The World of Copywriting

Copywriting is a big thing these days. Every company has a list of in house or freelance copywriters churning out content for them day after day. So, what is copywriting? You ask. Well you don’t ask, but it helps me move on with my general point.

Copywriting is the art of bullshitting your way though 300+ words when 4 would do and no one’s really that interested anyway.

Having always thought I would become either a kick arse rock star, an acclaimed actor or world-renowned author, I didn’t really bother honing any skills, or developing any knowledge base that would help me in my day to day life.  This is a fact that has backfired on me somewhat. In terms of rock starryness, I was in a band that won Hertfordshire under 18s battle of the bands when I was 16. We won £300 and got to headline an outdoor festival in the middle of Letchworth Garden City one frosty day to a crowd of 9, one of which was an old man that told us to quieten down. In terms of acting, I have appeared in the Oscar winning picture The Theory of Everything, using my chameleon like acting skills to successfully portray a 60s student, a 70s student and some bloke in a tuxedo. Redmayne did not mention me in his speech. The bastard.

All hopes rested on my authoriness and to that end I have worked hard to refine my use of the written word, coming up with words such as ‘starryness’ and ‘authoriness’. I wasted 3 years studying for a degree in English Literature, by which I mean I turned up on the exam days. After completing 3 young adult fantasy novels before being told by a literary agent that pretty much no agent can be bothered to look at young adult fantasy and, if they do, it rarely makes any money, I poured my heart and soul (and one lightly beaten egg) into a piece of literary fiction. After three drafts I sent it to various agents to be told that ‘whilst it has merit, dear god no, never contact us again.’

So, after splitting all my eggs into three ridiculous and improbable baskets only to leave all three of them on a train somewhere, I realised I had no employable skills.

Or so I thought.

I managed to get work as a copywriter/content editor, despite my loose canon approach to grammar. I like to think of myself as a punk writer, deliberately ignoring all literary rules.

From the editorial side, I trawl through content created by hundreds of self-employed freelancers who have no business writing anything, let alone making a career out of it. I spend my time redoing other people’s work for minimum wage whilst they earn far more than I.

Every website, every catalogue, every piece of marketing material produced had a copywriter generate the text for them. Which means, thousands of people are in employment despite their clear lack of any skills whatsoever. Which is either good news or bad news for me, depending on your outlook.

Good news, because I can pay rent (just about), bad because it’s all so very dull and pointless and dull. The writing skills I have honed over the years can be utilised in exchange for money. Alas, they’ll be used to talk about the virtues of a vegetable peeler.

I spent a fortnight writing descriptions of various cars for a website that sold various cars. Realistically, all that was needed was ‘Here is a Land Rover. You know what it does.’ Instead, I had to write about how spacious they were. I know very little about cars, but I do know that all people care about is that they’re spacious, my working theory being that due to the rocketing house prices, people are taking to living in Land Rovers.

I spent another fortnight editing copy for a renowned UK chain whom I won’t name for legal reasons, but are effectively a store that sold baths. A bath store if you will.

Two days of this editing was devoted entirely to toilet seats. Now call me ignorant, but I don’t feel there’s much that can be said about a toilet seat. The writer in question kept on trying to convince me that ‘this toilet seat is very versatile’ which I had to remove from 30 + pieces of content for fear of being implicated in a case of false advertising. Unless there are toilet seats out there that double as stylish hats or cheese boards, they have a very singular purpose. For all their qualities, versatility is not one of them.

This is a symptom of a terrible marketing disease. Companies are deciding that they need to sell their items, as in really sell them. As opposed to just pretending to sell them, which is a lot more complicated.

Because of this bizarre idea, we are left with websites sporting plastic cups accompanied by an entire paragraph extolling the virtues of said plastic cups. ‘These are more than cups, they are vessels to carry whatever your heart desires. Perfect for mass suicides, they’re available in a host of different colours to match your cult.’

