Cover image for Webster's New World letter writing handbook
Webster's New World letter writing handbook
Bly, Robert W.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Indianapolis : Wiley, [2004]

Physical Description:
xvi, 584 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PE1483 .B58 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Expert tips and 300 sample letters make business and personal correspondence a snap.
When trying to close a sale, answer a complaint, or offer thanks, a well-crafted letter can make all the difference. Packed with practical advice and 300 easy-to-adapt sample letters, this all-purpose guide shows readers how to write letters that get results -at work and at home.
Covering the nuts-and-bolts of letter writing as well as the secrets of high-impact prose, the book delivers proven recipes for attention-grabbing introductions, persuasive arguments, memorable phrases, and closing clinchers. Best of all, it offers guidance on business and personal letters for every circumstance, from job hunting, selling, fundraising, and asking favors to giving a reprimand, responding to criticism, expressing sympathy, and declining gracefully. It's the only reference anyone will ever need to write the perfect letter, whatever the occasion.

Author Notes

Robert W. Bly is the Director of the Center for Technical Communication He has been a copywriter and consultant for more than twenty years, and is the author of more than forty-five books

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Part I Letter Writing Basicsp. 3
Prewriting Planningp. 3
Twelve Rules for Better Letter Writingp. 7
Tonep. 15
Layouts and Suppliesp. 16
Letter Writing Advice from Lewis Carrollp. 20
Persuasion in Printp. 24
Special Considerations for Writing about Technologyp. 28
Part II Personal Correspondencep. 33
Letters that Strengthen Relationshipsp. 33
Information Lettersp. 44
Requestsp. 51
Letters that Require Special Handlingp. 62
Part III Career and Employment Lettersp. 71
Cover Letters and Job Inquiriesp. 71
Resumesp. 84
After the Interviewp. 92
Letters from Employers to Potential Employeesp. 100
Letters of Recommendation and Introductionp. 106
Query Lettersp. 111
Part IV General Business Correspondencep. 117
Communicating Business Informationp. 117
Networking Business Lettersp. 124
Business Requestsp. 135
Invitationsp. 154
Special Requests: Sponsorship, Fundraising, and Donation Lettersp. 162
Letters of Confirmation and Acknowledgmentp. 173
Tough Situationsp. 177
Part V Internal Communicationp. 189
FYI Internal Memosp. 190
Internal Requestsp. 192
Announcementsp. 197
Management Issuesp. 212
Meetingsp. 228
Reports in Memo Formatp. 233
Part VI Customer Service Correspondencep. 243
Relationship-Building Lettersp. 244
Routine Customer Correspondencep. 260
Sensitive Customer Correspondencep. 278
Tips for Effective Client Communicationp. 296
Part VII Sales and Marketing Lettersp. 317
Types of Sales Lettersp. 318
Selling by Invitationp. 342
Generating Leadsp. 359
Inquiry-Fulfillment Lettersp. 367
After-Sale Lettersp. 375
Nonprofit Fundraisingp. 387
Part VIII Credit, Collection, and Billingp. 393
Billing Lettersp. 393
When the Account Is in Collectionsp. 400
When the Collection Is in Disputep. 417
Working Out Arrangementsp. 420
Lines of Creditp. 426
Part IX Vendor Communicationsp. 437
Letters Requesting Informationp. 437
Letters Expressing Dissatisfactionp. 445
Letters Regarding Bids, Contracts, and Agreementsp. 455
Letters that Strengthen the Client/Vendor Relationshipp. 471
Common or Possible Client-to-Vendor Requestsp. 475
Letters Regarding Payment Problemsp. 484
Other Letters to Vendorsp. 488
Part X E-Mail and Fax Correspondencep. 495
Differences Between E-Mail and Regular Lettersp. 495
E-Mail Structural Componentsp. 496
Writing E-Mail Messages that get Opened and Readp. 500
Reply Wiselyp. 501
Know the Emotional Connotations of Punctuation and Grammarp. 503
Consider the Look of Your Messagep. 504
Internet Direct-Mail Marketing Messagesp. 505
Where to Get Your E-Marketing Listsp. 511
Fax Correspondencep. 512
Appendix A Formatsp. 517
Rules and Optionsp. 517
Sample Formatsp. 518
Appendix B Useful Letter Writing Aidsp. 529
Addresses, Enclosures, and CC'sp. 529
Two Poemsp. 530
Capitalizationp. 532
Punctuation Marksp. 533
Grammar Guidep. 534
Cliches to Avoidp. 535
Sound-Alike Wordsp. 536
Tips on Tonep. 539
Online Acronymsp. 540
Big Wordsp. 541
Wordy Phrasesp. 543
Redundanciesp. 545
Frequently Misspelled Wordsp. 547
Antiquated Phrasesp. 549
More Antiquated Phrasesp. 549
Sexist Termsp. 553
Abbreviationsp. 553
Appendix C Mailing and Shippingp. 559
United States Postal Service ( 559
United Parcel Service ( 559
FedEx ( 559
Glossaryp. 561
Indexp. 567