Monday, March 27, 2017

What the Heck is Copywriting Anyway?

Bryan Cohen's Many Hats
Let's Welcome Bryan Cohen who can tell us all about Copywriting and how authors can use it in their marketing. Hi Bryan. It's so great to have you here today.

Bryan: Thanks for having me!

You're the copywriting guru, so what’s your definition of copywriting? Why should authors know the techniques of copywriting?

Bryan: Copywriting is the act of writing all the words that go outside of your book. Book descriptions, emails to readers, and advertisements all fall under the copywriting umbrella. Consumers choose to buy items due to a combination of factors including price, social proof, and copy. If that’s true, then that means improving your copy can improve the chances that you’ll sell any given item.

If authors know how copywriting works, then they can improve their chances of selling more books. It’s as simple as that.

Well, everyone's interested in better sales, so this is great information. How is copywriting different from writing fiction or nonfiction?

Bryan: Copywriting is persuasive. You’re trying to get potential readers to take an action, whether that’s buying your book or joining your email list. Copywriting also requires a different kind of editing. You aren’t just writing one rough draft and then editing from those first words you blurted out. You need to give yourself multiple versions to work with to ensure you have the most powerful copy possible. It’s different from writing prose. It’s almost more like poetry.

It looks as if copywriting takes some practice. I'm always working on writing a good hook. For those who are new to this business, can you tell us what a hook is in the book description and what should it do?

Bryan: The hook is the first line in your description, which is usually separated from the rest of your copy by a paragraph break. The hook (also known as a tagline, log line, headline, etc.) needs to concisely explain why this book of yours is a must-buy for the readers of that genre. It’s the highest possible top-down view of your book in a short, sweet package that tells romance, thriller, sci-fi, or other readers that they’ll love your story. It tells nonfiction readers what problem your book will solve.

It’s a line that gives you a chance to close the sale in 20 words or less.

I can see why that hook deserves a lot of attention from us writers. Now can you tell us what three basic strategies a new author needs to help them sell their books?

Bryan: Your copy (from your book description to your emails) needs to be compelling, concise, and easily understood.

Your funnel (your email list) needs to be set up properly to turn strangers into fans for life before bringing in more strangers.

Your network (who you know and how well you know them) must continue to grow over time to bring you more potential readers in the long run.

Those are excellent strategies, Bryan. Thanks. I know you're a man who does a lot of different things. Tell us about some of the hats you wear.

Bryan: I’m a new dad! That’s pretty exciting. I do tons of stuff, from podcasting and coaching authors in book marketing, to writing comedy and running a weekend soccer team. You’ve heard of a know-it-all? I’m a do-it-all.

What’s 2nd most important (after being a mindful husband and father) is helping the author community to grow, improve, and sell more books.

You are a "do-it-all!!!!" And a huge congrats on the new baby.

And a huge congrats on your book series. You didn't mention it, but Ted Saves the World is ready for readers. 


Goodreads

And here's his hook: Ted Finley was your typical, wise-cracking teenager… …until an otherworldly force gave him abilities beyond his wildest dreams.

Thanks so much for the great information. And stop by his site(s) to get much more. You can find out more about Bryan and his book marketing training at SELLING FOR AUTHORS. 

29 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

Thanks Lee for a most interesting post, also congrats to Bryan on his book. Will keep these tips for future reference.

Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sure the synopsis of a book falls under copywriting, and I know how tough that is to come up with a compelling one. It takes a lot of work.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Copyediting is as important as the book itself. You can write the greatest story ever but if you can't compel people to read it, then it doesn't matter.

Christine Rains said...

Excellent post! Copywriting is immensely tough, and it's one of the areas I struggle as a writer. I usually seek out the help of my writer's group to polish my synopses and taglines.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm working on back copy and the tag line right now. It's so difficult yet so important. Appreciate Bryan's advice.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee - what a great guest for this IWSG post ... and a succinct post of ideas for us to remember when the time comes. Thanks Bryan for clueing us in to these essentials in an author's life .. cheers Hilary

cleemckenzie said...

Bryan is the copywriting maven! He really breaks down the process so even fiction writers (chuckle) can do it well.

diedre Knight said...

"Copywriting is persuasive." What a perfect description! Thinking of marketing in terms of copywriting somehow provides the missing incentive to market as a (separate) business, and not a desperate boaster. Thank you!

Sandee said...

This is the place to come if you want to do things well.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

Ann Bennett said...

What a good read and I learned something I did not know. Those loglines are hard to produce.

Janie Junebug said...

Good explanation.

Love,
Janie

Juneta Key said...

Great interview. Love the webinar. Always pack with immediately helpful info and tricks.
' Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Pat Hatt said...

Easily understood is a big one indeed, some get way to convoluted

bryandavidcohen said...

Thanks everybody for the awesome feedback on the interview. Big thanks to the IWSG and C. Lee for having me on today :).

Lynda R Young said...

A great explanation of copywriting and showing the importance of it. Very helpful.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great post. I hadn't thought of how important copywriting is. And I agree with Diane on the importance of being able to compel people to read your book.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thanks, Lee and Bryan for such a helpful post. I'm not a fan of copywriting, but I understand how important it is. Thanks for clearing up some misconceptions, Bryan.

Pat Hatt said...

P.S. thanks for the spotlight too!

bryandavidcohen said...

So many great comments here, and it’s tough to respond to them individually on Blogger, but thanks everybody!

Robert Bennett said...

Hadn't even considered this before.

Blue Grumpster said...

You sure sound like ado-it-all. I'm impressed.

Michelle Wallace said...

Copywriting is almost more like poetry? Huh? Okay...
I would never have thought of it in terms of poetry.

Thanks for the eye-opening post!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

An intriguing blurb can sometimes entice me to buy a book, but a BAD will make me NOT buy it. I figure if the blurb is poorly written, the book will be, too.

Fundy Blue said...

Congratulations on your new baby, Bryan, and thanks for the information on copywriting!

Lynn Hallbrooks said...

Wow, I learned a lot and now I know how to respond to those new Kindle Scout questions that pop-up after nominating a book. One thing about this writing business - always learning new terms and just how important they really are to know about. Thanks, Bryan for sharing your knowledge with us. Thanks to Michelle Wallace for tweeting about it and bringing me here. Most importantly, thanks to C. Lee McKenzie for putting this blog together.

Lux G. said...

Copywriting is indeed important especially in promoting. It's a huge factor.
Thanks for this informative interview.

Stephen Tremp said...

Great to meet Ted and great post!

My favorite line: The hook ..... It’s a line that gives you a chance to close the sale in 20 words or less.

Best wishes to you and yours and the new addition moving forward!

Liesbet said...

How to say a lot in a few words... now that is a craft and an art! :-)

bryandavidcohen said...

All these comments are incredible. Thanks everybody for reading!