Judy Cullins ©2006 All Rights Reserved.
Sure you can write, but can you write crisp, compelling copy that ezine publishers, related web sites, and book audiences will clamor for?
To sell well, your articles, reports, books, and copywriting need to pass the checklist below:
1.___Make your book or article title or headlines grab your reader by the collar.
If your titles and headlines are ho hum, your prospective audience will leave you instantly. Headlines and titles are far more important than the copy that follows. A clever title is great, but an even better title is clever and clear.
Shorter titles sell better than longer ones, because they are easier to remember. Make each word count because your potential buyer will spend only four-eight seconds on the book front cover. On your Web site sales letters and your Web home page, your headlines must grab your visitors’ emotions and curiosity to lead them to buy.
While some long titles have succeeded, usually the shorter, the better.
2.___Create your opening paragraph of your book chapter, your introduction, or your web copy to entice your reader continue.
It’s not the book, it’s the hook. In fiction, start with the most exciting and important incident first. For fiction and non-fiction, open with dialogue. It’s more present and exciting. It shows rather than tells. In non-fiction open with two or three compelling questions your reader can connect with.
Point out your readers’ challenges through them. Then follow with the thesis, a story and other solutions.
3.___Make each part of your non-fiction book, report, article, or sales letter support the thesis.
For instance, the thesis of this article is “You will sell more books or services when you use these 10 ways to write like a pro.” Once you give each book, each chapter, each article a thesis, you’ll write more compelling, organized, and easy-to-read copy.
4.___Pursue friends and associates to edit your work.
Send them a survey asking for their feedback on small amounts at a time. Always reward them with a free book at the finish, or a free special report you create from your longer pieces. Edit three times before you submit your piece to a professional editor or book coach.
5.___Use strong, emotional or visual, power verbs rather than linking verbs like “is,” “there is,” or “start to or begin.”
These linking verbs create passive, long sentences. They stop movement and slow readers down or bore them. Readers expect straightforward copy, and when they don’t get it, will put your book or other writing down, never to return. Not a good way to receive word of mouth referrals.
Start your sentences with the subject, and then add a power verb. Find these listed in the eBook, “Use Power words to Spice Up Every Page of your Book or Web Site.”
6. ___ Make sure all your verbs are consistent in their tense.
Use present and past tense rather than past perfect or gerunds.
7. ___ Stop loading your copy with telling words like adverbs.
Every time you see a “very” or an -ly ending in your work, rethink. Check with your Thesaurus to see the more compelling possibilities. Think corpulent instead of very fat. One specific word is always better than two mundane ones. When you see “suddenly,” a favorite of most writers, map out a picture, dialogue, or emotion to show sudden movement.
8. ___Corral your writing into concise, compelling sentences.
Know that the standard sentence is 15-17 words; anything longer means difficult level. Today’s business readers want shorter and to-the-point writing. Yes, you want some variety, just remember what your audience wants. Redundancies fill your first draft. Make your first edit hone in on these.
Slash and burn them because they talk down to your audience.
9. ___Make sure your piece is coherent.
Test whether it flows or sounds natural by reading it aloud. When you stumble on a word or phrase, you can bet your reader does too. Once your piece passes this test, you can offer it to others for peer editing.
10.___Make your dialogues believable.
No long speeches, please. Short dialogue reflects real life situations. . Use “said” rather than “screamed,” “pouted.” Show these in your character’s action. “Said” is like a comma, and readers don’t like to be slowed or talked down to.
Attract contacts, sales, clients, and make a difference in others lives using this “write like a pro” checklist.
Judy Cullins ©2006 All Rights Reserved.