Please Read This First

Hey, thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog.

Whether you came by link or by search…

…whether you’re a current or aspiring copywriter, marketer, entrepreneur, creative thinker, or none of the above…

…I’m darned glad you’re here.

My goal is to provide you with all sorts of great info and insights on persuasion … creativity … copywriting … marketing … direct response … self-development … and anything that helps you be more successful—personally as well as professionally.  (That sure gives me a lot of leeway, doesn’t it?)

Since this is a blog, I guess I should also tell you some of what I’ve been up to lately…

Just got word that a magalog I did for Boardroom/Bottom Line Books has successfully launched yet another book:  Breakthroughs in Natural Healing.  Look for it in your mailbox soon.

(What? You’re not on Boardroom’s list? Shame on you—it’s one of the best, least expensive ways to get a direct mail education.

Go to, buy a book or start a free trial subscription and you’re in.

This summer, I took a wonderful trip to Europe with my family. I got to meet up with two copywriting buddies—direct marketing legend Drayton Bird in London (we discussed both working for Ogilvy & Mather long, long ago) and Agora copywriting superstar John Forde in Paris (our families enjoyed brunch together at a Paris café and then went to a très fun amusement park).

My kids were very impressed that I knew someone in every city we went to, and therefore believe I must know someone in every major city of the world.  (Far from true, but I do have copywriting and marketing friends in quite a few of them.)

I recently completed a consulting gig for an amazing company called Lifebook, helping them with their sales letter, Web site and marketing.

Lifebook is an absolutely first-class self-development company that holds transformative four-day workshops in a beautiful facility in Chicago. Detached from the demands of your professional and personal life, you’re free to spend four days reflecting on and documenting your life, your beliefs, your goals and your dreams, and leave with a record and plan (your Lifebook) of how to make that vision come true.

Of course, before I could work with Lifebook, they wanted me to go through the program.  I must admit, I was somewhat apprehensive about the idea of four days of reflection and what I thought would be mere “goal setting.” But it was light years beyond that and turned out to be a joyous, inspiring and life-changing experience that continues to positively impact my life every single day. If you’re what Lifebook calls “a committed seeker” and are seriously interested in finding out what you really want out of life and how to get it, you might want to look into Lifebook (

One of the things realized I realized is that I want to do less writing and more teaching. So I’ve been busy getting this blog and website, and working on some exciting new copywriting and marketing programs I look forward to telling you about soon (if you’re not already getting emails from me, make sure you’re on my VIP notification list in the upper right hand corner of this page.

And now, it’s your turn… What would you like to hear more about from me?  What would help you in your business and in your life? Or just let me know what’s on your mind in the comments section below. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

26 Responses to “Please Read This First”

  1. David,

    Great looking blog! Glad to see you’re wanting to do more teaching. I think I learn at least 5 new things from you every time I have a conversation with you, so it’s obvious you are a naturally gifted teacher.

    Looking forward to reading more blog posts!



  2. Mark Dresner says:

    Hey David – great to see that you’re doing more of what you love most – teaching, that is.

    I look forward to following your blog, hearing what you’re up to … and, of course, continuing to learn from you.

    Not to brown-nose (really) – but your “tough love” personal coaching took my copywriting skills up about 7 notches.

    And I will always appreciate your insights, encouragement and patience in helping me to succeed.

    Hope to see you or chat with you again in the near future.

    All the best.

    -Mark Dresner

  3. Josh Burns says:

    Hey David – great blog! As usual, I love your voice.

    And I’m psyched to see you’re working with Lifebook – Tellman & Jodi went out and did their training in Chicago and came back very focused, very clear headed, and super excited (It was around then that Tellman had the inspiration for Run Tellman Run).

    As for what I’d like to see on I have to admit I’m a testing junkie… so any cool tests you’re running or trends you’re noticing would be awesome :-)

    These days I learn more from tests than I do from books.

    • Thanks, Josh! It always surprises me to hear I have a “voice.” I guess it’s like a fish not knowing he’s in water.

      Lifebook is indeed unique, amazing and has had a profound effect on everyone I know who has gone through it.

      I agree about tests and testing — there is no better learning.

  4. David, I believe it was Dan Kennedy who said, and I’m paraphrasing: everything that can be said about copywriting has already been said — so all that’s left is to say it differently. Looking forward to reading what you’ve got to say differently. Thanks for joining the frey. Barry

  5. David!

    So glad you started a blog! This is great — can’t wait to read all your posts :)


  6. Doberman Dan says:

    Hey David,

    I’m really excited to see you transition into more teaching. I’ll be here at your feet soaking up every gold nugget of wisdom you share.

