12 reasons why copywriting skills are useful when writing a novel
I am a copywriter. And I am an author. It’s on Wikipedia, so it’s true. Recently a new work of mine was published (The Girl From Back Then, for now only as an e-book). A good reason to discuss how copywriting skills will benefit you if you want to write fiction.
The Girl From Back Then is not a full-size novel, but still. It is a novella in the thriller genre of about 35,000 words. This means that an experienced reader can finish the story in 2 hours. That was exactly my intention when writing this story.
1. Focus on the common thread
Brings me to the first point: the common thread. I’ve limited the story to one storyline with little frills.
What is the message you want to tell? How can you keep it as short (but interesting) as possible? As a copywriter, it is vital to keep the customer focused. And that is some knowledge that the novelist can put to good use!
2. Make it easy to read
People read for pleasure. And more and more often when they are on the road or simply bored. Then you better make sure that what they read isn’t too difficult. I’ve kept my latest work as easy to read as possible. Short sentences, simple words.
I received nice compliments from some proofreaders:
Hendriks has a pleasant writing style that is easy to read.
A nice smooth writing style in combination with some functional horrors and a smart plot.
The book is very easy to read, the author uses simple language and short sentences.
3. Learn to use emotion
We humans are emotional beings. Copywriters use emotion to convert readers into customers. Fiction writers use emotion to take their readers into the adventures of the characters.
4. Create a distinct style
As a copywriter, you are a ghostwriter for brands. It is your job to give them their unique voice. Or to build on the tone and style that the brand already has.
As a writer, you also have to ensure your own voice. Do not copy others, but look for a style that suits you. Then you eventually attract your fans.
5. Create images with the right words
A good copywriter only uses a few well-chosen ones to create a vivid image. A good writer is no different. Don’t be a lazy writer, choose your words carefully.
6. Give them what they want
Thriller readers want to be ‘thrilled’. Readers of romantic stories want to be taken into the romance. And readers of literary novels want to be seduced with beautiful language. Meet the wishes of your readers/customers. Give them what they want.
7. They judge a book by its cover
Of course, that starts with a good cover image and a good title. The cover should appeal to the reader (the thriller reader in the case of a thriller). And the title should intrigue. Just like that, the headline or heading the copywriter uses should encourage reading.
8. Make them crave more
As a copywriter, you seduce your audience. They have to want more after reading your copy. Click on that button, subscribe to that newsletter, request a quote, order something.
Writers also leave their readers wanting more. More stories, more words, more entertainment. This is how they build their oeuvre and their brand.
9. Do your research
What you write should feel realistic and believable, even if you’re writing about a dystopian future full of murderous robots. To achieve a realistic and believable style, you need to do your research.
That doesn’t mean you have to write a Wikipedia-style story (research belongs “as far in the background and the back story as you can get it”, as Stephen King says).
But it does mean that you have to know as much about the subject that you are comfortable with it. Doing research is essential for copywriters and writers alike.
10. Don’t wait for inspiration
Writing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. This is no different from copywriting. You can’t sit and wait for inspiration. You need to get started.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to get yourself started. For me, writing blog articles like this always works well to get into the writing flow!
11. Offer your customers value for money
My novella costs only $ 0.99 in the English translation.
I recommend it as a hard-hitting thriller for the price of a cup of coffee. That sounds — certainly to the thriller reader — like a good deal, doesn’t it?
As a copywriter, your job is to make the value of the products and services you promote seem as high as possible. Relative to the price, your product or service has to be great.
12. Even a writer has to sell his work
You are nowhere without readers. Not as a copywriter, not as a writer. So now for the call-to-action, one of the most important lessons about copywriting you can absorb.
Order my novella The Girl From Back Then now (not an affiliate link), read it and let me know what you think. A review is more than welcome!
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This is a translation from the original article on my blog about copywriting.