It’s madness. Currently writing pieces for a well-known auctioning site that rhymes with ShleBay, there’s a listing of Celebrity dolls. My original entry was ‘Do you want an old Michael Jackson doll in its original packaging? If so, get a fucking life.’  This was rejected by the client and I was given a verbal warning.

A freelancer describing a listing of picture frames stated ‘no home is complete without pictures of your family.’ Or before I edited ‘No home is complete without pictures of you’re family.’ (£10 a piece she was paid). Anyway, incorrect words aside, this annoyed me because it reaffirmed the fact that I will forever have an incomplete home, due to the fact that I don’t even have a girlfriend with whom to start a family, let alone take pictures of to put in a £2.85 frame.

It’s a picture frame damn it. All that is needed is ‘A frame for your pictures. £2.85, buy it or don’t it’s your choice at the end of the day.’

But we have to really sell it.

So, I will utilise my new found knowledge of copywriting to really sell my self-published shitty comedy short story collection that I published years ago without editing it properly.

Flesh out your virtual bookshelf with The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness, a recently discovered collection of children’s short stories by esteemed and entirely fictional 19th century author Hubert J Watergipridget. These clever and engaging stories, introduced and interpreted by the top man at Cambridge or somewhere (who may or may not also be fictional), will have you on the edge of your seat, so close to the edge that you are guaranteed to fall off at some point, so maybe put some cushions down, or read it lying down.

For as little as 99p or whatever small change it is in your country that uses other nonsensical currencies, you will get the most versatile eBook yet, as this can and will be used as a stylish hat and also has enough curative powers to cure cancer or chronic back pain. It will expand your mind so much, that you will evolve beyond the need for a physical form and will in fact become a lesser god.

Buy it today.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

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The Minute Collection of Absurdity.

Below is an extract from my latest waste of time – I mean work in progress.

 

Hubert J Watergipridget is, without a doubt, the greatest novelist that ever did live. It is said that his texts are so important, that many have cured seemingly incurable diseases. It seems that no genre, subject or medium was beyond his talents. His subtle political satire ‘All Politicians are Cunts’ is still as relevant today as it was when he wrote it some time in the forties.
Little is known about the author’s private life and education, in fact only a scant 5 800 page biographies have been written about him, as well as one ‘speculative biography’ which makes a few guesses as to what he may have been like.
Following the phenomenal success of The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness and the huge sums of money it brought in, researchers have conveniently uncovered another collection of previously unpublished Watergipridget works. These are for a more mature audience and as such, explore more daring issues and controversial topics. The Head of Humanities at Oxford University has gone on to say of the collection that it ‘is very much more of the same’, so we can be rest assured that The Minute Collection of Absurdity will do just as well as its predecessor.

When asked of his success and what advice he’d give others, Watergipridget remarked that “In life, there are those who work hard and with dedication and those who seek the easy path. Both are good options, as it’s all down to luck anyway. There are those with more success than they deserve and those with more failure than they deserve and the simple fact is, whatever choices they made, however talented they were and however hard they worked, none of it made the slightest bit of difference. We are all particles being fired through space, occasionally by sheer chance some of the right particles smash into one another and create something interesting, but more often than not they explode and fuck everything up.”
Watergipridget’s acceptance of the chaotic nature of the universe went beyond explaining the perplexing career advances of the undeserving, going on to become the driving force in everything he did, as well as the excuse for everything he did. He was once charged with drug possession, three counts of soliciting and the assault of a police officer. In answer to these crimes he simply stated “We’re nothing but insects scurrying around in the dust, a slave to electrical impulses in the brain and chemical reactions in the body. I have no more control over my own actions than a worm does whether he gets eaten or not.”
He was later released without charge. However, the policeman in question and a number of his friends did leap out from behind a bush and break his legs. They were let off as a result of using the same defence.
So, the volatile and bleak nature of the universe is often reflected in Watergipridget’s work, which of course, by his own admission, he can’t possibly take credit for because his thoughts are the result of the afore mentioned chemical reactions and electrical discharges.

