The Boron Letters - Chapter 17
Thursday, 10:31 AM
June 28, 1984
Yesterday, the last thing I wrote about was how I want you
to take the Tova “facelift ad” and copy it in your
handwriting. I also said you should do this just as you
would if you were going to take it to a secretarial service
and have it typed.
Here’s more: From now on, for the next 4 or 5 months I want
you to do this same thing with other ads and DM pieces. But
I don’t want you to just copy any old ad or DM piece. I want
you to copy only the best.
Now, here’s why I want you to do all this: You see, what
happens when you actually write out a good ad in your own
handwriting is that the words and the flow and the sentence
structure and the sequence of information and everything
else about the writing of that ad becomes a part of you.
This isn’t just an empty
experience. This is a way of
internally imprinting on your mind and body, the process of
good writing. If you do this often enough you will soon have
a deep “inside out” understanding of what it takes and what
it feels like to write a good piece of copy. Now, in the
beginning I want you to allow me and Blade to pick which ads
and DM pieces for you to copy. And, of course, the ones we
will select for you to write out in your own handwriting
will be those that we already know to be the cream of the
crop. Ads and DM pieces that are proven winners. Ones that
have brought in millions and even tons of dollars.
It is important to do this. It is one of the many
disciplines that other lazy “would be” marketing geniuses
will not suffer. That’s too bad for them and good for us. I
love that my so called “competition” is so lazy. I love it
that so many people in advertising and marketing are too
sophisticated, too “above” this sort of thing.
Let me tell you a little tale about a man I very much
respect who was not above doing this sort of thing. He
wanted to become a great writer (he was!) and so what he did
was take great books and copy them (in a sense he was
actually writing them) in his own handwriting just as I am
instructing you to do. He did this for a long time. Now here
is something else he took the trouble to do: Since one of
the books he wanted to write involved what it was like to
cross the ocean under horrible conditions, what he did was
travel the ocean himself in the bowels of rusty old
Well, naturally, before he was finished he had an internal
deep rooted “cellular” knowledge of the process of writing a
good book and he also knew what it was like to travel the
ocean in misery.
Did all of this pay off? You bet is did. This man’s name is
Arthur Haley and his book “Roots” is one of the best sellers
of all time.
End of sermon. Do it. Here is a short list of “killer”
promotions to get you started.
How To Burn Off
Body Fat Hour By Hour
The Beverly Hills Diamond Ad
How To Collect
From Social Security
At Any Age
How To Get What
The U.S. Government
The Famous Dollar Bill Letter
From The Robert Collier
The Amazing Blackjack Secret
Of A Las Vegas Mystery Man
Astrology Today Ad
Written By Ben Suarez
There’s more. But the above (at the rate of one per week)
will keep you busy for a couple of months.
Now, here are a few other tips on how to write good copy or
, as a matter of fact, “good anything”. Use simple common
everyday words. Use “get” instead of “procure.” Write short
sentences and short paragraphs. Use “transition” words and
phrases to make your writing flow smoothly. Do you notice
how I use transition words and phrases such as the
Well, as a matter of fact, I first blah...
Now, naturally, we don’t want to blah, blah...
And, of course, here is what she said blah, blah,
Now, here’s a few more great ideas: Ask questions once in a
while and then answer them yourself. Like this:
Bond, do you understand what I am saying? You do. Good, then
let’s go on. Etc.
How do we get the benefits? The answer is simple. All we
have to do is etc., etc.
Can you imagine that? I know it seems unbelievable but facts
are facts! Etc., etc., etc.
And so on. God I love to write “And so on.” Kurt Vonnegut
uses it quite often and he is one of the best writers I’ve
What is a good writer? Well, in my opinion a good writer is
one who makes things perfectly clear. He makes it easy for
the reader. Easy-to-understand what he is saying, easy to
keep reading. And, if you want a treat, if you want to read
an entertaining book written with great clarity, then read
Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I said the book was written
clearly, I did not say it was written by a sane person.
By the way, do you notice how little one word transition
sentences like “onward.” keep the flow going? You say you do
notice? O.k., smarty, see if you can answer this question:
What is the best way of becoming a
Aha! You’re not absolutely certain about this one, are you?
Here is the answer:
The Best Way To Become
A Good Writer... Is By...
Writing Good Writing!
And, of course, that’s what the subject of this entire
letter is all about. Don’t worry about developing a “style.”
Your own peculiarities will emerge soon enough.
But remember this. (Ran out of ink) The very best writing
goes unnoticed. That’s right. You don’t want someone to read
one of your ads and say “Gosh, that advertisement was sure
No. What you really want is for the reader to
your ad. Listen up dummy. “If you are writing for applause...
you will go home with empty pockets!”
Here is something else to keep in mind: It is a good idea to
know “word pictures” that will help your reader vicariously
experience the wonderful benefits of owning your product or
service. Like this:
“And, just wait till you step into that warm inviting
jacuzzi that comes with every apartment. Man oh man! The
feel of that soothing bubbling water against your bare skin
is just plain heaven.”
“You’ve heard of the expression about how you won’t believe
your eyes? Well, this is one time you won’t believe your
eyes. No kidding. The delightful aroma of these charcoal
broiled steaks will remind you how good it feels to be
“Wow! When I first felt her tongue going around and around
on my skin I thought I was going to scream!”
Etc. (I’m tired. These are not great examples but they’ll do
I’ve got 4 minutes to go. What can I teach you in that
amount of time?
Here’s a little something: You can make your copy easier to
read by the judicious use of parentheses. For example, if
you want to tell people that your offer is good anywhere in
the U.S. (except Alaska) the proper use of parentheses, as I
just did, makes the copy easier-to-read, easier to
understand and provides a little “eye relief” for your
I Love You and Good Luck!
Copyright © 2005 Gary C. Halbert. All Rights