be true is just that--just as HGL says. We're still living in the age of skepticism and we probably will be for years to come. The person who is curious about DR will like this but this book scores big points, even with the Chinese judge, when it comes to word-by-word precision.
The writing is really, really good. It's machine gun style so be prepared to take cover. HGL does not take any prisoners.
and he gives very specific guidelines for how to
not write bad copy. You'll probably love his stuff
or you'll take the "rebellious" line of Gary Halbert
and despise him.
HGL doesn't say you have to create works of art or
that you should not write with a conversational tone.
He locates areas of written expression where errs
are common these days.
It's not that he is offended by conversational copy.
He IS bothered by copy that doesn't get the message
across. The books I have read by him emphasize this
more than I have seen it stressed in copywriting books
by other authors.
Yeah, he lays out rules for writing copy. If, like me,
you had a father who taught college English and you
got a B.A. in English Literature you might have a lot
of "Duh" moments... but if your people didn't read much
and didn't speak decent English you may have some real
disadvantages in writing good selling copy.
For copywriting students who were indifferent students
of English there may be remedial work to be done. This
book is a good guide to that - no replacement for
Strunk & White though.
Lewis rants about split-infinitives and double-negatives
not because he sees their use in conversation as criminal,
but because he is right in assessing that grammatical
and structural errors of expression lead to prose that
It's all about clear communication. If your reader doesn't
understand your message or your offer because you cannot
write clearly you lose the sale in direct mail.
This is a good book. If you have good writing habits it
will help you to refine them - if you lack habits
that make your writing clear this book will make you
aware of them.