Home > Copywriting, Fiction, MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION! > Why copywriting is a great day job for an aspiring author—No. 1

Why copywriting is a great day job for an aspiring author—No. 1

Learn to deal with criticism

In my day job, if I write a bit of copy and the client comes back with something resembling “I don’t like this, please re-write it this (boring, not nearly as good) way,” I generally do it, because:

a) I have to assume—whether true or not—that the client knows more about his target market than I do, and

b) the client is paying.

So.  When I got a phone call from a potential agent currently sitting on my full manuscript, and she said something along the lines of “I like your manuscript but it’s not ready to go to market.  Could you develop the secondary characters further and cut the length by about 40k words? (How do you both develop characters further AND cut length?  How? How?)  Also, I’m not sure about this (super-awesome, my favourite in the whole entire story) character—perhaps you could cut him out?” I didn’t (quite) have a MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION!!!

Instead, I was able to assume that she:

a) was super-awesome to call and make suggestions instead of sending a form rejection, and

b) knew more about selling books than I did.

So.  I was able to re-write and re-submit.  And when I finally did get a (very helpful with lots of feedback) rejection, and actually did have my subsequent MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION!!!, I at least knew I had done all I could at that point in my writing career.  Plus, I now have an offer to submit future work from an (really lovely, super helpful) agent.

Copywriting would be loads easier if clients always liked what I wrote the first time, but I wouldn’t get much better.  The same is true of creative writing.  Bummer, but true.

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  1. February 21, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m left wondering if you undid the changes upon being rejected by the suggesting agent. Particularly if you never fell in love with them and retained the love of that character…

  2. February 22, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Guilty. Sort of. I compromised. I kept the changes that seemed to work. Also, the final rejection came with more feedback that I utilized for another rewrite.

    My most-interesting-character-in-the-entire-story remains. I couldn’t let him go. Even now, when said manuscript has been shelved and dubbed “practice manuscript.”

    Copywriting helps give me perspective. But it’s not the same.

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