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.


Lorelei said...

Um, thanks...There may be one or two others here such as Meg Rosoff and Jonathan Drapes, Fay Weldon, Rushdie... we blogged about some of the others here, after having compiled a geekishly long list of other copywriting novelists in the past:

He's not british, but Josh Ferris' 'Then we came to the end' is well worth a read also, even if it is a bit bleak.

Scamp said...

Ah, I mean only CURRENT creatives. I will go back to the original post and make that clearer.

Ben Kay said...

I've read E Squared and it's very funny.

Anyone read the David Abbott book?

I've heard mixed reports.

And big congrats, S. If only there were an occasion in the near future where I could buy you a congratulatory ale...

boot1947 said...

Dorothy Sayers?

Scamp said...

I will have to change title of post to make clear I'm only counting current creatives. After all, without that bit of trickery, there's no way my book would make the chart.

Stew said...

Got the book, looking forward to it. Unread as of yet, It's still in it's Amazon packaging. What do you care though, you have me cash. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

e2 was disappointing.

JayneM said...

best book on advertising i ever read was..

Dry by Augusten Burroughs (don't know if you're counting American's tho :)

Holly said...

Can I have a free copy of the book, seeing as I pointed out the typo on the cover?

(I assume tip number 1 in your book is "learn how to blag"!)

A Lesbian Sold You That said...

Best of luck with the book.
I agree with JayneM, I think Augusten Burroughs is hilarious... yet tragic.

This is a link

Captain Yellowbelly said...

Here's another for your list.

Captain Yellowbelly by Preston Rutt.

Current ranking 766.

Lubomir said...

James P. Othmer - the author of "Adland: Searching for the Meaning of Life on a Branded Planet" and "The Futurist "... I read only the first one. I didn't know that David Abbott has a book... must check that

john p woods said...

Hi Scamp
Big luck to your book. I thought Steve Harrison had retired? (imho It's a great book btw).

john p woods said...

Sorry Scamp me again.
Just a quick one before I take my medication. My ex boss (he's at chi) wrote this
Funny in parts. I'll lend you my copy if you want?

Sumi Mathai said...

congratulations on your book! may that too make into the list:)

love your posts. bit late to reach here though.

Unknown said...

One more for the list: The Dating Detox, by the very lovely and talented Gemma Burgess.

Janson Choo said...

hey simon, saw your book at a bookshop in SINGAPORE. wow.
That was about 2 weeks ago though. bootleg copy?

Scamp said...

Hi Janson. I would guess it was a legit copy - the book reached Singapore a little earlier than it reached Europe and the US, because it was printed in China. How many did you buy?

Ben Kay said...

Kes Grey illustrates quite a successful series of children's books. Do they count?

Scamp said...

Crikey, I forgot about Kes. Crossed over briefly with him at Saatchi's. Lovely bloke.

Having just looked him up on Amazon, it seems like he's written about 20 children's books, all of them huge sellers. So it's game over for the chart basically, unless I just make it a personal Kes Gray chart.

john p woods said...

Sorry does The Barnsley Whale not count in your book then?

Minu said...

Here's another for your list.
Captain Yellowbelly by Preston Rutt.
Current ranking 766. Thanks for the list. Best wishes and luck with the book!

Nick Schon said...

I'm not a copyrighter who writes, but an art director who draws. According to Amazon just now, I've done 568 titles, which is more than I thought. I do know though that they are in 80% of UK schools, 134 countries and have just been translated into Mongolian.

Scamp said...

Great stuff, Nick! Maybe I should do a separate post on former art directors who have gone on to be successful as artists and illustrators. I believe Andy Warhol formerly did advertising work, for example?