Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Writing Accelerated (Ian Stables)

Book Writing Accelerated
Ian Stables
Amazon Digital Services
Nonfiction, Writing
* (Terrible)

DESCRIPTION: Learn a simple, fast way to organize book writing, from research to finishing touches.
A Kindle-exclusive title.

REVIEW: It's a bad sign when the first thing you find in a book purporting to be about professional writing is a defensive statement about how grammar rules are only for "college textbooks" and not necessary for the author's style. This is like saying that basic arithmetic is only for rocket scientists. It makes me question whether or not this is a man educated and experienced enough to teach me anything, plus it's a very unprofessional tone to strike - especially when he simply meant to say that his grammar is colloquial, a statement that shouldn't need two and a half pages to defend. (It also makes me more likely to notice grammar errors... and there were many, so many that I wondered if he owned a word processing program with a simple grammar check at all.) Stables then goes on to defend his short books - again, assuming that I had downloaded his title simply to criticize him. His thesis here is that one shouldn't need a long book to learn anything if those other lazy writers just cut the fat and got right to the salient points - a flawed message, especially as Stables himself could've easily trimmed this eBook by a third or more. So, right out of the gate, I have an author with no respect for the basic building blocks of the language and who feels the need to defend his own works while denigrating others. This isn't much of a welcome mat, as I cross the threshold into his book.
So, what does Stables actually teach, in this book he took so much time and effort to defend before I set eyes on it? Very little one can't find elsewhere - and he teaches it in a circular, wandering, dull manner that had my eyes glazing long before he reached his chapter-ending summaries. He also undermines his own credentials, not simply by refusing to acknowledge the value of grammar but by poor editing (more than one sentence is indecipherable, plus there's a memorable bit where he advises authors to ask the six fundamental question prompts - which number seven when he spells them out.) He lauds the value of speaking as one would "to a friend", even using a microphone to record one's speech so one's natural "voice" carries through - but seems entirely oblivious to software like Dragon Naturally Speaking, which would eliminate his next step of transcribing said audio files (or paying someone else to do it via Fiverr.) If you're going to talk out your book anyway, why do extra work, especially in a method that's supposed to be about "Book Writing Accelerated"? And what hole has Stables been living in, that he's unaware of speech-to-text software? He says at the outset that one should learn a subject before attempting to teach it via a book - so why didn't he learn about this? Doesn't he use his own method?
If you've never read any other how-to-write books, I suppose you might pick up a few pointers here. Otherwise, I'd look elsewhere... preferably somewhere with a little more respect for the reader than to automatically assume we're all grammar hawks out to nitpick authors to death.

You Might Also Enjoy:
Write That Book Already! (Sam Barry and Kathi Kamen Goldmark) - My Review
Write As Fast As You Think (Angie Dixon) - My Review
Words to Write By (Elaine L. Orr) - My Review

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