If Stephen King Wrote Advertising Copy

Last month a new Stephen King book was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. It’s called Duma Key: A Novel.

Duma Key: A Novel is the story of Edgar Freemantle and his recovery from the terrible nightmare-inducing accident that stole his arm and ended his marriage.

Care to predict whether this will be a profitable book?

But wait… it’s 592 pages long.

Do Stephen King fans find hundreds of pages intimidating?

It appears not. 50 of his novels have reached bestseller status. Enough fans buy his books to make his net worth over $200,000,000.

And yet, its a safe bet that someone in his past said “This is too long. Nobody will read this many pages.

Obviously, people who enjoy King aren’t concerned with the word count. And (critical point here) the opinions of non-fans DON’T MATTER.

So, what’s the marketing parallel?

People who aren’t in the market for what you sell don’t get an opinion in how long your advertising copy should be.

‘Nuff said.

Chuck McKay is a marketing consultant who works with professional practices and owner operated businesses. Questions about optimal copy length may be directed to ChuckMcKay@ChuckMcKayOnLine.com.


  1. Sean Stefan

    Great observations Chuck. When you think about it, advertising copy is seldom long enough – otherwise people wouldn’t need to head to the Internet to find more information. Long copy is too long for the people that aren’t interested, but just enough to get the ones that are interested to search out more. That’s probably how advertising should work.

  2. Jack

    Our first reaction is to try to please everyone, but that’s not good marketing (and it’s not too effective in life, either).

    The marketer James Brausch is sometimes described as arrogant for focusing totally on the people who buy his products:

    “1. NEVER listen to non-buyers who are encouraging a particular change in your processes. They are NON-BUYERS! That will change your processes to encourage non-buying!

    2. NEVER take surveys with non-customers. If there are no dollars on the table, there is usually a negative correlation between surveys and actual results.”

    I don’t agree with everything he says, but everything he does is tested using his great software (such as muvar).

    It’s tough to argue with somebody who backs up what he says with testing and statistics.

    Ok, he doesn’t like long copy, but nobody’s perfect.