    Thank you!


  7. John Gilger says:


    You have a great looking blog. I’m looking forward to your taking on the wonderful world of copywriting and direct marketing… even if it has been said before… some of us might not have been paying sufficient attention ;-)


  8. Chris Klaus says:

    Hey David,

    Looking good so far! I look forward to continuing to learn from you as you explore your passion to teach!

    I think the areas that I’m most interested in learning more about are (in no particular order):

    -The actual mechanics of direct mail (how do you get the darn thing sent once it’s written?)

    -How to test (what to test first, how many tests do you run, examples of a testing process from a to z)

    -More on market research (methods, sources, practical examples, how do YOU research for a new market?)

    -How a solo business owner can create, print, and mail a direct response campaign without having to stuff a single envelope, print a single page (personally), or lick a dang stamp! (and not pay a fortune…)

    -How to “break into” the copywriting industry (where to find peers to mastermind with, teachers to critique your copy, and how to get your first copywriting job and not screw it up)

    That’s all I can think of for now.


    • Thanks, Chris — good input.

      I’ll definitely try to address in the future. But as thanks for posting these suggestions, here are some really quick immediate answers:

      Mechanics: Let the client do it or look in the phonebook for a “fulfillment house” under “direct mail.”

      Testing: Test stuff that will make a big difference, not little things. Test headlines, concepts, approaches and — this is big — formats.

      Research: Read blogs and forums. See what people are searching for (common search terms for your subject). Most of all, talk to prospects and talk to people (like your client) who talk to prospects.

      Solo business mailings: Hire an assistant (stay at home mom looking for work she can do easily at home) or, again, look in phone book under “direct mail” for fulfillment houses.

      Breaking in: Persist — as Steve Chandler said to me today: the secret to success is “stop stopping.” Go where both upcoming and successful copywriters are (AWAI events, Carlton Action Seminar) and where people who hire copywriters are (seminars, Internet marketing seminars, industry seminars for industries you’ve targeted).

      Hope that’s helpful. More to come.

  9. Looks like an avid audience was waiting in the wings for just too long! Delighted to join it and looking forward to your insights. I bet you’ve got a good story or two from your career (I swear I won’t tell anyone). And I’m so pleased you are keen to teach more; I’m keen to run over the hot coals in your class again too.

  10. G’day David,

    blog: good idea. Good on you!

    Haven’t seen you since Bencivenga 100.

    Well you certainly have a mate in Sydney, Australia. When coming to OZ be sure to connect. Although, sometimes I am in San Diego, California…so connect there as well.


    ~Jonathan Dune
    ole school marketer copywriter

    P.S. Recently Drayton ( a good one on his blog: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” Elmore Leonard (from his 10 Rules on copywriting)
    Another sparkly rock that you take shine to as well.

  11. David, great to hear from you again. And I’m excited to use your excellent techniques in my improv comedy business.
    EVERYBODY needs great copywriting!

    • John, good to hear from you again, too.

      Always glad to help the improv world. One of my upcoming posts is going to be: Everything I need to know about copywriting I learned in improv class. Seriously.

  12. Ryan McGrath says:

    I tried to get on Boardroom’s list in the past. I bought my copy of Breakthrough Advertising from them directly (instead of buying it through a 3rd party, such as

    But other than my book, I’ve never received anything from Boardroom! Not a single magalog sent my way. Maybe they flag Eugene Schwartz buyers as copywriters just looking to build their swipe files. :)

    Suppose this means I’ll take David’s advice and buy something else from them. Any suggestions on what to buy to get on the most lists at Boardroom?

    (I’ve had the same problem with Nightingale-Conant…I’ve purchased several hundred dollars worth of programs in the last 2 years. So far, I’ve gotten maybe two magalogs. No sales letters, and no catalogs. Do they not want my money?)

    Who would ever think it would be this hard to TRY to get on lists to be sold to! :)

    So glad to see you blogging David!

    • Thanks, Ryan. Good to hear from you.

      Yes, Boardroom doesn’t send other types of promotions to their buyers of their direct response products like the Schwartz book.

      Just buy one of their health or “consumer secrets” books, or sign up for subscription to one of the newsletters.

  13. Marte Cliff says:

    Hi David – I’ve been following your work for some time – and have been a customer.

    I look forward to reading your blog!

    • Thanks so much for letting me know that, Marte. I likewise look forward to your keeping in touch.

      I checked out your Web site. How smart you are to specialize in one industry. And to live in such a beautiful area of the country.

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