Bathroom Tip To Keep Your Copy On Point. (And Your Head As Well)

by 18 comments
(This post may contain TMI for some readers...)

There comes a point, where you don't need more books - but practice and action.

At this point "just another copywriting book" becomes just that. JUST another book on a mountain of books you could spend forever trying to get through.

Don't get me wrong. You have to put in the time and effort.

You need to read the classics, and then you should pursue more information.

But know that you have a limited amount of time and energy for consuming.

And that your time is better spent pursing action. (Creating, contributing, etc)

Which means you should watch your "Marketing info diet" carefully.

However you should always try and maintain connection with the fundamentals.

I can't quote anyone specifically, (but I know many top writers have echoed this idea)

Instead of hunting down more marketing material. Make an effort to read the classics over and over again.

Sharpening the saw, so to speak.

Which is why for the past 2 years, there's one of the advertising classics sitting above my toilet. (Right now it's Breakthrough Advertising).

Whenever I'm handling my business, I'm truly handling my business.

Is it a little gross? Maybe. Does it keep my grounded so I don't stray from the fundamentals? Absolutely.

I'm sure most of you have your own ways of staying grounded.

Don't hold back, let's hear them.

-Andy
#copy writing #bathroom #copy #head #point #tip

  • Profile picture of the author DavidG
    lol, yeah good point.

    To me, I always read a couple of pages from Breakthrough advertising, or any other great classic while working...

    For example, I just finished nailing an idea and theme for a betting letter I'm working on. But I only got to it after nailing it down from 5 possible ideas and 3 possible themes...

    I had to go back to Breakthrough Advertising and read until the right theme and idea made sense.

    Not because I don't know any better but because the book feels more in sync with my thinking that almost lets me have a conversation with the author.

    I think a lot. And I think and think... and one of my problems is I can't construct much of what I say properly in text. And when I do, it sounds like crap.

    So the book kind of filters that on the right direction.

    Maybe some of you could relate. If so and have this same sort of nagging problem, always go back to the great books.

    Hope that helps because it's helped me get to where I am today.
  • Profile picture of the author geek1659
    LOL great I guess because it hit home that's where I do my thinking as well
  • Profile picture of the author Steve The Copywriter
    I had the renowned 4th Edition of the legendary John Caples "Tested Advertising Methods"

    It looked like it had been rediscovered from the basement of an ancient library. Dusty, yellow and worn to bits.

    Anyway, years ago I was reading it in the tub, and it slipped out of my hands and sunk.

    Although I quickly scooped it up - all the wise words began stretching out and vanished in front of my eyes as the ink dripped away.

    It was a bizarre experience seeing the piano from the "They Laughed When I Sat Down..." Ad literally melt off the page.


    Steve


    P.S. To prove the classic copywriting books - the books themselves - can be a good investment. My copy cost around $15.00. The replacement 4th edition cost $130.00.
  • Profile picture of the author Moriarty
    Can you name a copywriter without a swipe file? Are there any?

    Now, if you get two good copywriters together, you can guarantee what they will be talking about. They'll be talking about the guys who came before them with such brilliant copy.

    So you are in good company, ASCW. The old books are good.

    Only, when it comes to writing copy it's always my client that sparks me off. There's something they do, something special that sparks off the things I write for them.
  • Profile picture of the author lotsofsnow
    Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post

    Can you name a copywriter without a swipe file? Are there any?
    I never use a swipe when I create my copy.

    I do look at what others do but when I create a sales letter I do not have a particular swipe.
  • Profile picture of the author deezn
    Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

    I had the renowned 4th Edition of the legendary John Caples "Tested Advertising Methods"

    It looked like it had been rediscovered from the basement of an ancient library. Dusty, yellow and worn to bits.

    Anyway, years ago I was reading it in the tub, and it slipped out of my hands and sunk.

    Although I quickly scooped it up - all the wise words began stretching out and vanished in front of my eyes as the ink dripped away.

    It was a bizarre experience seeing the piano from the "They Laughed When I Sat Down..." Ad literally melt off the page.


    Steve


    P.S. To prove the classic copywriting books - the books themselves - can be a good investment. My copy cost around $15.00. The replacement 4th edition cost $130.00.
    I just checked alibris, and they have multiple copies of the 4th edition (1985) for 99 cents all the way to $60 or so for new copies. I'm wondering if these are not 4th editions.

    For $5 it's worth a shot.
  • Profile picture of the author Steve The Copywriter
    Hi Deez,

    Chances are if they say it's a 4 edition it is.

    If the front book cover has a pic of Mr Caples himself it's almost certainly a 4th.

    These are great prices.

    My "replacement" cost a lot more because I managed to get a "nearly" mint condition hardback.


    Steve
  • Profile picture of the author deezn
    Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

    Hi Deez,

    Chances are if they say it's a 4 edition it is.

    If the front book cover has a pic of Mr Caples himself it's almost certainly a 4th.

    These are great prices.

    My "replacement" cost a lot more because I managed to get a "nearly" mint condition hardback.


