Library books

March 16, 2015 at 9:01 am | Posted in copywriting | 2 Comments
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Imagine Day. Paul Hassing's book of surreal short stories.

Write once. Use many times.

Having edited a client’s book for much of last year, I was delighted when he sent me a box of ten shiny copies to give to prospects and friends.

By chance, my own book (pictured) had come out just a few days before.

Once I got over the warm fuzzy of seeing my name and website in my client’s acknowledgements, I thought about how to leverage his content.

And so I wrote:

‘Hi there!

Having just had my own book published, I was wondering if you or your publisher has sent copies of your new book to:

It’s not just a legal thing, your title goes onto the databases and becomes globally searchable.

This increases exposure and is very good for your personal brand.

My searches of these databases did not yield anything written by you.

So I wanted to make sure you get onto this if you haven’t already.

Kind regards,


My client was very grateful.

And, as usual, I got a kick out of offering some free value-add service beyond the project itself.

I can’t wait to see what our respective publications do for us this year.


PS. Here’s the National Library of Australia entry for my dad’s autobiography. And here he is in the State Library of Victoria.

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

How to write a foreword

November 12, 2012 at 8:05 am | Posted in copywriting | 2 Comments
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My dad didn’t need a foreword for his book. Because he always has the LAST word!

A client recently sent me this request:

‘A friend has asked me to write the foreword of her book. Can you give me any wise words of advice as to how I should approach this?’

Having never written a foreword, I had to think about this.

As I thought, I jotted down what I considered a logical sequence of points:

  1. Read book.
  2. If it’s crap, decline. (You mustn’t damage your brand by endorsing poor work.)
  3. If it’s good, accept.
  4. Ask friend how many words she needs from you.
  5. Ask if there are any points she’d like you to touch on.
  6. (Re?)read the forewords of your 5 favourite books of all time to see how they’re done.
  7. Write first draft.
  8. Seek friend’s feedback.
  9. Edit if necessary.
  10. Ensure friend is 100% happy.
  11. Ensure you see final version before it goes live.
  12. Ensure you have a link to your site for instant karma.

My client said she found this very helpful.

This exercise illustrates two important points:

  1. You don’t always need to hire an expert. Critical thinking, common sense and a bit of research can get you quite far these days.
  2. That said, the fact I could pull this list together in under five minutes shows how experience gained in other areas of writing can serve a professional copywriter well.

Have you ever written, been asked to write or commissioned a foreword?

If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If not, I’d also love to hear your thoughts – especially as to whether you feel my methodology is legit.


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