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What Makes Good Writing

     
5:24 am on Nov 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I was a bit tickled by this passage from the introduction to a book published in 1921.
When one is selling a page of writing, one receives, I
suppose, as much as five, or even twenty-five dollars
a page. When one is buying a page of advertising,
one pays anywhere from one hundred to five thousand
dollars a page! The discriminating reader will
discover upon which page the most time is spent.
Analogies present themselves.
10:15 pm on Nov 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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great find lucy!

aside: i love old/antique/antiquarian books ... in fact to an extent it is the business i'm in (and i'm a lifelong collector)

so often old books say things that are very relevant today.
12:06 am on Nov 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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i love old/antique/antiquarian books ... in fact to an extent it is the business i'm in (and i'm a lifelong collector)
Hey, this is foo, you don't have to go to micro-print :)

Most of the time I work from scans available online (public domain) but every now and then I am obliged to buy a book. (“But I neeeeed it ::whine::”)

Couple months back I bought a novel printed in 1799 because it had pretty pictures--stunningly detailed engravings--and the editions available online don't. Two volumes, duodecimo, adorably tiny and unbelievably cheap. It is now sitting on a shelf next to a history of the T N Foulis company, which I bought because a perfect stranger emailed to ask a question I didn't know the answer to, and now I do.

The quoted book was written by a book collector. He could afford it, lucky man.
3:34 am on Nov 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sadly, these golden nuggets of BIZ WISDOM remain as VALID today as when uttered 100 years ago. And that guy was just repeating wisdom from 100 years earlier.

The internet is just technology. Everything else remains the same, and has NOT changed.
2:13 pm on Nov 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It would be interesting to compare the rates in real terms with rates now.
5:16 pm on Nov 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It would be interesting to compare the rates in real terms with rates now.
In the same author's first book, he mentioned that you could get a First Folio for $25,000.

But it's about proportions. Would a given amount of advertising space today cost you 20-200 times as much as the copywriter gets paid for that amount of text? If so, is it a false economy to outsource to the cheapest possible writing (“content”)?
5:35 pm on Nov 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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1921 was an entirely different era.

If anything, the rates have dropped, significantly, for writing and ads, although, those figures do seem a little high for that time.
6:49 am on Nov 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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there is no way to compare
When one is selling a page of writing
and --
When one is buying a page of advertising
.
That's like saying: Compare "selling a shovel" and "buying a pile of dirt".

There is a slight implication they're related because you can shovel dirt, (or if you chose, could bury the shovel under a pile of dirt, or arrange the dirt pile to look like a giant shovel, etc)... but there is no equivalency.

I think someone didn't make good writing.
5:42 pm on Nov 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Requirements and expectations differ greatly.

I know folks that put up pages at pennies per, others whose pages cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars; that take from minutes to days, even weeks, to produce. Such vastly different content creation costs drive totally different thoughts around niche and design, traffic and revenue, etc.

Third party ad networks can produce, broadly, an RPM between $0.25 and $10.00. At the other end an enterprise/agency level direct ad space sale can be fifty thousand dollars to over a million per campaign; where RPM can range from fifty dollars to over a thousand. The simple cost of such a direct ad means that more time and effort aka cost will be put into it.

Ah, a correlation!*
* Cautionary reminder: correlation is not (necessarily) causation.


I think someone didn't make good writing.

Not some one, rather some machine learning neural net algorithm! Input raw words plus biased training data sets and make good writing! No more human creativity necessary. Outsource requirements to Googolplex now! Save zillions!
6:23 pm on Nov 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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but there is no equivalency
The quoted writer is explaining that he learned to write by composing ads: he was rich, but apparently not rich enough to outsource his advertising, although advertising agencies definitely existed by 1921. Or maybe he held to the adage that if you want something done right, do it yourself. When you're paying thousands of 1921 dollars for a given amount of text space, you have a strong incentive to make that text as effective as possible.
2:33 am on Dec 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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PAPER, back then was the medium. It was expensive to do anything in print. By the 1940s paper was pretty cheap until a world war got in the way and drove the prices back up. By the 1950s print was so cheap that ... well...

G is there now ... the "well..." above. Dirt simple, Easy, common, no hen's teeth involved. And (wait for it) they have cornered the market.

One can still make a living ... just adjusted by mega factors both up and down.

One thing that CAN'T be done is HUMAN GENIUS regarding what to say and how to say it when huckstering a product or whatever. The only thing that has changed is the entry level is so much lower and the ability to become RICH has been raised that much higher!

Meanwhile, DIY advertising still pays the best and that requires YOU have the product (website/content) that draws and advertisers panting to display ON YOUR SITE. HARD WORK is involved. The rewards are ... what you can make of them.