Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Copywriters Who Write (Not counting the dead or retired)

My book is published today. Woop!

Some authors might celebrate with a glass of sherry, but not me.

I'm making a chart. I have a fondness for lists and rankings, so I am treating myself by doing a chart of the UK’s most popular books written by advertising creatives (currently active creatives only, not retired or dead ones), as measured by their sales ranking on Amazon.

Here it is.

 Top 20 Books By UK Advertising CreativesRanking
1 E, by Matt Beaumont 3,030
2Creative Mischief, by Dave Trott3,761
3 How To Do Better Creative Work, by Steve Harrison6,207
4E Squared, by Matt Beaumont6,733
5How To Make It As An Advertising Creative, by Simon Veksner13,204
6 Small World, by Matt Beaumont14,794
7Staying Alive, by Matt Beaumont33,572
8 Where There’s A Will, by Matt Beaumont 94,854
9 Father Frank, by Paul Burke138,178
10 The Man Who Fell In Love With His Wife, by Paul Burke 216,822
11The Poison Tree, by Tony Strong 230,558
12 One-Track Mind, by Tony Davidson240,022
13The Book, The Film, The T-Shirt, by Matt Beaumont244,906
14The Life Of Reilly, by Paul Burke 249,844
15 How To Write Great Copy, by Dominic Gettins253,218
16The Decoy, by Tony Strong313,338
17 Step On It, Cupid, by Lorelei Mathias 345,717
18 Lost For Words, by Lorelei Mathias355,465
19Untorn Tickets, by Paul Burke397,084
20 Instinct, by Ben Kay480,914

Obviously, this chart is completely ridiculous.

For one thing, I’m mixing fiction and non-fiction.

And for another thing, the Amazon sales data is all over the place like a mad woman’s piss. It varies wildly depending on what time of day you check it.

But what the hell. It’s just for fun.

Examining the chart, we see that Britain’s two most successful authors - at least, in the select category of authors who are also current advertising creatives - are Matt Beaumont and Paul Burke.

Matt Beaumont, who I believe is a creative director at M&C Saatchi’s luxury goods division, has an incredible six titles on the chart. What a fast typist he must be. I have read ‘e’ and it is pretty hilarious. I haven’t read any of the others, but E Squared is on my shopping list, and I will get round to it when I have cleared my current backlog of unread books.

Paul Burke is probably the UK’s pre-eminent radio advertising creative, a lovely bloke, and former colleague of mine at DDB London. I have read Father Frank and The Man Who Fell In Love With His Wife, and thoroughly enjoyed them.

The next most prominent writers, with two entries each, are Tony Strong and Lorelei Mathias. Tony Strong works at AMV (I think). I once heard that he does a 4-day week there, in order to give himself some time to write. Good on him. He writes thrillers. I haven’t read any, because books about people being murdered are not my cup of tea. But he’s had four published, so respect is due to the man.

Lorelei Mathias has also been (briefly) a colleague of mine at BBH. She now works at Glue. Her books have chick-lit style covers, but knowing Lorelei a little, as I do, I am sure they are highly superior examples of the genre.

Other notables on the chart – great to see Dave Trott in there at No.2. Fabulous stuff from the east London ad guru.

Another ECD to make the chart is W&K's Tony Davidson, whose 'One-Track Mind' photography collection is described by comedian Jenny Eclair as "a lovely book of boob-like things." All profits go to charity. So that's good.

And I expect my friend Ben Kay’s book to shoot up to No.1 on this list, maybe even to No.1 on the real bestsellers list, when it is actually published. Penguin have high hopes for Ben’s book, and will no doubt crush London under the wheels of their marketing juggernaut.

UK means UK-based. Advertising creative means current advertising creative, not retired ones like David Abbott, Indra Sinha, Salman Rushdie etc.

If I've missed anyone out who should be here, please tell me and I'll put them in.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Three Days To Publication Date

And my publishers, Laurence King, have unleashed a Facebook marketing campaign. See it here.

Also, if you're the kind of ponce who - like me - enjoys books about art, design, architecture, graphic design, street art, and trainers, then you might be interested in becoming a 'fan' of Laurence King (same link), in order to get information about their books, and discounts and whatnot.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Commander Denton To The Rescue

Announcing some progress on plans to promote my book.

