Although I worked for Parafax video database for nearly five years, paraphrasing the blurb on the back of VHS liner notes to provide pithy synopses, I didn’t really think of this as copywriting until after I’d left. However, in retrospect that period helped me hone what writing skills I have, providing fast copy to a set length with a focus on clarity, telling the potential customer just enough to entice their interest. It also gave me the chance to write some longer pieces for the company website, which can be found in the Other section. I subsequently signed up with KP Personnel publishing agency, which resulted in a nine-month stint with Book Club Associates. Sad to think that both these organisations are now defunct; I hope it was nothing I did… In my time at BCA I wrote promotional material of various lengths and types to encourage customers to join a book club and splash out on a new paperback every month. Remember those one-page ads that used to be on the back of the Radio Times? I did those. I had two very good editors in Suzie Doore (Quality Paperbacks Direct) and Rosemary Trapnell (Taste). Although I wasn’t required to familiarise myself with the materials I was promoting (what I know about home cooking could comfortably be accommodated on the back of a postage stamp), I did read a few of the QPD books in an attempt to bring some authenticity to the writing. There are only so many times one can confidently hail the latest Kate Atkinson or Nick Hornby as an ‘unputdownable page-turner’… However, this was essentially writing to a set formula while not using too many words, as the scans of club magazines below make clear.