Monday 18 July 2011

From my Comping Library: 4. The Books

When I feel as if I've lost my comping "mojo", when the wins aren't appearing and my enthusiasm for comping starts to flag, there's nothing gives me more of a boost than reading a book about comping. It can fire me with enthusiam and ideas, and give me a real lift, especially when reading about other compers' wins and experiences.

Books about comping are few  and far between. I believe a couple of new ones have been published recently, so I will look out for them and tell you more about them when I have read them, but all the ones in my collection are a good few years  old now.

At the times these books were written, the authors were probably among the best known names in comping. Robert Kendal, who was a regular columnist in Competitors Journal, wrote "Prize Winning Ways" in 1988, and although in his day the only way to enter a competition was by post, a great deal of his advice still applies to all our more modern ways of comping.

Kathy Kantypowicz is another name which will be familiar to those who have been comping for some years. She produced a comping magazine of her own and contributed to several others, and the lessons learned from her experiences form the basis for her book "Winning Consumer Competitions" published in 1996. It includes an interesting look at comping from a promoter's  point of view, and brings  us a little closer to modern times with a look at how to get on to TV game shows.

Also published in 1996. "How to Win Any Consumer Competition" was written  by Martin Dove, who still writes  for Simply Prizes magazine. It is a more light hearted book than the first two, with lots of lively anecdotes and potted biographies of successful compers.

I don't turn to "How to win Consumer Competitions" by Graham Stevenson, published in 1992,  as often as the other books in my collection because most of the information in it hasn't stood the test of time as well as the rest, although there is some very useful advice on how to get letters published in magazines.

"How to Win Any Slogan Competition" , written in 1994 by Angelina Kaye, is simply a huge and useful collection  of previous winning tiebreakers, grouped according to theme. Although tiebreaker competitions are quite rare nowadays, a collection like this gives you great ideas  for puns, rhymes and word-play when you DO find one to enter.

And even more tiebreaker inspiration comes from Lynne Suzanne and Dee Tracy in  "Pun-ch Lines" (1999) which gives you the basic building blocks you need to create your own witty, pun-filled tiebreakers on almost any subject. Many older compers will be familiar with the postal comping club that Lynne ran for many years, and the numerous and very useful booklets and tiebreaker collectionsshe published.

My final look this time is at a real piece of comping history - "American Slogans 1952-53" by William Sunners.

William Sunners was a prominent comper in the USA in the 1950s and wrote many books for compers. This one  - aimed at advertising students  and copywriters rather than compers - is the only work of his that I have been lucky enough to get hold of. It is  simply a list of thousands and thousands of advertising slogans of all kinds from all over the USA. While probably not a lot of use to a modern comper, it is still a fascinating book to leaf through. Who these days, for instance, would advertise a hardware store as "The house of a million nuts"?

While all these books are long out of print,   you can occasionally find some of them, and similar titles, listed on eBay or on Amazon Marketplace.  And if you know the names and/or authoers of the recently published books, please let me know - I would love to bring my collection up to date!

1 comment :

  1. I love the phrase 'House of a 1000 nuts' lol for a hardware store. That looks like a fascinating insight into the advertising strategies of yesteryear too. Hope you get a nice win soon! I'm sure you will! ;O)


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