I have lunched the legendary Mark Denton - view his showreel here - and he has agreed to shoot a viral film for me, in return for me helping him with some ads he needs writing, and because he likes the idea.

The idea is: what kind of ad does a creative make when, rather than promoting someone else's product, he is selling his own?

I guess the inspiration was me thinking back to times when I have argued not to put a phone number on a car ad. Though when I was selling my own car, of course I put the phone number in the ad... and a massive pack-shot...

We are working on the script at the moment, but nothing has been locked-down yet, so you are very welcome to contribute.

Do you think the idea could work? Would YOU answer a brief differently, if it was your own product you were advertising?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Bookseller

Apparently most authors dread the marketing process.

Not me. As an advertising guy, I'm thinking it will be a fun challenge for me to sell my own product for a change, as opposed to other people's.

So how do you promote a book? Obviously, good reviews are the best tool. So I'm getting copies sent out to all the trade mags and ad blogs, and begging them to say nice things.

In terms of above-the-line advertising, the book world seems unsophisticated. Media appears to consist almost solely of adverts on the underground (because people read books there?) and creative is normally limited to just a picture of the book, with perhaps a short quote alongside it (e.g. "An utter delight" - Stephen Fry).

No doubt because of budgetary constraints, you very rarely see an advert for a book on TV. And when you do, they are piss-poor. This is an ad for a new book by James Patterson. It's from New Zealand. There's actually an even worse one for the same book on British telly at the moment, where two women talk in a horribly stilted manner about how hooked they are on Patterson. But, mercifully perhaps, I couldn't find it.

Why do they always say "The new bestseller from XYZ" do they know it's a bestseller if it has only just been published?

Anyway, here is my media and strategic thinking. Very happy to get feedback on it:

I reckon that most buyers of my book will be students, young creatives, and experienced creatives who are still interested in reading stuff about advertising. And the best way to reach this target? I think it's the ad blogs.

Now, I'm already asking the ad blogs to mention that my book is coming out. Hopefully they will. But I'm thinking that if I can provide them with a fun piece of content around it - a witty ad, let's say - they'll be more likely to feature the book, and it will get more attention.

I don't think it makes much difference whether the ad is a piece of film, a poster, an ambient idea or a stunt. The key thing is that it's good enough that the ad bloggers will want to cover it.

So... that's my plan. Unless a succession of commenters tell me it's rubbish.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hello Again

How's things?

I hope all's good. Me, I am pretty well.

In fact I'm rather excited - my book is coming out!

They've made David Droga's name more prominent than mine on the cover, which is an absolute scandal, but other than that, I do like the design.

The book is launching on May 25th, but is available for pre-order now at your local Amazon.

It is published by Laurence King, who publish various creative and arty books. Have a look at their website. There's some nice stuff there.

Quite a few blogs are becoming books nowadays, such as Stuff White People Like and E-mails From An Asshole, and like those other guys, I've shamefully neglected my blog once I got the book deal. In my defence, let me explain the difficulty. The publisher doesn't want the entire book to consist of material that's already available for free on the internet. And I just don't have enough interesting things to say to fill both a blog and a book. (I'd guess it's netted-out that the book is around 75% new content).

There are of course already lots of books about advertising out there, but the 'angle' of my one is that there is nothing in it about what makes a good ad, or how to write good ads. Instead, it's all about what you need to know to be a successful creative, above and beyond being good at writing ads. So it's not about craft, it's about guile. It's about how to get the best out of directors, how to find the right partner, and how to sell more of your ideas to your CD.

I really had a lot of fun writing it. In addition to my possibly dubious advice for young creatives, there are also interviews with proper people like Trevor Beattie, Jeremy Craigen, Paul Silburn, Flo Heiss, Jeff Benjamin (interactive ECD at Crispin Porter), Amir Kassaei (chief creative officer of DDB Germany) and Aussie creative entrepreneur Siimon Reynolds, as well as the foreword by David Droga.

If you'll forgive me, I'm not going to start Scamp up again like before, but I will use this space to talk about the book, and the marketing of the book.

Because of course, there will have to be an ad campaign...

More later.