This collection contains the following.

The Man Who Believed Himself to be an Octopus.  (An earlier draft can be found here https://thefuzzyrambler.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/the-man-who-believed-himself-an-octopus/)
I’m Old and Likely to Die Soon.
Of Mice and Slightly Smaller Mice.
He Who Watched All The Porn
She Who Watched Most of the Porn.
Never Let It Be Said.
And more, if the researchers bother to find any.

The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness can and should be bought here. If you don’t own a kindle, message me and I’ll phone you up at night and read the stories to you.

 

Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness: Sales Report

3 copies this month. 3.

That is the worst number there is. 1 has a brooding loner quality. 2 can be as bad as one, since it’s the loneliest number since the number one, but 3… that’s boring.

Since I have no real marketing going on, I suppose I should be proud of that 3, but I’m not. You people need to hurry up and realise my genius so I can get a proper publishing deal and live a life of luxury. All I want to do is never work again, is that so much to ask?

Look, just go and download my Amazon book. It’s like 99p in the UK and some amount of dollars, euros and other silly money.  It’s less than a coffee, and you all drink excessive amounts of coffee, so you can afford it damn it.

‘Yes, but we enjoy coffee.’ I hear you say, ‘reading your contrived collection of ‘comedic’ short stories isn’t enjoyable.’

In which case I say buy it, and then don’t read it. I don’t care. Give it a terrible rating, let it be known as the worst book ever, then people will buy it out of sheer curiosity. And I’ll get a publishing deal, much like the 50 Shades of Grey woman. It’s the way the world of literature is going. We’re taking the written word away from the pretentious, intellectual elite and revealing it for what it really is, a pointless collection of ultimately meaningless words. Which was the original tagline for the dictionary.

Buy it.

 Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

Dave the Crab and the Giant Called Ned

Here is a children’s poem wot I did.

There once was a crab who lived under a rock.

He had a nice sofa and a grandfather clock.

It was big and proud

And ticked ever so loud

And stood atop an ornate marble block.

The crab was called Dave and he was ever so brave,

For he once fought a giant called Ned.

 

Ned was huge and ugly to see,

And refused to let good people be.

A tattered old cap sat atop his big head

And he needed nine mattresses to make up his bed.

He’d growl and he’d roar and with one rumbling snore,

He could shake the whole Earth to its molten rock core.

He wore no shoes for his feet were too big,

And weighed him down when he did his giant’s jig.

But he wore one large and heavy and ever so smelly

Polyester and cotton blend sock.

It may sound silly, or come as a shock,

But the one thing he feared was a grandfather clock.

 

Ned came thundering along the beach one morn,

Swinging his club and blowing a big brass horn.

And anyone he should chance to meet,

Narrowly avoiding being crushed by his feet,

He’d bend over and shout right in their face:

“Get out of my way, make some space!

Get off my beach right now I say.

This is not a place for children to play.

I shall smash any sand castles on my way to the sea,

And anyone that should try to join me, I shall gobble them

Up – I’ll eat them for my tea!”

 

Now Dave worked nights, so was attempting to sleep.

He’d never been in a fight and this record he wanted to keep,

But a rude man eating giant was something he could not abide,

This brutish bully he would not let slide.

So Dave poked his head out from beneath his rock,

He strolled up to Ned’s tattered and horrible sock

And gave his toes one heck of a pinch.

But the giant did not move not even one inch.

Ned scooped up Dave and looked him in the eye

And said “Silly crab, I will make you cry!”

 

He gave a big laugh and he raised his club,

“any last words before I make you blub?”

 “Yes,” said Dave as of his life he took stock,

“Please take good care of my grandfather clock.”

Ned paused and he spluttered, he stammered and stuttered,

He whimpered and shivered until at last he muttered:

“don’t mention them or I’ll knock of your block.”

Dave said “Just listen, you might hear a tick-tock.”

