Concerning the letter to the editor by Laurie Goodman (“DM: Love It or Leave It, Jan. 24), first of all, who are you, Laurie? You allege to be a copywriter who has “written hundreds of direct response letters, postcards, catalogs and Web sites.” That sounds like hype to us. Come on, Laurie, fork over those hundreds of jewels … and while we're on the subject, you failed to mention whether any one of them ever made any money.
As for American Writers & Artists Institute, we're very happy with the promotion that got you so hot and bothered. It doubled the response rate of our old control and represents us exactly the way we want to be represented. Incidentally, every single statement in our letter, every fact and figure is 100 percent accurate. Five years ago, Paul Hollingshead was stocking shelves in a supermarket. In 1999, he made more than $200,000 — and it was all from copywriting. (Don Mahoney has an even more impressive story — also mentioned in our letter — which you failed to pick up.)
As for our students, the record speaks for itself:
• Our graduates get work. Some have landed jobs with DM businesses. Many have gotten freelance assignments, including 22 whom we have personally referred. Payment for these assignments has ranged from $800 to $5,000.
• One student who's been writing space ads for 20 years said that after he started applying the copywriting secrets we taught him during a three-day boot camp, his ad revenue increased from $1,000 per week to $10,000 per week.
• Another student who was working as a customer service rep before taking our course got a job as a full-time staff copywriter for one of the largest DM companies in the Midwest — and has had, according to his enthusiastic letters to us, three controls in his first year.
• We have a file of 105 (and the number keeps growing) truly unsolicited testimonials from students telling us how much they enjoy our course and how they are benefiting from it.
The bottom line is this, Laurie, our program works. We really can and really do take “ordinary people” and turn them into professional copywriters. We do it quickly and we do it efficiently. Our program is just that good. But let's get to the real issue, Laurie. What honestly irked you about our promotion? Was it the claim that we can take anybody who can write a “letter like the one we wrote” and turn him or her into a copywriter? Admit it, Laurie, what really bugs you is the terrible truth that copywriting — like carpentry or plumbing or karate — can be learned. Much as you'd like to think that your profession entitles you to bang beer mugs with Hemingway, the truth is great copywriters come from every walk of life — even supermarket stock boys — and the “art” of copywriting is only an art in the original, Latin sense of the word: a craft, something that can be learned.
Come down from the rarefied air, Laurie. Take a good look at your own copy. Get a grip on reality. And, while we're on a roll, let us put a challenge to you — or rather to the industry: From now on, any DM company using Laurie Goodman's copy can have an actual “this-could-really-work” test against it — for free — by one of our very well-trained graduates. This offer is valid for the rest of Laurie Goodman's natural life. If the AWAI student's copy beats her copy — and we bet it does — then, well, too bad for you, Laurie.
About your comments about “people who care about punctuation and 'proper writing,'” whoa , you are so right! Every time we see good grammar we fall into a buying frenzy and lunge for our checkbooks.