Who's Your Favorite Story-Telling Fiction Authors?

16 replies
Hey Copywriters,

A couple of you have mentioned about the importance of telling a story (if possible) in your copy to help sell a product or service. Vin Montello was once referred to as the "Storyteller Seller" because his strong ability to bring a story element into a sales letter.

If we study great copywriters to learn copywriting... what about great story tellers in fiction?

So give 'em up... who do you like to read as fun reading... the story-tellers that have been known to capture your attention -- maybe even for hours on end?

I'll give you two of my favorites:

First, Brad Thor. If you like the counter-terrorist/hunt down the bad dudes books, then you'll love Thor's stuff. His main series revolves around a fictional character that is a former Secret Service agent turn government counter-terrorist.

Second, James Patterson. I'm talking about Patterson's earlier work or the books he writes without a co-author. He's got one of the strongest best selling streaks going among fiction authors. As a copywriter, you'll appreciate the fact that James Patterson was the Creative Director for J. Walter Thompson Worldwide which is a huge ad agency before he became a well-known fiction author. He writes some killer suspense and thriller novels.

Okay, that's two of my favorite authors.

What about you?

#authors #favorite #fiction #storytelling
  • Profile picture of the author deeross
    This isn't fiction, but my favorite stories are the "true accounts" in Reader's Digest. They are short, tightly focused, and use great story telling techniques. A good source of inspiration for our copywriting!
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    • Profile picture of the author dorothydot
      Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Sherlock Holmes novelettes and stories are truly great. And the flavor of Victorian England as the background is priceless!


      PS - Another one is Dorothy Sayers. Love Lord Peter Wimsey!

      PPS - Let's not forget Daphne Du Maurier - she really makes history come alive. Fascinating.

      "Sell the Magic of A Dream"

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        • Profile picture of the author dorothydot
          Originally Posted by MarkAndrews IMCopywriting View Post

          Good on you Dot! I love you lass.

          Do you remember this thread I created Dot?


          Where I'm describing that scene in that thread,
          I was literally rowing right past her old home on
          the river bank, I know that river like the back of
          my hand, as well as she knew the river herself.

          I still sense her spirit very strongly up there.

          Frenchmans Creek is my favourite creek on the
          river, it's just so serene up there, you'd love it.

          I was born on the banks of the Helford River, I
          go there all the time at every opportunity.

          In the spring and summer I row on the creeks
          very often to get complete peace and quiet
          away from everyone else and to do some

          I'll send you some photos of this spring as the
          river comes alive with colour again, if thats
          okay with you?

          Not related to copywriting, one of my favourite
          storytelling authors...

          The Little Prince by French aviator, Antoine
          de Saint-Exupéry

          An excellent read by any stretch of the
          imagination. Very thought provoking. You can
          buy it on eBay for a couple of dollars.

          Oh that must be sooo special, to actually see Frenchman's Creek! That book was spell-binding. D. DuM. really made it come alive.

          I love the water - that's why we live by the Chesapeake Bay. Fishing is my best "let-it-perk" activities: you know, when you've got a project to write, you've done the research and now you just need to let things fester in your subconscious before setting pen to paper.

          And yes, I remember Le Petit Prince all too well. Studied it in French class. Being painfully shy in those days, I always had to read aloud, "A haut voix, Mlle.!" the one line where he says, "S'il vous plait, monsieur, desine-moi un mouton!" [translation: "In a loud voice, Miss!" and the stirring words "If you please, sir, draw me a sheep."] But I have forgotten how to spell design in French, lol!

          My favorite of Ms. DuMaurier's is and always will be "The King's General" with the surprise ending where they find the skeleton of a Cromwell-era lad in a secret chamber in the castle.

          She really made history alive for me. And that's saying something - I flunked American history 3 times!


          PS - I'd totally LOVE to see your photos of Frenchman's Creek! Thank you.

          "Sell the Magic of A Dream"

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      • Profile picture of the author Anita Ashland
        Originally Posted by dorothydot View Post

        PS - Another one is Dorothy Sayers. Love Lord Peter Wimsey!
        I love her book Murder Must Advertise where Peter Wimsey goes undercover as a copywriter at an ad agency. It's set in the 1920s, I think, yet the way they gripe about clients you'd think it was set in modern times

        There's nothing like a Flannery O'Connor short story for attention-getting prose and remarkable metaphors. As Gary Bencivenga has said, metaphors are the most important form of story in copy.

        Novelist Richard Russo, who won a Pulitzer in 2002, is my favorite contemporary novelist.

        At last...pre-written emails for Clickbank products that increase conversions.

        Need smokin' hot email copy? www.AnitaAshland.com

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  • Profile picture of the author SrinivasPrabhakar
    I love MacCaffrey's PERN series. Some people consider it fantasy (must be the dragons) but it's actually well grounded in sci-fi.
    I like Frank Herbert also. Because Herbert's level of detail "a la Tolkien or Austin Wright" is hard for some people to get through, but the continuity of the story through generations and across planets is just so cool.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    I have several. The first is Robert Heinlein. He had an amazing ability to put a story across and make it real. Even though he wrote science fiction his stuff could almost be considered literature.

    Next would be Kurt Vonnegut. He wrote three conventional novels and then developed his own eclectic style. But he always remained the consummate storyteller. He also taught creative writing back in the 70s. His advice to aspiring writers wanting to create compelling stories was simple. Invent a character and make him want something. Then just turn him loose and watch what develops.

