Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WA Bookshelf: You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins

A few months ago I started following a blog called Jeff Goins Writer. I blog stalked for a bit and found mysef impressed with the way Jeff fills pages. So much so that I downloaded his Manifesto and will soon be taking his email course, Intentional Blogging.  I was one of 100 lucky ducks to receive an advance copy of Jeff’s upcoming eBook, You Are a Writer, to review right here on Whitfield Awesome.  

You Are a Writer is half pep talk, half marketing course. The pep talk is for anyone with a dream.  We all either have a dream or a lying problem. Sure, the focus of this book is writing, but much of it can be applied elsewhere. The marketing course covers the marketing of YOU. You know, that extremely important part that writers (and artists and bloggers and...) seem to forget about or vehemently deny that they need.  

I will argue to my death that, in most cases, an odd number of things is better than an even number of things. AND the best number of things is three. Obviously this does not apply to things like babies or rashes.1 Jeff seems to agree with me on this as he offers up a rashy baby-load2 of three steps...3 steps to others loving what you do, 3 tools every writer needs, 3 important parts of building a platform, 3 elements of every brand, 3 must-have relationships that will extend your reach, 3 ways to start building a fan base, 3 ways to build a relationship, 3 steps to get potential patrons to notice you. He also gives you three samples for pitching your work. This man loves a trio! And I love an ebook written by a man who loves a trio. 

Jeff's credibility comes from experience, some of which he shares in
You Are a Writer. He recognizes that writing is hard. He knows that rejection and criticism are part of writing. He also knows that it's all worth it in the end.
The more I wrote, the more comfortable I became with my voice. As I looked around, I saw how my writing resonated with others. Before I knew it, I had a brand, a unique writing style that attracted others. And I had no idea. 
In fact, a friend had to tell me, “Jeff, you’ve found your voice,” before I would believe it. 
Maybe you’ll need the same reminder. That’s why we can’t simply practice in a corner somewhere in a darkly lit room.  You’ve got to get out in the world and share your work. Otherwise, you’ll always doubt yourself. 
Your brand is waiting. You just need to find it. 
(Excerpt from You Are a Writer) 
All that being said, Jeff gives the entire book away in the introduction. Just write. That's really all you need to know. But that's somehow both way too specific and way too vague to be of much help. Not to mention that a struggling writer who just downloaded an ebook with only two words in it would probably go Annie Wilkes crazy. Though I don't know Jeff personally, I feel that he is the sort of writer who likes both of his feet. And this is precisely3 why he fleshes out the statement "just write" in 100 pages that teach you how to "fall back in love with your craft and build a platform". 

Should you like to read
You Are a Writer, and I highly suggest that you do if you call yourself a blogger, journalist, author, student or human, it will be available for download soon. Keep an eye on Jeff's blog for details. (He is also preparing a couple of websites related to the book - I will add those and the book link here as soon as they are live.) I am going to take Jeff's advice and stop thinking about and talking about writing. I am going to write. Because I am a writer. Just not at 5 a.m. - that's when I am a sleeper.

UPDATE 4.30.12: is live!  The ebook may also be purchased via Amazon. Stay tuned for the official launch and the Barnes and Noble link.

1 My opinion. Jeff Goins did not mention babies or rashes. He should have as they are both ratings dynamos. 
2 Calling coin on that. Calling coin is totally legit. You must now credit me and/or pay royalties every time you use the term "rashy baby-load". And you know you want to use it. You should also know that I know lawyers. 
3 No it's not. 

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