Reviews of Writing Books

The Internet Writing Journal, September 2000

The Complete Guide to Book Publicity by Jodee Blanco

Allworth Press, April 2000.
Paperback, 277 pages.
ISBN: 1581150466
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The Complete Guide to Book Publicity
by Jodee Blanco This comprehensive reference about book publicity provides a great deal of information about promoting books and the book industry itself. The book covers a variety of promotion topics, including types of book campaigns, media research, pitching the media, how to interview, author tours, promotional budgets, hiring outside publicists and general, helpful information about how the media operates. A very good chapter, entitled "How to Write the Perfect Press Kit," helps authors and publicists create a knock-out press kit, and provides helpful advice, tips and sample materials. The book also includes sample press releases, author bios and cover letters. The section on author tours is also excellent, providing information on books that shouldn't be toured, the costs of book tours, how to locate media escorts and how to book features. A final, helpful chapter entitled, "Crisis Management," provides suggestions for how to turn things around when something doesn't go as planned, such as when media arrangements are bumped by breaking news.

Author Jodee Blanco is a prominent book publicist and president of the public relations firm Blanco & Peace Enterprises, Ltd. She has managed book campaigns for over fifteen New York Times bestselling authors. This is a must-have for any serious novelist in today's market, where marketing opportunities must be carefully planned and seized. In addition, this is also a great reference for professional book publicists and anyone involved with book sales.

The Penguin Dictionary of American English Usage and Style by Paul W. Lovinger

Viking, July 2000.
Hardcover, 491 pages.
ISBN: 0670891665
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The Penguin Dictionary of American English Usage and Style
by Paul W. Lovinger This handy English usage and style guide is presented in dictionary form and cross-referencing is provided to help readers find information quickly. Readers can look up words and phrases such as latter, nevertheless, imply and infer, regardless, loose and lose and "could care less" to find out where and how to use them properly, and to locate answers to any grammar or usage problems commonly associated with these terms. The book provides special help sections as well. Look up punctuation in order to alleviate any confusion you have about colons, commas, hyphens, exclamation points, parentheses and question marks. Look up confusing pairs and you will find advice on using commonly confused pairs such as arrant and errant, precede and proceed, moral and morale and disassemble and dissemble. Other helpful sections discuss plurals and singulars, pronouns, series errors, tense and modifiers. One of the more interesting, and often humorous, aspect of the book is that it frequently points out grammar and usage mistakes from newspaper editorials, speeches, ads and other writings. This book is packed with advice, tips and definitions to help writers chose the correct word form in their writing, and would be a great addition to your reference bookshelf.

The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman

Fanove, August 2000.
Trade Paperback, 282 pages.
ISBN: 0967059844
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The Well-Fed Writer
by Peter Bowerman As the clever title suggests, this book offers suggestions, advice and examples that can help freelancers make a good living. The book focuses on writing for corporations, which typically offer the biggest paychecks. Some of these types of writing include writing ad copy, newsletters, business letters, event scripting, video scripting, ghost writing, trade articles, technical writing, speech writing, website copy and writing brochures for corporations. So, how much can you make? According to the guide's "How Much Do I Charge?" chapter, creative writing such as marketing work and ad copy can pay in the $50-$125/hour range and video scripting can pay $80-200 per-finished-minute (pfm). Good pay ranges can be earned for the other types of corporate writing, as well. Information and advice about negotiations, written contracts, bid letters, charging for revisions and kill fees is also given in this informative chapter. Another very helpful section in the book includes sample business letters, marketing letters, direct mail, brochures, and articles.

Peter Bowerman has only been a freelance commerical writer for six years, but in that six years he has done some amazing things and written a large amount of material for excellent pay. Bowerman has freelanced for a corporate client list that includes the Coca-Cola Company, MCI, Holiday Inn, Discover Channel and American Express. In addition to sharing his inspiring and practical tips and thoughts, Bowerman also offers insight into the lifestyle, the clients, self-employment and the technical gadgets and software needed to make a freelance career a success. You may be more interested in writing poetry or fiction, but Bowerman tells you it's better to pay the bills with commercial freelance writing first. "If you are trying to go the "purist" route -- writing only articles and books -- and you end up moonlighting to make ends meet, you might as well do something closer to your field that actually pays well. Then, with the bills paid, you've got the time and space to pursue that arena of writing which really lights you up -- that future Oscar, Pulitzer, Emmy or Tony award-winning screenplay, novel, TV series or Broadway play," suggests Bowerman. Bowerman can't do the work for you, but he does tell you everything you need to know about corporate freelancing in The Well-Fed Writer.

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