4 out of 4 stars
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Isn’t it exciting when you begin reading a book, and within a few pages you can tell the writing is crisp and lean, the paragraphs are well-structured, and the book is going to be great? That's what happened when I read Book Blueprint: How Any Entrepreneur Can Write an Awesome Book. Elegant in every way, this book-writing manual is exactly what you’ll need to take on writing your first business manual, self-help book, or memoir.
The book’s author, Jacqui Pretty, is the founder and head editor of Grammar Factory, a writing, editing, and coaching company that helps entrepreneurs write great books that ultimately promote their businesses. Based in Australia, Pretty has worked with over 100 entrepreneurs to help them bring interest and credibility to their work through writing and publishing books. “A published book earns you instant credibility and establishes you as a leader in your industry.” Once you have achieved this status, Pretty claims, you begin to reap the benefits that come with being an expert: media exposure, speaking engagements, higher income and more. So what are the essential ingredients in writing an exceptional book?
Book Blueprint is neatly divided into four sections. “The Right Idea” stresses the importance of distilling your message and matching your idea with the right book type. Once your idea is solid, “The Right Structure” will have you wowing readers with your content, and they won’t even realize it is because of your clean and compelling organizational structure. Section three, “The Right Content,” emphasizes breaking up the text by engaging the reader with questions, activities and action items. And finally, “The Right Language” describes how your unique voice will set your book apart from every other book. And you can leave your jargon and corporate-speak at the door; plain English, simple words, and short sentences, says Pretty, are what readers crave.
Book-writing manuals can get mired in discipline, writing schedules, and book length, but never offer clear insights on crafting the theme, structure or language. Right out of the gate in chapter one, Pretty asserts that successful book ideas are found at the intersection of three elements: your passion as the author, your knowledge on the subject, and your reader’s needs. According to the author, many books fail because they focus only on passion or knowledge, but ignore the audience. Book Blueprint offers a strong focus on mapping out the needs of target readers. Pretty believes that adhering to this three-element formula will position your idea and thus your book far above the rest.
The section on structure is solid. It outlines the importance of good organization in engaging your target reader. The author states, “The greatest benefit of a clear structure is that it makes you sound like you know what you’re talking about.” If you sound like you are an expert, most will keep reading. She employs simple but effective mind-mapping exercises as a way to create and develop the structure for your book.
Jacqui Pretty takes her own advice and provides the reader with tangible action steps in the form of exercises and worksheets that will ultimately become a detailed outline of your book. Book Blueprint is a seamless read, either in one sitting or as a section-by-section manual. If I wanted to write a book, I would read this one straight through once, just for the enjoyment of reading an excellent book. I would then start all over again, dig in on the exercises in earnest, and create the blueprint of my book.
I rate Book Blueprint 4 out of 4 stars. Each word, sentence, chapter, and section is carefully crafted to serve the stated theme. The author follows her own prescriptions throughout, using a tight structure and well-spaced exercises to engage the reader and flesh out the lessons. The language is consistent and the instructions easy to follow. I did not find any editing errors in the book.
If you are looking for a book that cracks the whip to get you to your keyboard, this may not work for you. Yes, there is plenty of encouragement to write in this book. But, at heart, it is a brilliantly organized, step-by-step guidebook for each phase of the book-writing process. Jacqui Pretty won’t only teach you how to write a book; she will convince you that you can write a book, and will leave you with your very own first draft. Pretty declares in the introduction, “The goal is that by the time you finish all of the exercises, you will have a blueprint that’s so detailed your book will write itself.” After reading this book, I believe her.
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