“And the winner is … “
I pushed in my earbud and leaned in close.
The year was 2015, and — unlike right now — I was not a copywriter.
Also unlike right now, I wasn’t at home … or even in my home town. Nor had I been there for weeks.
In fact, at this particular moment, I was almost literally in the middle of nowhere:
Isolated in the middle of a remote, highly-quarantined island off the coast of Western Australia.
I glanced sideways.
Before me stretched out miles of pristine, untouched scrub and red dust.
A single, lonely dirt road snaked through the mounds of bush and grass.
And beyond that — as far as the eye could see — a wide expanse of ocean so blue, it literally glowed.
Under other circumstances, it might have been a nice place to be.
But this was no vacation.
No … I didn’t want to be here at all.
Of course, for most people, you couldn’t get here if you wanted to.
In order to maintain strict quarantine for the native wildlife, the Australian Government had barred access to this island by boat.
The only way to get there was a two-hour flight on a tiny, rattling plane, after a rigorous biosecurity check at a hidden-away airport in Western Australia’s capital city.
But I had to be here.
Because a few years ago, oil & gas giant Chevron had discovered a massive gas deposit a few miles off the coast of this island.
To develop it would earn them billions.
And so, they’d fought tooth-and-nail with the Australian Government to get approval to construct an enormous gas plant on this tiny nature reserve.
They got it … and called the project ‘Gorgon’.
And then, they’d sent a crack construction team to build the plant.
A team that included me — a construction electrical engineer.
Sounds cool, right?
The job sucked.
It involved 28 days away from home at a time, staring at spreadsheets in a remote office in the middle of nowhere, working 5am to 5pm every single day. No days off.
And today, I was in the middle of one of those 12-hour shifts.
But it was my lunch break, so I was at my desk, watching … a webinar.
This particular webinar was being hosted by Ramit Sethi (author & CEO, I Will Teach You To Be Rich).
And on it, Ramit was announcing the winner of his recent copywriting contest.
Why would an electrical engineer be watching that?
Because … I’d been brave enough to enter that contest.
Okay, scratch that:
Stupid enough to enter.
After all … I’d never written copy in my life.
Don’t think I’d even ever heard the word “copywriter”.
But, I liked Ramit.
And I figured that one day, maybe … just maybe … I might want to do something other than look at spreadsheets on a barren wasteland away from my wife.
So, I figured I’d give this contest a shot.
And, in the little spare time I had after my daily 12-hour shifts, I’d spent hours hunched over in my tiny construction campsite room, typing out my first ever sales letter.
(It was a crappy little Facebook note called “How I Got My Wife to Let Me Spend $200 on One eBook” … 🤢 so cringe)
And then, it happened.
Ramit got to the part where he announced who’d won:
“Daniel Throssell — congratulations!”
I nearly fell off my chair.
The rest, as they say, is history.
(History that eventually involves me sitting down to write you daily emails that you can’t stop reading … no, really. I dare you. Stop.)
(… you didn’t stop, did you? See, told you.)
But here’s what the history books won’t tell you:
For winning, I got two prizes.
And I’m going to share both with you right now:
First, Ramit sent me his three favourite copywriting books.
(More on those below.)
But more importantly, I got to call Ramit for half an hour to talk copy.
Being a very green copywriter, I had a simple question:
“Ramit, I’ve never written copy before, but I really liked this. How could I do this for a job?”
Ramit gave me some steps he’d take if he were starting out.
And he also recommended two more copywriters who I should study:
Bob Bly, and John Carlton.
I immediately bought a bunch of books from both of them, and devoured them. They were fantastic.
But between them, there was one book that stood out to me the most.
In fact, to this day, this book is #1 on my list of recommended books to read for a new copywriter.
Parts of it are ‘outdated’, but the core ideas never go out of style.
And even just the way it’s written teaches you about how to write captivating copy.
I re-read it often … in fact, I just busted it out again last week for another look.
What is this book?
John Carlton’s Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel.
I paid a few hundred bucks for it at the time, and it was worth every cent.
But here’s some good news:
I just got an email from John Carlton this morning saying he’s holding a flash sale on this book.
Instead of the few hundred bucks I paid for it … you can get it for just $20.
(Plus a free month of his Marketing Rebel Insider’s Club.)
I think he’s gone a little loopy in lockdown, but, whatever. I just had to tell you about it.
Now, I get literally NOTHING for recommending this to you. There’s no affiliate link. No sneaky deals. I get no pat on the back or extra cred.
However, I want these emails to be the best part of your day … and I want you to know I’m looking out for you. And when there’s something I think you should know about, I’ll tell you, whether or not it benefits me.
So, if you’re interested in becoming a copywriter — or if you just want to write better copy for your own business — high-tail it over to this link and drop the $20:
Seriously, that is criminally cheap for how good this book is.