    There's a close parallel to copywriting there. To sell with stories a copywriter needs to create a character with a problem that he wants to solve. Have him stumble around without relief until he finds your product.

    Elmore Leonard is great for crime stories. Stephen King is also a great storyteller though I don't care much for horror. I like Patterson as well. There are so many.
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  • Profile picture of the author GaryJBloomer
    Best story tellers on my book shelf? John Le Carré, H.F. Saint, and Pete Hamill.

    Top 10 contributor to the Know-How Exchange of MarketingProfs.com (a site with 360,000 registered users), and an award-winning graphic designer and copywriter. Read my modest blog and you'll find I'm a direct response marketing advocate, and all round nice guy. Got a question about marketing or graphic design? Ask and I'll do as much as I can to help you. Follow me on Twitter. Or connect with me on Facebook.

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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      I'm a sucker for anything in the fiction racks at airport concessions. Those are the real bestsellers. If an author has the chops to get published and get into THAT rackspace, I am fair game to them. And I will enjoy learning from. - Rick Duris
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    Hunter S. Thompson was my favorite writer -- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a classic book.

    And even though most of his stuff was rather zany, he had a strong tendency to explain how and why things worked the way they did. In other words, he included a lot of "reason-why" copy.

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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
    Cliche or not, "Harry Potter" truly can capture and hold your imagination. It's the kind of writing that transports you, makes you forget where you are and makes you long to go back.

    Other others I like like this? (two more, so I'm breaking the rule) Robert Jordan "The Wheel of Time" series. And the wonderful Alastair Reynolds.

    Robert Jordan? Epic fantasy. Alastair? Dark sci-fi, noir-ish (is that a word?) that really takes you places. That guy knows how to set a scene. (And it can be creepy, but good creepy.)
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    • Profile picture of the author pup
      One of my favorite authors is an author I would never have given the time of day had a friend not insisted on buying me her first book (of a series). She described the book to me in such a way that I thought it sounded ridiculous (time traveling/historical romance). So my birthday came up and she bought me the book anyway. I kept the book for 3 months before reading the first page and I'm here to tell you that I did not put the book down until I finished it at 4:00am the next morning and preceded by buying the rest of the books in her series. Since then I've read the series at least twice. The author: Diana Gabaldon, the Series: The Outlander Series.

      After reading Diana's series of 7 or 8 books (I don't remember right now) I then found another author of the same style (Historical romance) called Sara Donati and read her Wilderness Series at least twice as well.

      I don't normally read books more then once, I think the only time before these two authors was Stephen King's The Stand which has always been one of my favorite tales.

      I loved Summer Sisters by Judy Blume and many books by Maeve Binchy, I could never pick of favorite of Maeve's because all her books help me escape so brilliantly and make me wish I lived in Ireland.

      There are many more authors that I love out there but these are the first ones that came to mind.

      Originally Posted by Nathan Alexander View Post

      Cliche or not, "Harry Potter" truly can capture and hold your imagination. It's the kind of writing that transports you, makes you forget where you are and makes you long to go back.
      I couldn't agree more...
      A Goal Without a Plan Is Just a Wish
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      • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
        Writing a multi-page letter? Pick up a Dan Brown book and learn a little something from his masterful use of end-of-chapter teases.
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        • Profile picture of the author David Merriman
          Originally Posted by Ross Bowring View Post

          Writing a multi-page letter? Pick up a Dan Brown book and learn a little something from his masterful use of end-of-chapter teases.
          I agree!

          I'm a HUGE literature snob (was an english major in college) but I respect The Da Vinci Code's ability to pull you from chapter to chapter...

          My favorite novelist is NOT applicable to IM, but still worth reading!

          It is ... drum roll please ...

          Milan Kundera

          Be unique.

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  • Profile picture of the author Tom Vo
    Robert Jordan was great, even though I just read the first three books ages ago. Thanks for the reminder to get back to these books.
    To be honest, I actually found Terry Goodkind's "The Sword of Truth" more enjoyable (even though I never finished this series either).

    Anybody into Haruki Murakami here? I've just finished reading "Kafka on the shore" this week. Best book I've read in a long time - I'm not sure if Kafka is his best book, but it's definitely the most addictive. One of my goals for 2010 is to read every single book by Haruki Murakami.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jag82
    As a kid, I was fascinated with stories
    from Roald Dahl.

    He knows how to paint beautiful pictures
    and suck you into his fantasy world...
    bringing you on his emotional roller coaster.

    Roald Dahl knows how to elicit vivid imagination
    from the readers. I absolutely adore his books.

    Titles I love are:
    - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    - Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
    - The BFG

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    • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
      Science fiction fans will have their minds blown by
      Gene Wolfe - regarded
      by some as the greatest living writer working in
      the English language. Not light reading, but riveting
      for skillful readers.

      I've read a lot of John Irving but I've kind of grown
      weary of his themes. He's a first-class writer though,
      on every level.

      I don't go gaga over any writer consistently because
      there are so many fine ones around and I thrive on
      stylistic diversity.

      I recently re-read Michael Chabon's Pulitizer-winnig
      "The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" - I seldom read
      novels twice but this one was worth it... and I'm
      not even a comic-book fan.

      When I was a kid I loved Robert E. Howard's lurid
      dark fantasies. The guy really knew how to paint
      sumptuous, haunting pictures with words. A lot
      of people mention Lovecraft along with Howard, but
      I never got into him.

      I read "The Shipping News" by Annie Proulx recently -
      phenomenally well written, and lyrical - poetic.
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