You may want to consider a career in copywriting when you are thinking about how to support yourself.This is because one of the biggest obstacles a writer faces is how to support him or herself before they can live off their book sales.
Joseph Conrad was a sailor, James Dickey was a teacher, Scott Turow is a lawyer. These may be great careers that you can draw from in your writing, but they aren’t actually writing.
With a copywriting career you are getting paid to do what you love while supporting your novel writing. But, exactly what is copywriting and how does one get started?
To answer these questions I have asked Maria Pease, the author of the Sam Parker series of novels and the publisher of the website freelance-writing-success.com, to join us today to answer some questions about how she started her own career in copywriting.
Well, Maria, at the risk of sounding redundant, can you explain exactly what is copywriting and how did you start your career in copywriting?
Yes. Copywriters write marketing materials like websites, emails, brochures, newsletters, articles and other written content for businesses. I started working as a freelance copywriter over ten years ago when looking for a way to write for a living without starving in the process. It turns out that I really love it.
How do you find your customers?
I get clients mostly through direct mail, referrals and my website.
Is there any cross over from copywriting to novel writing? In other words, do you learn things about writing or marketing from one practice that you can apply to the other?
Copywriting and writing a novel are very different, but as a copywriter I am able to craft the marketing materials and back cover copy from the point of view of a marketer rather than a novelist, so that is where copywriting comes in handy. As a novelist, I want to get my books in the hands of readers and sometimes the only way to do that is through good copy.
What kind of things do you write? Is all copy writing the same?
I specialize in writing informative content like newsletters, websites and articles. There are several different specialties that a copywriters could choose and although writing well is the goal, not all copy is created equal. It all depends on what the client is trying to achieve.
Where did you get your copywriting training and what kind of skills do you need to cultivate as a copywriter?
I have been taking various copywriting classes for as long as I can remember and continue to do so because I want to stay up on any new trends that occur. The main skill you need to be a good copywriter is to be able to write well, communicate clearly and be interested in what your writing.
How does a career in copywriting differ from writing novels?
Writing copy is about reaching your target audience with a specific message whether you are aiming to inform, persuade, educate, or motivate, where writing fiction is a total creative venture. They both require the writer to write clearly, but I approach each very differently.
Has the advent of e-publishing affected your business? If so, how?
I love that e-publishing has given writers more freedom. In a sense, it has taken the power away from the gatekeepers and given it to the public. If you write a good book, you have an opportunity to have it read, where, before e-publishing, you had to jump through hoops in hopes that a publisher would like it enough to print it. The key is to write a good book.
What is the best advice you can give someone who is just starting out their career in copywriting? Do you have any copy writing tips for beginners?
I would say the best advice is to learn as much as you can about writing copy. Take courses, listen to experts in the field and take advantage of all the information available. My website also has a lot of information for beginners. If you love to write, this is a great career.
Well, there you have it. So, if you’re looking for some way to support yourself while you’re writing your novel, consider a career in copywriting.