Michael Ellsberg’s Copywriting Symposium

If you run a small-but-growing business, you’ve probably run into this problem at least once:

You see the necessity and power of delegating and outsourcing: you (probably) don’t fix your own car, so in your business you also probably shouldn’t be doing your own bookkeeping, web design, legal work, scheduling and errands, and so forth.

And for all of these common business tasks, you can find great providers who do an excellent job at a price you can afford.

So, understandably, you apply the same thinking to your direct-response copywriting. “Hey, if I’m hiring out the web design and development, why not hire out the writing of the sales text that goes on the website as well?”

You hire someone, pay at least half up-front, and then when the copy comes back:

It’s flat. It doesn’t convey the personality or authority of your brand and business at all.

Worse, it’s formulaic and gimmicky. It’s as if they were called a copywriter because they were simply copyingand-pasting whatever latest tips and tricks they learned at whatever Internet Marketing “Mastermind” they attended in the Fern Room of the Ramada Inn

Or, even if it seems like it’s good copy… in the end, copy is not meant to seem good. It’s meant to convert. And it doesn’t convert. It was basically wasted money.

Disappointed, maybe you ask some friends or colleagues if they know any good copywriters. And you get a referral—someone with a great track record, who comes highly recommended.

You talk to this referral on the phone, they seem amazing, they seem to totally get your brand and what you’re going for. They show you examples of their work, and it pops. You can tell they’re going to be great.

Then, you ask them for a quote on the work you’d like done.

And when the quote comes back… just as their copy pops… your eyes pop just looking at the price. Damn, sticker shock!

Why, of all the business functions, is it so damn hard to find good direct-response copywriting talent that you can afford?

There’s a simple answer.

With the possible exception of people who are good at cold-calling (which is an almost super-human trait), there is no person in a business who can make it rain, and bring in an IMMEDIATE, short-term revenue spike, than someone who can write a good sales letter.

Really good sales letters are like magic. They have the ability to “make it rain” the moment you click “Send.”

So many other business functions can be great investments in the long run—better web design and branding, better leadership and management skills, better customer service, and so forth. But these don’t bring in the bucks, within days, the way a good sales letter does.

Knowing this, most direct-response copywriters who can actually get results for their clients charge a major premium. That’s why it’s so hard to find an experienced one that a small-but-growing business can afford.

So what’s a business owner to do?

You might not like the answer, but I’m not known for giving answers people like, I’m known for speaking blunt truths based on experience.

For some time in your business, as it grows, you’re going to have to write the copy yourself. And you’re going to have to learn to get good at it.

You can outsource or delegate the design and maintenance of your website to other people. You can delegate fulfillment, and customer service, and bookkeeping, and a zillion other functions in your business–and find great people to do it, at prices you can afford.

But, as an owner of a small-but-growing business, if you rely on delegating or outsourcing your direct-response copy—the thing that actually grabs customers and clients and pulls them through the door—you won’t get good results at all. You end up in a downward spiral: fewer customers coming in, hence less money to invest in bringing those customers in, hence fewer customers, and down and down.

As a business author who has consulted with hundreds of businesses, I’ve puzzled how to solve this problem for my clients. They need revenue to grow immediately. Yet, like most cash-strapped startups, they don’t have lots of extra $$$ lying around to invest in high-priced copywriters.

If you can relate to anything I’ve written so far, then here’s a simple solution I’ve come up with:

I’m creating a small, affordable weekly group of maximum 10 students, where you’ll get personalized training and feedback from me on how to write copy for your business that brings in an IMMEDIATE revenue spike.

I will help you write copy that pops off the page, grabs your customers and clients, and pulls them into your business. I will help you write copy that expresses your natural, authentic personality, and that of your brand. I will help you write copy that gets inside the mind of your prospects and makes them think, “Wow, I feel like whoever wrote this was reading my mind.”

Some of the topics we’ll cover, in weekly sessions, include: getting inside the head of your prospect to understand their most pressing problems, needs, and desires, getting your tone right, crafting your best offer, writing habits for maximum productivity and efficiency… and much more.

