Writing for publicity is a hybrid of marketing and writing. Its purpose is to put your marketing message into words that make your audience want what you sell. This means that you need to know what your marketing message is first. Unfortunately many companies that hire copywriters skip this all-important step. I see so many misguided ads seeking a "great copywriter," as if the key to copywriting was possessing an elusive eloquence, the ability to chant some magic words so powerful that simply reading them forces audiences to buy a product. While this mystique might benefit copywriters, the fact is, it doesn't work that way, and if you think the key to hiring a good copywriter is finding a brilliant creative writer, you're searching in the wrong direction. The secret to successful promotional writing is not the ability to sound like a Shakespearean soliloquy (although this doesn't hurt), but the ability to verbalize a solid marketing message. How do you write a solid marketing message? You start by answering some basic marketing questions. Here are four key questions a writer should be able to answer before you starting any type of publicity material. 1. What Are You...

When you write a letter or email to somebody, you always know who you're writing to and why. But you'd be surprised how many people write a book without considering these questions. It's a big reason 10%-35% of books get returned to the publisher unsold and unread. If you want your book to be read, before you write it, you should have clear answers to the questions: Who am I writing to? Why would they want to read what I write instead of doing something else with their time? You can answer both questions at once if you realize that the reason people will read your book is if you're offering something they need. When you factor this in, you can answer both questions at once using this formula: I am writing to people who need X. But how do you find what X is? And where do you find people who need X? Finding Your Audience To answer these questions, it helps to bear in mind how you're going to be promoting your book later. The channels you'll be using to promote your book will determine who will be reading it--who your prospects are. This in turn will determine what those prospects need. Promotion is a separate topic covered in more detail elsewhere on this site and in...

Most writers get into the profession because they enjoy reading fiction and writing creatively, but picking up the additional business skill set needed to write for a living can be challenging. Here are seven tips to help you improve the business side of your writing. Cultivate a Business Writing Mindset If you're going to write for a living, you need to start thinking of writing as a business rather than a hobby or a creative art. Think of yourself as a professional providing a skilled service, not an artist. (You can still be an artist on your own time, but when you're writing for an employer or a client, you're a hired pen.) Approach writing with a sense of urgency in the realization that it's a job tied to your livelihood. Pursue your writing goals with the same discipline you would apply to a regular job. Practice Professional Habits Writing professionally means practicing professional habits. Set a routine writing schedule with time set aside just as it was work on the clock at a regular job. If you're a freelancer, you will also need to schedule a certain amount of time per week to promote yourself. Similarly, if you're looking for a full-time writing job, you can set...