Writing in a time-crunched world
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The Book Review and Testimonial- A Rant

Stressed-out-woman I had to turn down the invitation to write a book review, recently. The book, a business book, was okay - but that was the problem. It was just "okay". There was no originality in it. The author, to her credit, had written the book as a result of many experiences that showed a book of its kind was needed.

If she had done her due diligence - research into the topic - she would have discovered that there are hundreds of books just like the one she wrote. Not only that, but dozens of them mirror the exact language and content. No, she did not copy anyone else. She spoke from the heart and shared advice she felt was needed in the workplace. As I read through the PDF she sent me, I couldn't help but shake my head in sadness. "Been there, done that," I muttered to myself.

As hard as I wanted to like the book, I couldn't. As hard as I wanted to find something different, unique, and useful in the book, I couldn't. I know I'm being hard on the author because there is no doubt that a lot of entrepreneurs and new business owners need this advice, however, I cannot believe anyone opening a business today wouldn't have researched their idea and its business potential, whereupon they Stack of books would have found the other books on the same subject.

This book could be a business tool for the author.  I believe she can use it to gain new clients. She can offer it to new clients as a gift or as part of a seminar. She can share it with networking groups  - to help newbies ramp up to their business potential. But, I doubt it will do well on the open market. If it does, I'll eat my notes.

As a final remark - I want to say that I get offered books on a regular basis. I choose to review them after considering the topic, the author's background, and the relevance to my readers on Lip-sticking. I have given up using the testimonials on the back of books. For the most part, testimonials written by so called 'celebrities' (think household names in the business of business), are canned notes expressing cliched phrases. I am not moved by a celebrity saying the book is good, or that everyone should read it, or that it's a step-by-step anything.

Testimonials should be original recommendations. If you read the book and you liked it, say so. Then, share why. Point out something in the book that moved you. If all you can say is, " This book is an outline..." or "This book has actionable advice..." or "This book is a must-have for all libraries," I am left wondering... "Outline? I guess it is - it's a book, each chapter is part of an outline; what is it about the outline that's going to be useful to me?"

And, "Actionable advice? How so? Give me an example so I can look for it as I read."

And, "Must have? Why? What is it about this book that makes it a must have, as opposed to all other books like it?"

That's my rant. If you're writing a business book, make sure there aren't thousands just like it. If there are and you're sure yours is going to be different - ask someone who doesn't know you - who isn't related to you - isn't afraid of hurting your feelings, and take their response seriously. If you are seeking testimonials, try to excerpt parts of the paragraphs people send you that aren't cliched or overused - be aware of the same-old, same-old comments. If that's all you get, gently ask the person is they mind if you paraphrase their response.


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