Not only this, but we’ll make it fun. This is a class. A writing group. There will be a great group of other students like yourself, so you’ll be meeting new friends and making new connections as we learn (and getting additional feedback from your fellow students—all the more eyes and perspectives on your copy.)

Here’s how it works:

  • Weekly calls, 1hr and 20min.
  • The first 20min will be a lecture on some important element of copywriting.
  • The next hour will be hot-seats—as many as we can fit into the hour. You will get at LEAST one in-depth hot-seat per month, if not more, laser-focused on your copy and your progress, with feedback from me and all the other participants. And specific, detailed assignments, personalized for you, for the next week.
  • Even if you’re not in the hot-seat that week, though, you’ll want to join the calls each week, as you learn as much (if not more) listening to other people’s turns. Why? Because often, it’s hard to see the hidden, insidious mistakes you’re making in your own copy—you’re so attached to all the seemingly pretty flowers you’ve drawn with your words. But when you hear me analyzing the same mistakes in other people’s copy, then it sinks in: “oh, that’s why my copy hasn’t been converting. Now I get it.”
  • We’ll also have a private Facebook group where you can post your progress and get ongoing feedback with other students.

My goal is to give you the maximum amount of personalized attention, learning, growth and feedback you can get on your businesses’ copy per month, at the lowest price.

I’m calling it:

Michael Ellsberg’s Private Copywriting Symposium

In ancient Greece, symposia were drinking parties where affluent Athenians would get together, get wasted, and talk philosophy.

We’ll be doing the same thing—minus the getting wasted—and we’ll be talking about sales letters, not philosophy.

So I guess it’s not really the same thing. But I just like the word “Symposium.” It sounds fun and important at the same time.

And THAT’s what we’ll be doing. Fun, and important for the growth and long-term survival of your business.

  • Classes will be Tuesdays at 12pm pacific.
  • First class is January 2nd. (Let’s start 2018 with an IMMEDIATE jump in your revenue!)
  • The cost for the class is $275/month. (You can cancel at any time.)
  • If you sign up now, I’ll also give you access to the recordings of the course I taught a few years ago, “The Art of Writing for Facebook.” These are 8 hours of on-point recordings that will help you hit your Facebook writing for your business out of the park. (This course originally sold for $150.)

That’s it. Only 10 spots in the group. I anticipate this will fill-up quickly, so if this is for you, sign up right away.

Sign up here:

I look forward to welcoming you in class at the very start of 2018!


“Professor” Ellsberg

PS: I think PS’s, and other standard copywriting “gimmicks,” are BS. I don’t teach gimmicks. I teach honest, heart-felt letters that make your customers feel seen and understood.

“I Have a Great Guy for You…”

I was telling my girlfriend (7 happy months together now!) about how, when I was single and seeking in the spring, I called at least a dozen of my close female friends, told them I wanted to date seriously, and requested to be set up on blind dates with any of their girlfriends they thought would be a good match.

“Um yeah, I’ll think about that,” my friends replied. All these calls netted zero set-ups. At the time, I was a bit disappointed, and wondered why.

My girlfriend, who happens to be a professional matchmaker (!), said, very diplomatically, “Well, if you had come to me for matchmaking, you would have been an… um… interesting…. man to try to match.”

I said, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Then I imagined what my female friends would have had to say to their girlfriends, truthfully, if they were going to set me up: Continue Reading

The Story of the $100 Million Urinal

The most valuable urinal the world has ever known was created in New York City in 1917.

It had no diamonds in it, nor any precious stones at all. It was not made of gold or platinum, but of porcelain, just like every other urinal. In fact, in every respect, it was just like every other urinal, into which the common men of the time were relieving themselves in the public bathrooms around the world.

