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Book review: Read Me: 10 Lessons for Writing Great Copy

2 min, 29 sec read
14:00 PM | 9 September 2014
by Jim Compton-hall
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Become an FR Writer

Finally! A practical book for today's copywriters. "Read Me: 10 Lessons for Writing Great Copy" by Roger Horberry & Gyles Lingwood shoots straight up my list of recommended books for copywriters (alongside the likes of "Hey Whipple, Squeeze This" by Luke Sullivan, and "Write to Sell" by Andy Maslen).

What's it about?

Read Me covers copywriting, brandwriting and writing in general really. Each chapter is a new writing "lesson", each containing useful stories, examples, advice and workouts so that you can practise. The book is also full of contributions from world class writers in which they offer pearls of wisdom to young people.

The lessons that Read Me takes you through include looking at the big picture, storytelling, figures of speech, tone of voice, writing memorable lines and other useful and essential things you should know.

Is it any good?

Any book that really encourages and assists practise is worth reading. It's something that not a lot of books, careers advice and educational institutions do enough of and yet it's essential if you want to be good at what you do. The workouts at the end of each chapter will help you develop your writing tremendously. But stimulating practise is far from all Read Me has going for it. 

The advice is strong and way beyond some of the more generic and overworked stuff you find in a lot of copywriting books. Read Me still feels fresh and useful even after years of reading other books that haven't seemed to offer anything new.

Plus, as a writer, it's always great to read through various pieces of amazing writing, and Read Me is filled with fantastic examples. There's a few classic adverts and marketing pieces that you'll know already but plenty of wonderful writing that you probably haven't seen before.

Who's it for?

I'll defer to Roger and Gyles for this one.

"The short answer is anyone who uses words to engage or persuade their readers. The longer answer is anyone who works – or hopes to work – in advertising, design, branding, communications, PR, marketing, sales or management."

How much is it going to cost me?

You're looking at an RRP of £18.95 though students can get 35% off if they buy direct from the publisher, Laurence King (and sign up to their mailing list). I tend to think that anything over £12 for a book is a little steep (a rule I found necessary when I was a student) but in this case it's probably worth it. With the workouts and the contributions from other writers, Read Me offers more to young writers than possibly any other book on the subject.

What's the overall verdict?

As I said at the beginning, this is certainly among the best copywriting books I've read. With its strong and fresh approach, Read Me should be among the first copywriting books you pick up and among the last you put down.

Got any questions before you buy, borrow or steal this book? Ask them in the box below. 

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