Mastering the craft and understanding the mechanics of writing self-help and how-to books is the key to getting publishers to take notice of your work. Now, in the first guide to writing self-help and how-to books, Jean Stine offers an insider’s view of this growing genre. Her easy-to-follow program takes you step-by-step through the complete writing process. You’ll learn the importance of:
* Structure and Style
* Clear, easy-to-understand exercises
* Creating catchy and compelling titles, subtitles, and chapter headings
* Using lists, charts, and graphs to maximum effect
* Checklists and other interactive elements
* Writing a proposal that sells
* Negotiating permissions for quotations, photos, and illustrations
* Preparing your manuscript for presentation to a publisher
This is an interesting book. While it’s full of some good information, there are two things that stand in the way of it being a great book.
First, the title is misleading. This isn’t a book on writing a self-help/how-to book; it’s a book on selling a self-help/how-to manuscript to a publisher. There is a little bit of information on writing, but the majority of the book is about writing a successful book proposal and formatting your manuscript properly. While it was interesting (and somewhat helpful) information, it wasn’t what I was expecting from the book title.
The next big issue with the book is its age–written in 1997, it hasn’t been updated, but the publishing industry has changed. Authors no longer type out manuscripts and mail them. Agents aren’t an option when it comes to large publishers. And with the popularity and availability of self-publishing, authors now need platforms before they contact publishers. All of that information is either missing from this book or outdated. I’d love to see a second edition of this book to update; without an update, much of the information is worthless.
Overall, not exactly what I was expecting. There was some helpful material, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending this to a new author because they wouldn’t know which information was good and which information was outdated.
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