“One in four adults read no books last year.” USA Today
Quick post here, cuz I’m heading off to the great Northwest for a short vacation.
I’m taking a book, too. Godammit.
A brand spanking new one. Because I finished the other one I was reading.
Fiction, if you must know. A very modern “noire” type mystery, loaded (I hope) with sex, violence, and page-turning “brain junk”.
It’s a new author who, I’m also hoping, will engage me with his writing.
There’s nothing better than discovering a writer who knows how to get deep inside your head, so your day is planned around time to get back to the book for another dose in the world he’s created.
Wait, I take that back. It’s even better if he’s been a prolific little dude, and there are more books lined up behind that one waiting for you.
But I’m not holding my breath.
I have been left at the alter, so to speak, far too many times by books with good cover blurbs (“The most riveting, ball-busting adventure I’ve read in decades!”) and no juice inside.
Fortunately, long ago I gave myself total permission to slam any book shut the moment it bores me, or offends me with stupid plot devices, or just plain shows evidence of sucking…
… and I toss it across the room, trying to hit the trash can on two bounces off the corner walls. Bam, bam, plunk.
And yet, I’d much rather discover something good to read again.
Copywriters are famous for loving writers like John D. MacDonald, who wrote something like 35 Travis McGee detective novels. Or Ian Fleming, with his dozen or so James Bond adventures.
But really good writers are hard to find.
The bookstore is crammed to the rafters with BAD writers (in case you hadn’t noticed).
Sometimes, for example, I get a hankering for some science fiction — a niche that sustained me during a gruesome adolescence — and I’ll cruise the SF aisles randomly opening books and reading half a page.
Sci-fi novles are almost universally horrible these days.
I long for the next Assimov or Bradbury. But I’m not holding my breath for that, either.
There’s a marketing lesson here.
Do this little experiment: Grab four books from the bookstore. (And yes, I’m asking you to drive to an actual bookstore, get out and walk around. It won’t kill you… and it will force you to realize the vast tree-killing industry out there trying to steal eye-time away from your marketing efforts.)
Get two fiction books, and two business books. Doesn’t matter what the subject matter is — so choose something that rings your chimes. Sexy murder mysteries, Idiot’s Guide to the Web, classic literature, one of those tomes by Joe Sugarman you’ve been promising yourself you’d read someday.
Drink your cappucino, drive home, and secure a spot somewhere you won’t be disturbed for half an hour or so.
Now, plow into the books. Read all the cover blurbs, the forwards, the table of contents, and the first chapter.
That’s it. Just the first chapter.
Toss it aside, pick up the next book and do the same. And so on, through your little pile.
What you will have, after this short experiment, is a very stark example of four different kinds of writing. By four different authors.
Now ask yourself — do you want to continue reading any of these books?
What you’re looking for is being grabbed by the writer.
My guess is that, after randomly grabbing four books that were professionally published, one-in-four will not suck.
That fourth book may, in fact, rock out.
At least for you.
Repeat this experiment as needed until the lesson becomes obvious. (You can use the library instead of the bookstore, if you don’t want to blow the dough… or you hate cappucinos…)
Some writers know how to grab your attention, quickly and definitively.
Sometimes, they know what they’re doing. They craft their writing to lure you in, and hold you there. These are the experts.
Other times, the writer is unskilled, and merely “transfering” their own passion to you through the written page. Maybe an editor was in evidence, cleaning up the tangents and bullshit.
More likely… the writer just got in touch with communicating what he needed to say… and did it. Just slammed it out, and hit paydirt.
He may never be able to summon that kind of lucky groove again.
Online, with most websites and all blogs currently relying on the written word to convey most of the message, getting read is your Number One Priority.
Even is you’re swinging into using video more and more (and I love video)… you still must rely on the same writing skills to grab and hold attention through the script.
Trust me on this experiment: You need to do it yourself.
No matter how little you read normally.
Hell, especially if you’re a reading slouch.
It’s tough to become a top marketer while languishing among the 25% who never read… or the 50% who seldom read (half the country reads a single book in a year… and it’s usually a shitty book).
It’s all about mind expansion.
Reading will do things to your brain that TV, radio, sports, video games and every other media availabe can’t begin to touch.
Reading is like steroids for your brain. Seriously. (Heavy readers don’t often suffer dementia later in life.)
And, as a marketer trying to woo the masses…
… it really pays to be that guy who is well-read, informed, hip and comfy in the larger culture.
You have more to say. You say it better.
And you get read.
You do not have to be a “great” writer to be a successful marketer.
In fact, like me, your grammar can blow chunks. And you may use too much slang, and violate lots of other “rules” of formal writing.
It’s all about communication.
About grabbing your reader, and dragging them into your world, where they will become so engaged and enthralled… that they stay, and absorb, and bond, and buy.
Something to consider, as the competition heats up in every online market out there.
P.S. What are you reading now?
Anything good? I’m always horny for new leads on good readin’…
P.P.S. Oh, yeah…
The flagship site, www.marketingrebel.com, has changed. The brand spankin’ new, updated for today’s hip online marketer version of “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel” is now available.
P.P.P.S. And one more thing…
We’ve put together a KILLER webinar on how to get emails delivered and read, which is going to be available soon in audio/visual format.
Even fabulously successful marketers botch their email campaigns, you know. Their carefully-crafted messages too often end up in junk folders, labeled as spam.
And even when their emails do get through, the feeble writing gets them tossed quickly by busy, impatient readers.
We can change all that. It’s the subject of the webinar.
However… right now, to get advance notice of how to get your hands on this webinar, you need to sign onto the blog here (if you haven’t previously).
We’re only letting folks on our house lists in on this opportunity.
And it’s coming up fast. To get more info, just sign in here with your name and email address.
We’re sending out advance notice in a day or two…
"11 Really Stupid Blunders You're Making With Your Biz & Career Right Now."
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