*A Book Review*
The Robert Collier Letter Book
by Michael C. Gray
August 29, 2003
Robert Collier was one of the all-time great copywriters of sales letters and advertising.
His specialty was selling books; he believed that anyone who could sell books by writing letters or advertising could sell anything. A well-known set of books that Collier sold was The Harvard Classics - The Five-Foot Shelf of Books. The appeal of the Harvard Classics was to be able to get a classical education without having to attend college. He also wrote advertising for O. Henry's books, including the beloved Gift of the Magi, and H. G. Wells' The Outline of History.
Collier also wrote successful sales letters and advertising for items like luggage, rain coats, overcoats and hosiery.
In The Robert Collier Letter Book, Collier tells "How I did it." It was first published in 1934. The appeals and techniques he used are just as effective today as when he employed them many years ago. Knowledgeable copywriters have considered The Robert Collier Letter Book to be an invaluable reference to have at their fingertips to create "salesmanship in print."
Collier explained that, in order to write successful advertising, the writer must enter a conversation already going on in the reader's mind. He said that a successful sales letter should read like a letter written to your best friend about an exciting discovery you have made that he or she should benefit from, too.
When the book went out of print, some students of advertising, including me, paid exorbitant sums to get their hands on this invaluable material. Now the Collier family is republishing this treasured volume in softbound and hardbound editions at very reasonable prices.
Buy it on Amazon: The Robert Collier Letter Book.
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