In 1917, an artist calling himself R. Mutt signed his name to such a urinal—said to be a Bedfordshire model bought at a foundry showroom on Fifth Avenue—and submitted it to an exhibition organized by the Society of Independent Artists, paying their $6 fee. Even though it was a nonjuried exhibit, open to anyone who paid the fee, the Society’s board took the extraordinary step of exercising jury powers. They turned down Mr. Mutt’s submission as not being art and returned the urinal to him with a rejection slip. Continue Reading


Guys-I propose a learning exercise for us. For the next 30 days, each day, read an article about gender/sexual politics written by a woman. Then, write down a few sentences about what you learned reading it (and perhaps some quotes you found valuable from the article), and share the article on your Facebook and other social media. 30 days. 30 articles.

This is called “Signal Boosting.” (I learned about it in the reading I’ve been doing since #MeToo started.) The idea is, for too long, the public sphere has been dominated by the voices of men, mostly talking to other men. So, one of the simplest things we men can do to change male-dominated society is to listen and learn from women, and then–giving full credit–provide a “signal boost” to the women’s voices we’ve learned from. And use our influence with other men to encourage them to listen and learn from women as well.

I’ll start. My next post on my social media feeds will be my first of #30DaysofSignalBoosting

Guys, at the end of your 30 days, create a final post with all 30 links of articles by women on the #MeToo movement that you read, and email/message me the list or tag me. I’ll start compiling all the articles on a site so that other men who want to participate can find a wealth of articles to start reading.

And, pssst… pass the word of this on to other men.

Our Witchy Little Matriarchy: The Goddesspell of Adey Bell #2: “The Daughter of Swords and the Son of Cups”

While many people are wearing plastic witch costumes today that they bought from Walmart… Here’s REAL-LIFE witch Adey Bell, in Episode 2 of my web series, “Our Witchy Little Matriarchy: The Goddesspell of Adey Bell.”

In this episode, entitled “The Daughter of Swords and the Son of Cups,” Adey reads cards from the audience at her recent gig at Jackson Wellsprings, interspersed with candid behind-the-scenes clips- then blesses us with a gorgeous rendition of her song “The Light.” Get your Wishcraft on… Happy Halloween everyone!

You’ll see in this video that her song choice matched the message she gave in her reading right before the song. She was doing this all night. I thought she was adjusting the readings to fit her preconceived setlist, but it turns out, no, she didn’t have a setlist. She was choosing her songs in the moment based on the readings. That just blew me away. A real-life live divination jukebox. Adey, you never cease to amaze….

For free music, tour dates, and new album updates, get on Adey’s list here


#IWasThatGuy – More times than I care to admit, in my long and tortured path of exploring my own sexuality. And I’m ashamed of it. And I’m terrified of admitting it in public. But nearly all the women I know are taking the courage to share in public their experiences of being on the receiving end of “that guy’s” inexcusable behavior (actually, dozens of “that guy’s” for each woman, reading the harrowing accounts that have been crossing my feed.) So guys, it’s time we develop the balls (or ball, in my case, ‘cuz I’ve only got one), step up and admit to and apologize for being that guy, however scary it is to do so, and whatever comes our way for doing it.

Here’s just one example, of many I could write about. Continue Reading

Douche Reform School*, Lesson 1: When She Says She Wants to Be “Just Friends”


You’ve brought a woman back to your place a after a date or a social gathering. You lean in for a kiss. She turns her head to the side, pulls back, and says, “Let’s just be friends.”

Douche moves:

