Thursday 18 May 2017

Non-Fiction Book Review: James Scott Bell x2

by Andrea Grigg

For all your writers out there, I’ve got two beauties for you, both written by the highly-esteemed James Scott Bell. This man knows his stuff, believe me. Let me introduce you to the first book, one that leapt out at me simply because of the title:

Marketing For Writers Who Hate Marketing.

The tagline’s great, too: The No-Stress Way to Sell Books Without Losing Your Mind.

I know, right?

I don’t totally hate marketing, but I know a lot of writers who do, writers who wish they could just hide in their garrets and pound their keyboards, and not have to worry about beastly old marketing. If you’re one of those people, then this book is for you. And if you’re not, then this book is still for you.

I’m paring down a lot of things in my life at the moment, and Marketing For Writers Who Hate Marketing totally hits the spot. For a start, it’s short. According to the ‘about the book’ pop-up, it can be read in one hour and thirty-eight minutes. I read it in less than that, but I’ll be going back to it many times. I’ll tell you why.

As James Scott Bell (a.k.a. JSB) points out on the second page, “You don’t have to love marketing, nor do you have to get sucked into its vortex in order to be good at it.”

Reassuring, hey? Empowering, even.

He goes on to prioritize the basics (yay for basics!), and explains them succinctly in manageable, bite-sized chunks. He states the number one marketing tool (nope, I’m not telling, but you’ll be relieved when you find out what it is) and then outlines the importance of a book’s first impression, the cover. There’s a whole chapter devoted to it. Then comes the following:

·      Tips for writing cover copy, your elevator pitch, a tagline, your author bio, the opening pages
·      An explanation of the mysteries of categories, keywords and search terms
·      Advice on pricing your book and the variables involved; advice concerning giveaways
·      What’s needed in a website, your Amazon author page
·      Advice on book launches, reviews, and key influencers
·      A chapter each on Live Networking, Things That Suck Time, (funnily enough there’s no mention of Social Media in that one, although it is mentioned in another chapter), 15 Things That Cost Money, and more.

Another chapter is devoted to Short Writing as a Marketing Tool, which I found totally intriguing, and leads straight into my second - albeit brief - review:

How To Write Short Stories and Use Them to Further Your Writing Career.

I found this fascinating. Like novellas, short stories have their place, mainly because ‘time is of the essence’ more than ever. Short stories can be used as giveaways for people who sign up to your email list, or in a collection to be read on the bus or train on the way to work.

JSB suggests a short story should be between 1000-7000 words. Obviously, they’re quicker to write, but there’s a unique skill to it, which he explains beautifully.

Within this ‘short’ book, JSB explains exactly what a short story is and outlines the structure; gives a “big key” then shows you how to use it; suggests publishing strategies; gives easy-to-follow steps to put your short story up on Amazon Kindle Select program (should you wish to do so). The book also includes five short stories (one of which is by JSB himself) all of them containing the elements outlined.

At $3.99 USD each, Marketing For Writers Who Hate Marketing, and How to Write Short Stories and Use Them to Further Your Writing Career, are fantastic value, and well-worth purchasing for your writing craft library.

Andrea Grigg lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and is author of two contemporary Christian romance novels, and a novella. She would love to connect with you via: 
Twitter: @andreagrigg


  1. I've recently judged a short story contest, and can see from that there is a definite skill in writing a good short story. I'd seen the short story book on Amazon, and wondered about the thought behind it. Thanks for the review.

    And of course I need to buy and read the marketing book - I'm always collecting new marketing ideas (or seeking to further validate my current ideas), and it's great to have an insight from someone with this kind of history in both traditional and indie publishing.

    1. JSB is definitely a go-to guy for good advice, isn't he? I was so impressed with him when we heard him at RWNZ. Think you'd ever try writing a short story, Iola?

  2. Thanks Andrea for these great reviews on two of JSB's books. I'm always open to time-effective no-fuss marketing strategies. I started writing short stories about 3 years ago and it has been a great way to get my work out there while working on getting my novels published. It's also helped my writing skills.

    1. Seriously thinking about writing a short story or two myself, Jeanette. Really can see the value of them more than ever, both for readers and writers. Thanks for commenting :)

  3. Andrea, great reviews! The books are now on my tbr list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.