Transparency, or a Book Review

Book Review:  Write Right Online

by Andy Hayes

Transparency is a big buzz word around the internet these days.Everyone is supposed to be transparent and tell their audience every single little thing about them.  I like this trend.  At least I like it in others.  But when it is time for me to be transparent, I don't like it so well.

Heavy sigh.  Oh, alright, I'll be transparent today.

I'm way overdue in reviewing a book I agreed to review.  I just went back and checked the original email I got from the author, and it was exactly a month ago.  When Andy Hayes first asked me to review his latest Ebook, I agreed, and gaily told him not to expect the review for a week or so.  Ha!  Here it is, a month later, and I've not done it.

Because I think that this trend toward transparency is linked to integrity, I will admit that my failure to review the book rankles.  It makes me feel bad every time I think about it, and that is an energy drain that I don't need. 

But here's the deal: the reason I haven't reviewed the book is that sometimes book reviewing is hard.  Here this nice, handsome, Scotsman asks me to review his book and what if it is bad and I have to be honest and say so?  Those thoughts alone contributed to a delay in reading the book.

So finally I read the book and another problem rears its wee head: the book is good, very good, but it is difficult to review because it is, well, simple.  And that is a compliment because it is meant to be simple.  Write Right Online is intended as a collection of tips and ideas that will help the small business owner write better and more easily online.

Basically, the book lays out how to "express yourself online," and this includes not only writing tips but some talk about various Internet platforms and some ways you can tweak what you've already written.  Most "chapters" are one to two pages long, easily digestible and full of good information.  The book is divided into four sections, and introduction, wrap-up, and then the two meaty sections in the middle: "Putting Your Virtual Pen to Work," and "Tech Nuts and Bolts." 

In the chapter called "The Perfect Piece of Content," Hayes lays out a simple formula that can be followed by anybody, anywhere, on the web: write a great headline, then pull together killer content, and end with a call to action.  Another chapter's headline is "Write for Somebody, not Everybody."  This is one of the things I tell students and clients over and over again, in a slightly different guise: the specific is universal.

I think this book has a lot to recommend it and if you're in the need for some beginner tips on writing for the internet, or you need a bit of a refresher, its for you.

In case you are interested in buying the book:

Click here to visit Travel Online Partners.

And, full disclosure, the above is an affiliate link.

Okay, phew, being transparent isn't that hard after all.

The Accidental Vacation

I've been on hiatus.  Unlike when the television networks do this to one of their shows, this was not actually a planned break, just one of those things that happen once in awhile in the writing life.   Last week I moderated a panel at AWP, and as is the case with most conferences, didn't have a spare moment while I was there.

Since I've been home, its been wedding central.  Since my daughter is getting married, um, tomorrow, life has been hectic, moreso because we had about three weeks notice on the nuptials.  (And no, its not for the reason you think, her fiancee is being deployed by our beloved army.)

But I've also been enjoying life away from the computer.  Shocking, I know, but true.  I've not been on Twitter for over a week and I've been ignoring all but the most vital of emails. (Let's not even talk about the work projects I've temporarily set aside.)  Amazingly enough, the world hasn't ended. 

So all of this has been causing me to think, or Think, if you prefer.  I have some ideas (or Ideas) and will be sharing them with you soon.  In the meantime, I've got a house to finish cleaning before my sister arrives to stay with us this weekend.

Another Way to Get Publicity

Publicity for me, that is.  Here's the deal.  Drumroll please….Wordstrumpet is now an Alltop blog!

What is Alltop, you ask?  They call themselves a "digital magazine rack" and since I am a magazine harlot as well as a Wordstrumpet, I like that description.   What this means is that they gather up a bunch of sites for your reading pleasure.  Or, as they so eloquently put it, "in other words our goal is the 'cessation of internet stagnation' by providing 'aggregation without aggravation.'" 

And since the folks at Alltop are "highly subjective and judgmental" (their words, not mine) about who they include, I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to be a part of it. 

How does it work?  Head on over to the writing page at Alltop and you'll see several feeds listed, including mine, down there at the bottom.  Also listed are the headlines of the five most recent posts, which you can then run your cursor over to get an instant preview to see if you want to read it.  Cool, huh?

I'm heading over to get one of their kick-ass badges to put up, but first I need to thank Frank Marafiote, who got me going on Alltop in the first place.  Thanks, Frank!