Ned pricked up his ears and listen he did,

And from under the rocks from where it hid

He could hear those doleful tones of the grandfather clock,

He could hear every tick and every tock.

Dave, well he couldn’t believe his luck,

And like a chicken he began to cluck

“Mr. Giant I don’t mean to mock,

But imagine being scared of an old silly clock.”

 

Ned dropped Dave back onto the sand

And covered one ear with one very big hand,

And said “never again will I come to this land!

Get away Mr. Crab, get back under your rock,

Attend to that terrifying grandfather clock.

One second it ticks and another it tocks

It never ends and it never stops

The tolling of hours, oh that nasty chime,

The constant plodding of unending time!

It makes me shiver, it makes me feel cold,

Reminding me that one day I’ll be old!”

 

And with that Ned left never to return,

All the beach goers need fear now

Is a spot of sunburn.

So, when next on the beach,

Give Dave a thought,

Should there be a giant you need to thwart,

Make sure a grandfather clock is in reach.

 

 

There weren’t that nice? My collection of ridiculous and utterly pointless short stories is currently free to download, so if you don’t you’re a fool.

Everyone Likes Free Stuff

So my publishing experiment recently proffered some sort of results. To fill you in, I decided to write a collection of utterly ridiculous short stories and then publish them on the Kindle with minimal marketing and see how many people actually downloaded it. Funnily enough no one did. Strange really.

I originally wanted to upload it for free, but Amazon didn’t like that and said I had to at the very least charge $0.99 for it. This wasn’t too bad I supposed, as I would get $0.29 for each copy sold, I would only have to sell roughly 21 copies to buy a cup of coffee (maybe 25 if we take the exchange rate into consideration – which I sort of have to, as this morning when I tried to pay for my coffee in rupees they told me on no uncertain terms that I had to leave). I personally feel we ought to return to the bartering system. I have lots of useless junk lying around that I’m sure I could trade for caffeine. Anyway, I’m getting side-tracked.

My collection, entitled “The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness” sold 2 copies in it’s first month, but I’m fairly certain one of them was my Nan, and she didn’t quite get it. Fortunately, my nan isn’t my target audience.

After a period of stagnation I found that for a five day period I could enrol my book in some sort of promotion, which altered the price a little for this limited time.

Within those five days I managed to shift 22 copies! I finally achieved my coffee benchmark, where I could stroll into my coffee chain of choice, demand an overly priced latte and pay for it with my royalties. Or at least I would have been able to, had the promotion not made my book free to download (my original intention, stupid Amazon).

Within this period I picked up a 5 star review. It states as follows:

“A fabulous collection of short stories. Rich in detail, well written and showing a remarkable ability to push a joke to the very edge without feeling a sense of being overused.

The addition of an ‘afterword’ by the perfectly named Henry Pretension offers a perfect satire of those stuffy English Literature professors you will encounter that analyse far too much but say too little.

The stories are varied enough to keep your interest; and they are short enough to read whenever you have a spare moment.

It is well worth the price.”

Considering it was free I can’t help, but feel a little stung by the last line, as that means all my hard work is worth nothing, and I refuse to believe that. As previously stated, I seem to believe it’s worth at least a coffee.

“What is the point of this post?” I hear you ask.

Well, in answer to that… shameless self-advertisement really. Now that the book is no longer free, I at least have a 5 star review, and can say it’s been read by 2 people in Germany, and if they found it amusing, even slightly, then it’s got to be doing something right. Buy it. it’s 99 cents (about 75p?), it’s not going to bankrupt you. even if you hate it what does it matter? It boosts my ego, so you’d have done your good deed for the day.  I know everyone loves free stuff, and if I could I’d give it to you for free (though that’s probably a lie), but come one, quit being stingy. Give me some money. I mean all I want is to start a literary career in which I can eventually earn enough to never work again, drink champagne all day and eventually die in some sort of orgy. Is that so much to ask?

The link will appear several times, do not mistake this for pushy salesmanship, but rather a technical inability to work WordPress.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W