Top Ten Write Like a Pro Checklist
Copywriting Applies to Content, Too–Not Just Marketing Materials
Sure you can write, but can you write crisp, compelling copy that
ezine publishers, related Web sites, and book audiences will
To sell well, your articles, reports and books need to pass the checklist
1.___Make your title or headlines grab your reader by the
If your titles and headlines are ho hum, your prospective audience will leave
you instantly. Headlines and Titles are far more important than the copy that
follows. A clever title is great, but an even better title is one that is
clever and clear.
Shorter titles sell better than longer ones, because they are easier to
remember. Make each word count because your potential buyer will spend only
four-eight seconds on the book front cover and on your Web site sales
letters, the headlines must grab your visitors’ emotions and curiosity to lead them to buy.
While some long titles have succeeded, usually the shorter, the better.
2.___Create your opening paragraph of your book chapter, your introduction,
or your web copy to entice your reader continue.
It’s not the book, it’s the hook. In fiction, start with the most exciting
and important incident first. For fiction and non-fiction, open with dialogue.
It’s more present and exciting. It shows rather than tells. In non-fiction
open with two or three compelling questions your reader can connect with. Point
out your readers’ challenges through them. Then follow with the thesis, a story
and other solutions.
3.___Make each part of your non-fiction book, report, article, or sales
letter support the thesis.
For instance, the thesis of this article is “You will sell more books or
services when you use these 10 ways to write like a pro.” Once you
give each book, each chapter, each article a thesis, you’ll write more compelling, organized,
and easy-to-read copy.
4.___Pursue friends and associates to edit your work. Send them a survey
asking for their help on small amounts at a time.
Always reward them with a free book at the finish, or a free special report
you create from your longer pieces. Edit three times before you submit your
piece to a professional editor or book coach. .
6.___Use strong, emotional or visual, power verbs rather than
linking verbs like “is,” “there is,” or “start to or begin.”
These linking verbs create passive, long sentences. They stop movement and
slow readers down or bore them. Readers expect straight forward copy, and when they don’t get it, will put your book or other writing down, never to return. Not a good way to receive word of
mouth referrals. Start your sentences with the subject, then add a power verb.
Find these listed in the eBook, “Use Power words to Spice Up Every Page of your
Book or Web Site.”
7.___ Stop loading your copy with telling words like adverbs. Every time you see
a very or an -ly ending in your work, rethink. Check with your Thesaurus to
see the more compelling possibles. Think corpulent instead of very fat. One
specific word is always better than two mundane ones. When you see
“suddenly,” a favorite of most writers, map out a picture, dialogue, or emotion to show
8.___Corral your writing into concise, compelling sentences.
Know that the standard sentence is 15-17 words; any longer means difficult
level. Today’s business readers want shorter and to-the-point writing. Yes, you
want some variety, just remember what your audience wants. Redundancies fill
your first draft. Make your first edit hone in on these. Slash and burn them
because they talk down to your audience.
9.___ Make sure your piece is coherent. Test whether it flows
or sounds natural by reading it aloud. When you stumble on a word or phrase,
you can bet your reader does too. Once your piece passes this test, you can
offer it to others for peer editing.
10.___ Make your dialogues believable. No long speeches, please. Short
dialogue reflects real life situations. . Use “said” rather than “screamed,”
“pouted.” Show these in your character’s action. “Said” is like a
comma, and readers don’t like to be slowed or talked down to.
Attract contacts, clients, and make a difference in other’s lives using this
“write like a pro” checklist.
Judy Cullins: 20-year author, speaker, book coach helps entrepreneurs manifest their book and web dreams http://www.bookcoaching.com
eBk: “Ten Non-techie Ways to Market Your Book Online”
To receive FREE “The Book Coach Says…” or Business Tip of the Month go to