  1. Assume it’s “token resistance,” that she really does want to hook up with you and she’s “playing hard to get,” and “she’s just saying that” (so as not to seem “easy” or “slutty.”
    1. Say, “No problem, I totally get it.” Wait five minutes. Then move in for another kiss.
    2. If she brushes you away again, and/or says, “I’m really not feeling that way about you,” wait another five minutes. Then move in again, and again, in five-minute intervals, until she has pushes you away, and asks you to leave.
  2. Try to convince her otherwise. Ask her a bunch of questions like, “Why aren’t you into me?” “What do the other guys have that I don’t have.” “What’s so wrong with me?” These are especially effective for the purposes of doucheness if said in a mopey, sorry-for-yourself tone.
  3. Lie (to her, to yourself, or both) and say, “OK, that’s cool, we can just be friends,” as if you actually wanted that. But then immediately let any enthusiasm you had about her vanish, fade away and stop returning her calls or calling her, and let the “friendship” die on the vine. Extra douche points if you’re super awkward and evasive when you see her or talk to her.
  4. Act/feel like she’s done something wrong and unfair to you, and blame her for your hurt. “You’ve been flirting with me all night. . .” “You’ve been giving me mixed signals for months. . .” “You led me on.” These might even be true to some degree (though you should be aware that science has proven guys are way overly-optimistic about even minor supposed “signals.” But even if these statements are true to some degree, it doesn’t mean she that just because she flirted or gave you any signals, she is obliged to take it further.) Worse: “You’re such a tease.”
  5. Say, in an upset, accusatory tone, “Fine, I should just go then,” and storm out. (This is especially douchey if it wasn’t a date or some other clear romantic context to begin with.)
  6. Worse, get angry at her. Reject her back, as if you were the one who rejected her first. As you storm out and slam the door, say “You’re not that hot anyways.”

Continue Reading

Guys: How Not to Be a Douche When Commenting on Threads About Feminism/Women’s Issues/Men’s Transgressions

Guys… we need to get something. Most of the time, when we comment on threads on Facebook and elsewhere about feminism, “women’s/trans/queer issues” (which should be EVERYONE’s issues), and/or men’s transgressions, we completely fuck it up. Then we get called “douches.” Then we get defensive, angry, and menacing for being called douches, and/or we get mopey and sad. Then we commit all the douchey things women are asking us not to do again in response, digging ourselves deeper. Then the dialogue (or more commonly, debate or flame war) ends when everyone involves gets too sick of continuing it. Then everyone leaves the encounter feeling even more shitty and like nothing was resolved.

Guys, we need to do better, and we can do better. Which is why I’m writing this post. To help us, at the very least, be less douchey starting right now, and ideally, not douchey at all and even constructive and supportive, if/when we choose to participate in the online dialogues and threads that are (understandably) becoming both more frequent, and more heated, now that we have a narcissistic, openly misogynist, paleo-patriarchal asshole in the White House

(Douchey being defined as, some combination of: arrogant, defensive, entitled, ignorant, willfully ignorant, tone-deaf, explicitly or implicitly sexist or misogynist, disrespectful, and/or condescending.) Continue Reading

Our Witchy Little Matriarchy: The Goddesspell of Adey Bell #1: “Moon Blood”

“Our Witchy Little Matriarchy: The Goddesspell of Adey Bell” – the new web series I’m creating. This episode is entitled “Moon Blood,” and it’s very… um… witchy. In the episode, we cover earth magic based on menstrual cycles, the suppressed role of Mary Magdalene in the Jesus story, the proper role of men in a matriarchy, and you also get to see a smoking-hot rendition of Adey Bell‘s song “Power,” live at Orcas Center, WA, 8/26/17.

This web series is a fan’s backstage perspective, replete with plenty of concert footage I’ve filmed over the years, documenting the journey of a masterful musician, and infinitely colorful character, who is gearing up for 2018 to be her breakout year. Continue Reading

6 Annoying Cliches of “Conscious Sexuality” and How to Move Past Them

Here is my second in a series of audio interviews with Michaela Boehm, one of the most subtle, advanced and wise teachers about sexuality, spirituality, and the intersection of the two, currently teaching.

Today’s interview gets controversial- it is entitled “6 Annoying Cliches About ‘Conscious Sexuality,’ and How to Move Past Them”

In this interview, we analyze several ideas about “masculine” and “feminine” that have become dogma within teaching about conscious sexuality.

Specifically, we examine the cliches that men are supposed to be “present, deep, and on purpose” in order to be masculine, whereas women are supposed to be a “wild storm of emotions, radiant, and surrendered” in order to be feminine.

These concepts have become so ingrained in the west coast workshop and personal development culture that we rarely step back to examine where the concepts might be leading us astray.

We discuss where these ideas came from, how they are misunderstood and misapplied, and ways to think about these concepts that don’t lock people into rigid pre-defined gender roles.

In this interview (linked from the comments section), Michaela teaches us about: Continue Reading