    Steve
    Yes, they have listed "new" ones from $60 to $150. Mine is just "good." For a buck, that's good enough!

    I did read the 5th edition. I was a bit taken back when I was reading material that was clearly not written by Caples. You can really tell when the author changed. Even then, I thought it was a great book. So I'm kind of excited to read the 4th edition and take notes (I read it once without doing any note taking) Thanks for the info!

    So far, this, Sugarmans original book are my favorite. I liked Schwab's book for a top down look but found more actionable stuff in the other two (for me). Although I got a killer headline idea from Schwab's book for my industry.
  • Profile picture of the author Steve The Copywriter
    Your building up a great collection of books.

    And yes for a buck or 2 it's so worth getting (in any condition) Mr Caples original masterpiece.


    Steve
  • Profile picture of the author deezn
    Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

    Your building up a great collection of books.
    My wife rolled her eyes when I said I wanted to buy a bookcase just for my (soon to be) copywriting books. I'm a huge Dan Kennedy fan too so I have allof marketing stuff underneath my burgeoning books.

    I'm going to re-read those 3 to get it down before jumping all around the place. They are pretty close to the bathroom too
  • Profile picture of the author Steve The Copywriter
    Deez,

    Yes, don't jump all over the place.

    A few words of caution just to reinforce this for you (and everyone else who has discovered the wonderful world of copywriting).

    Don't buy everything by everyone.

    And don't rush and buy all the good stuff all at once.

    Because it becomes very addictive - you think "There must be a new or another "secret", "tactic" or "technique" that I must know..."

    It's understandable.

    But if you buy everything too fast - you'll suffer from a dreadful copywriters malaise known as "Severe Information Overload" (SIO for short).

    The symptoms are - when you start writing you feel a bit overwhelmed.

    It becomes serious when you hammer your head on the desk screaming ...

    "There's an infinite number of ways to write any piece of copy - where the f*** do I start?"

    To prevent this from happening.

    Get the "classics". It's fine to have your favourite author. Blend their stuff with a few other excellent books. And choose the right courses for you from acclaimed copywriters.

    Again it's OK to keep buying the really good material (I've been doing it for 28 years, and $148,000 plus later...)

    Just don't over do it. Too quickly. Don't let "SIO" get into your head.


    Most importantly and this is the only workable antidote for "SIO."

    Make notes from your books and courses.

    Creating your very own patented master file - a treasure chest of the very best of the best.

    It's much easier opening that file - with everything perfectly collated.

    So you know exactly what to use and how to use it for every project.

    Rather than looking in despair at a vast library - frantically worrying about which book or course to re-read and apply.


    Steve
  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    Originally Posted by hpgoodboy View Post

    I never use a swipe when I create my copy
    What silly dogma.

    Why wouldn't you want to learn from and leverage millions of dollars of prior experience?

    Torch your pride in favor of results.

    Brian
  • Profile picture of the author deezn
    Steve The Copywriter, thanks for the advice. I really am going to re-read the few books I have read mentioned above. I breezed through them the first time. Now I'm going back to take notes.

    No more buying for now. Update: It was the 4th edition in used but pretty damn good condition. Not bad for 99 cents plus shipping.
  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    One way I try and stay grounded...

    I no longer read most of the BS out there.

    I've found that reading stuff from everywhere, my mind starts to stray off course. I just stick to the basics.

    Most of my email goes to spam because it's so lame. I don't read it...I just delete it on a daily basis.

    Last "guru" I sent to spam was Kern. I don't need one more email from him about his special offers...then a day later about how he made another mistake. LOL...don't know who writes his emails but they suck bad.

    I did a critique on here for someone and opted in to see their report. I swear I get at least 2 emails a day from them now (in my spam folder).

    Too much info simply overloads your mind.

    Stick to a couple people you like...let the others blow in the wind.
  • Profile picture of the author deezn
    If you opt in, shouldn't you just opt out instead of designating it spam? I thought designating it as spam messes with their credibility ratings or something.
  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Originally Posted by deeznuts View Post

    If you opt in, shouldn't you just opt out instead of designating it spam? I thought designating it as spam messes with their credibility ratings or something.
    Never heard about the credibility thing...

    Don't really feel too sorry though for idiots that send affiliate crap on a daily basis.
  • Profile picture of the author aduttonater
    lol... I always thrive for new info, but the old stuff is still good. I consider the old stuff like my notes. I just bust them out to review. I know what you mean though. Too much information overload until the brain explodes, or stay on point with what you already know. Kind of like singing along to those old c.d. in the box as opposed to the new c.d. that's coming out next Tuesday.
  • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
    Originally Posted by deezn View Post

    I just checked alibris, and they have multiple copies of the 4th edition (1985) for 99 cents all the way to $60 or so for new copies. I'm wondering if these are not 4th editions.

    For $5 it's worth a shot.
    Yep, it most definitely was. Mine arrived today (I'd almost forgotten I'd ordered it).

    Thanks for the heads up on this.

    And for reference for anyone else looking for a copy, here it is next to my now obsolete 5th edition:

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