Here is another of the reviews from Reading 4 Writers, my old blog for reviewing writing-related books. It's an older post, dating back to May 2006, the early days of the blog, but it's still a pertinent review for copywriters. Enjoy!
The Online Copywriter's Handbook by Robert W. Bly seems to be pretty well-known, as I know I've heard the author's name bandied about in other copywriting books.
It's quite obvious why I've heard Bly's name before. His book is fantastic. He presents a very thorough how-to, which appeals to entrepreneurs and beginning copywriters alike. His writing is so engaging that it's easy to see he must be a very successful copywriter - although I normally skim major chunks of these books, I found myself slowing down and reading this one in detail.
In chapter one of the book, Bly talks about the factors that have molded the nature of the Internet and the habits of its users. To quote Bly: "According to Dan Poynter, author of The Self-Publishing Manual, 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year. He also notes that 70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years, and 58 percent of the adult population never reads another book after high school."
Those statistics are positively staggering. Can you imagine never reading another book after graduation? Ever? In your entire life?
With hooks like this, Bly's book really draws you in, makes you understand the audience that online materials must be written for. After reading that first chapter and all its shocking revelations, I was committed: there was no way I wasn't going to finish that book.
The rest of the book is quite useful, too. Bly walks you through webpage creation, banner and newsletter ads, direct mail, and ezine publishing. The book is written so that readers with absolutely no knowledge of copywriting will be able to follow it, yet I - with my whole year-and-a-half's worth of experience - didn't feel talked down to or offended.
Most of the writing books I've read and reviewed, I would recommend checking out from the library before making the decision to buy. The Online Copywriter's Handbook, however, is different - I firmly believe that this is a book every writer needs in their library.