Archive | June, 2010

How do I write an author bio? (via Advice from a Caterpillar)

19 Jun

This article was an eye-opener as I had blindly assumed publishers and readers enjoy first-person account of their writer.
But I was wrong.
The intimacy of first-person is limited to composition, but does not extend to author bio’s.
So now I am scampering off to refashion to your taste, Mr Publisher.

I am ready to submit my children’s book manuscript to a publishing company. The guidelines say submissions should include an author bio. I haven’t had anything published yet so I don’t have a clue how I should go about this. How do I write an author bio? First of all, bravo to you for looking up the publisher’s submission guidelines and following them. Your author bio can be as short as one paragraph included in your cover letter or enclosed on a … Read More

via Advice from a Caterpillar


Sales Letters

15 Jun

As a former client-servicing executive, drafting sales letters to prospective clients was a part of my responsibilities. During this stint, I had picked up a concise treasury of ‘baest rules and guidelines developed in direct marketing by its pioneers and practitioners’.

Authored by Nat G. Bodian, a direct marketing veteran Direct Marketing Rules of Thumb, among other ideas to increase efficiency of direct marketing programs, has a section dedicated on Sales Letters: Approaches, Preparation, Evaluation.

I picked some tried and tested gems which have helped me to improving my marketing communications early in my career:

Composition Formula for Successful Letter

A successful sales letter is easy to read, has short paragraphs, is broken up by underlined words and phrases, and has no complex or hard-to-understand words and phrases.

Giving Letters Personalized Look

As a rule, a sales letter looks more personal if it has a dateline, a salutation, short indented paragraphs, a complimentary close and signature, and a postscript.

Lead-Off Sentence in Sales Letter

As a rule, your sales letter will be more effective if the lead-off sentence is reasonably short and promises a benefit.

Rule for Positioning Offer in a Sales Letter

If you state the offer in the opening paragraph of a sales letter and again in the postscript, you will have gotten your message across even if the reader does not proceed beyond the letter’s opening.

Improving Chances for Getting Letter Read

Your sales letter will have a better chance of getting read if you come to the point quickly. As a rule, never start a letter with an irrelevant story or anecdote no matter how interesting it may be.

Rule for Emphasizing Important Letter Material

“The best way to emphasize important material in a sales letter,” says Harry B. Walsh of Ogilvy & Mather, Inc., “is to paragraph it and indent it on both sides. But don’t overdo indenting or you will lose its effect.” (In Barton Handbook of Advertising Management, 1970)

Letterhead Recognition Value Rule

If your letterhead has little or no recognition value, as a rule, your mailing offer may be more successful if you omit the letterhead from the first page of your sales letter and replace it with a strong benefit-oriented headline. Run the letterhead at the bottom of the letter or at the end of the last page.

Postscript Content Rule

The postscript is one of the most-read parts of a sales letter and, therefore, should always contain an important message – usually the principal benefit of making the purchase.

Postscript Length Rule

A sales letter postscript of three lines or less will be more effective than a longer one.

Best Signature Ink Color for Sales Letters

As a rule, a blue ink signature in a sales letter will produce a better response than one printed in the same black ink as the letter.

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Become a celebrity in 30 days

7 Jun

In the era bygone, publicists were primarily responsible for the success of newly-discovered movie artists and pop stars. After pumping in millions of dollars for promotion, the success most of them had can hardly be described as well-deserved.

But in this age of new media, you neither have to put up the glitz, nor dole out the moolah for a personal manager to help you gain stardom. All you need is to invest an hour of your time each day. These 60 minutes of your time will pave your path to stardom 30 days in the online media circuit. If you think I’m about to dole out some earth-shattering theory, you’ll be surprised to learn that most of you already use these tools. All you need to do now is to make a dedicated effort to direct these tools for a singular goal – to transform you into an online celeb.

Find a Niche – This is the first and most important item on the checklist. You have honed skills, probably dabbled in lots of areas; find an area of expertise you enjoy the most.

Create your spot in the Virtual World – Now that you have identified what your expertise are, go full steam to advertise them. Just the way advertisers promote products, use all your energies to expound on your skills. The easiest way to do this is by using a combination of new media tools viz. FaceBookLinkedInYouTubeMySpaceTwitterWordPress, etc. You may be familiar with most of these online platforms, and may have used them to build your network, but now its time to use these contacts to position you as the most buzzing persona on the web. Let’s explore the plan of action.

The party begins – Put up posts, share links, videos, give advice, start conversations, ask questions, make comments, participate in webinars. You may already be doing all of this during your leisure period of Internet surfing, but now that you have clearly identified yourself as an expert with a niche, your responses, and shared information will be focussed sharply to further building your reputation, and establishing you as the authority in that area.

There are a bagful of people, who’d remain unknown for their work, if it wasn’t for the fame and fortune which shone upon them because of their smartly utilising the online medium. Some of the celebs you may have heard of are: Gary VaynerchukDarren RowseMari Smith and Jason Alba. Besides the fan-following, they are also earning bagfuls of money while the world sits back and reads in awe each time they present their views.

Now that isn’t all that hard for you, is it?

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