Author: J Jonathan Gabay
ISBN: 0-7506 6402 9
The following review was contributed by: Helen Kaut: To read more of Helen Kaut’s Reviews Click HERE
Many freelance journalists want to boost their income with copywriting. Whether it is an advert, a speech, direct mail, a brochure, a press release or a website – the possibilities of commercial copywriting are endless. But how do you write professional copy which sells? This is where Gabay’s Copywriters’ Compendium comes to the writer’s rescue. Author Jonathan Gabay is one of Europe’s leading independent copywriters and creative strategists and has packed his whole professional wisdom and knowledge into this heavy book.
The compendium is divided into 22 chapters covering subjects such as how to write a creative brief, grammar and spelling, marketing speak, the effective use of idioms and clichés, metaphors and similes, slogans and quotes.
Every chapter is divided into a brief overview of the topic and then goes into more detail. For example the chapter on briefing explains the different types of creative briefs: from the full letter to the website copy brief. At the end of each chapter the author challenges the reader with writing exercises. Footnotes with useful and often amusing facts, quotes and words run through the whole book.
As it is a compendium by nature, most chapters have lists of words which the copywriter can refer to when stuck. For example in chapter eight titled ”Idioms make the heart grow fonder” Gabay has compiled his favorite idioms under subject headings like “devil” e.g. Be a devil. The chapter “Do you speak marketese?” lists the most common marketing expressions and their meaning and chapter five, which is devoted to spelling, lists words most commonly spelled incorrectly and the main differences between British and American English, which is useful for writers working for British and American or Canadian clients.
The “Today’s the day” chapter covers notable dates in history which can be useful to spice up your copy. The final chapter “Top tips” answers the most common questions regarding copywriting: from how to write successful direct mail copy to press releases and radio ads.
This book is a well of information and best used as a reference next to your thesaurus and dictionary. You might also want to tackle the exercises after each chapter and mail your answers to Gabay. However I stumbled over one factual error Eric Idle might be (or might not be) amused about as he is being referred to as “the late Eric Idle” in the chapter on slogans. Eric Idle is still very much alive.