The Robert Collier Letter Book

WHAT IS THERE about some letters that makes them so much more effective than others? A letter may have perfect diction, a finished style; it may bristle with attention-getters and interest-arousers; it may follow every known rule; yet when it reaches the Hall of Judgment where the reader sits and decides its fate, it may find itself cast into the hell of wastebasket-dom, while some screed lacking any pretence of polish or the finer arts of correspondence blandly picks up the bacon and walks home with it. Why?

Because getting the results you set out to accomplish with a letter is no more a matter of rule of thumb than is landing a fish with a rod and hook. You know how often you have seen some ragged urchin pull in fish after fish with the crudest of lines, when a “sportsman” near by, though armed with every piscatorial lure known to man, could not raise even a bite!