At Penguin, we often get asked about how publishing works and who exactly does what, so with this in mind we've decided to set up a series of live webchats with people working in different roles around the company. The aim is to give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the publishing industry really works, from the initial idea for a book, through its production to the bookshop and beyond.

To start things off, the copywriters are going to be here to reveal the secrets of their trade on Thursday 14th July between 1 and 2pm. They work within Penguin's marketing departments, writing blurbs, book titles and subtitles, advertising and a whole lot more. It's quite a distinctive role in publishing, and one that's going to change more and more in the  digital age.

The online panel will be:

Sam Binnie – many of you will have already read Sam's Penguin blogs. She writes all manner of blurbs for Penguin Classics and paperbacks, as well as digital copy.

Colin Brush – Colin works on Penguin's commercial list, including authors such as Marian Keyes and Jamie Oliver.

Sarah Kettle – Sarah works on children's books, from Roald Dahl to Puffin Classics to Pigs in Planes (the other copywriters are jealous of her).

Louise Willder – that's me, I write copy for titles ranging from Penguin Classics to history, science, politics and culture books.

Want to know how to write a good blurb, what makes a great book title, how to conjure up a snappy strapline or anything else? We'll be online to answer your questions here on the Penguin Blog, so get thinking about what you'd like to know. Feel free to start posting your questions now in the comments section below, so we'll have plenty to get to grips with, and come back on Thursday 14 July between 1 and 2pm to read our replies and post any more questions you have.


Louise Willder
Copywriting Manager


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Join the conversation! 23 Comments

  1. Hello! Where did you begin working before getting into your current role as a copywriter?

  2. Aside from the obvious rules (Be unique, catchy, and clear) what are the most important things to consider when crafting a title.

  3. Do you have to agree copy with the authors and, if so, how often does that spiral into disagreement?
    Oh – and do badly written emails irritate you?

  4. Is the typical send out e-mail queries and wait for responses the only way to find an agent?

  5. When you are writing blurb for a book, do you always read the book first? (Please be honest!) And then: is there a checklist for writing the best blurb? Can you count it down for us? Thanks.

  6. How did you get into publishing? And is it necessary to do work experience? If so how do I do that?

  7. E-books don’t have a back cover, how does this affect your blurb?

  8. I’ve recently become aware of more extreme “gawk abuse” online – premium sites vying for attention and many other upstarts exploit the absurd (often using deceptive ambiguity) and human inquisitiveness. How do you see this affecting good honest copy within an attention grabbing race to the bottom in this information overload generation ? How can simple quality stand out and stand up for itself ? Is the “made-you-look” device a fair tool for the copywriter ?
    2 minutes ago · Like

  9. What major changes do you anticipate will occur in the publishing industry as it embraces more technology? Is there a worry that books will become almost obsolete in favour of Kindles and ebooks for example?

  10. Do the quotations sometimes found at the beginning of books have their own name in publishing terms, or are they simply called “a quote”?

  11. Who are or used to be your favourite copywriter(s) and/or editor(s)?

  12. Hello! How is copy for digital different from print? Which do you prefer?

  13. sir, I want to know what facts should b kept in mind while writing about a certain topic n hw 2 make sure the reader doesnt get bored n goes on reading… i want 2 knw the presentation style..

  14. Which books that you’ve worked on had the most difficult blurb or title to write?

  15. I am currently working with a UK singer/celebrity on his autobiography (one people have been screaming for the past 20 years). At what point in the process should we start shopping for a publisher? We’d love to secure a publisher on the basis of an outline/synopsis, but I am unsure as to when it is appropriate to send out query letters, etc. Thank you!

  16. I can think of several questions. I have two complete novels, but they both need editing before I send them out. I am scared of rejection from publishers and agents, how can I overcome this fear?
    Is there any amateur writers group that you can recommend, I am already a member of Scribophile, will this site help me?

  17. Hello, what qualifications do you need to become a copywriter?

  18. What won’t get published?

  19. What’s your source for inspiration?

  20. This is a fun reach out!
    for a customer browsing in a book store, compelling well-written book flap copy is crucial in selling the book.
    but with digital books, there is far less browsing.
    how do publishers make sure great copy and book covers do not go the way of liner notes and album covers?

  21. A copywriting rule to remember:
    When mentioning a particular time of day for global readers (see blog post above), be sure to include the time zone. 🙂

  22. This is such a great idea! I’m going to try to do this. Yes! As always, your pictures are beautiful.
    Friend link:

  23. When someone writes an piece of writing he/she maintains the image of a user in his/her brain that how a user can be aware of it. Thus that’s why this article is perfect. Thanks!


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