Since I started my writing career as a fantasy novelist — and was drawn to copywriting because of a need to understand marketing — people often ask me how the copywriting affects my fiction writing.
- Does fiction help me write better copy?
- Does understanding fiction make it easier or more difficult to write copy effectively?
- Does my enjoyment of fiction writing affect my ability to make money?
And I’ve realized that my answers are invariably positive.
Yes, there are differences between the two writing types. Yes, you have to learn some different principles for each and then effectively switch from one to the other. And yes, I do need to limit the time I spend writing fiction if I’m not making money from it.
But overall, the relationship between fiction and copywriting is a positive one, full of symbiotic benefits. Knowing both and practicing both can only make you a better writer.
Copywriting: Responsive Writing
Spend some time reading up on how to be a successful novelist, and eventually you’ll encounter this advice: Write for yourself. Which is good advice, up to a point. So what most impressed me about copywriting when I first started was the concept of direct response and the need to tailor your creativity and vision to the wishes and desires of your audience.
I find that although fiction still has more to do with you than anyone else, being responsive to an audience has made me a better storyteller.
Fiction is all about telling a story that resonates with people — and that’s the basis of the most effective copywriting style. Being able to describe a scene, introduce heroes and villains, create a story arc, and deliver a satisfactory ending that simultaneously prompts a desire for more… It all leads to better, more relatable copywriting.
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