Write Your Book In A Flash by Dan Janal published by TCK Publishing is intended to guide professionals through writing a business-oriented non-fiction book, but has many useful tips for fiction writers as well. I recommend this book for everyone who is thinking about writing a book.
Why I picked it up:
I received an email from Maria Inot of TCK Publishing asking if I would be interested in giving an honest review in exchange for a free copy. She said she liked the review I did for How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method (Advanced Fiction Writing) (Volume 1) by Randy Ingermanson. I’m always interested in books about writing, so I agreed.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I hoped it would have information that would apply to fiction writing as well as non-fiction writing and provide me with new, actionable information. I was not disappointed.
Executives, consultants and entrepreneurs looking to broaden their audience and improve their marketing. He also gears it toward “thought leaders”, as in anyone who has an idea that they want to show or share with others.
What I liked:
I liked a lot of things about the book. First, was Mr. Janal’s voice. He came across as a self-help coach/salesman from the first page. It was the voice of someone who knew you came to him for something in particular and he couldn’t wait to help you find exactly what you wanted.
The structure of the book was (mostly) in a clear building order, so by following his example, you would have a finished product by the end. I liked how he created interactivity by providing free, downloadable worksheets to work along with each chapter and useful links to tools and examples.
I also enjoyed the meta aspect of using how he created this book as examples for how to created a book. Even the parts that were very specific to non-fiction, I found inspiring for ideas for this site, or other aspects of my writing.
What I didn’t like:
I didn’t think the Paint-by-Numbers system was anything more than creating a good outline, which in itself is a great thing to learn, so the metaphor may not have been necessary. In chapter fifteen Mr. Janal uses a different metaphor of bones, muscle and skin which made me think of the writer as Dr. Frankenstein building his monster. That definitely appeals to me more than a paint-by-numbers kit (could just be me).
I felt like a lot of the research section should have come much earlier. One should research the competition before choosing a title, for instance, and using reviews to find out what readers think is missing would be important to know, before writing your outline. Since this book and its worksheets are set up as a step-by-step how-to, I was surprised to find this useful, insightful information so out of place, in my opinion.
There were a couple things I thought could have been changed to make the book appeal to a wider audience. I thought using the story of Papa John’s could have been replaced with a different example and I wouldn’t have said “don’t be a pantser” as many writers identify as such. The explanation as to why was well explained, but finding a way to include pantsers would be more inclusive.
Rating: ♦♦♦♦ 4 out of 5
Overall, I found Mr. Janal knowledgeable and his technique clear and straightforward. I liked that he made the book interactive with downloadable worksheets and useful links. I thought the chapters on outlining could probably have been one chapter or needed more information, especially since his whole metaphor of a paint-by-numbers painting had to do with outlining. However, I really liked this book. I have already explored some of the tips and filled out the worksheets. It is full of useful information. I am going to keep this one on my bookshelf. I recommend it to all writers, bloggers, and people trying to reach a larger audience.