A review of reviews of Ann Handley’s ‘Everybody Writes’
I wanted to write a review of Ann Handley’s new book, Everybody Writes but a few dozen people beat me to it.
So instead, here’s a review of the reviews of Ann Handley’s new book Everybody Writes.
by Alex Barca on the Curata blog
Alex gets straight to the point and offers four reasons we all need this book next to our desks (it’s comprehensive, fun to read, humanises content and is inspiring – sorry if I over-boiled that Alex but this is the age of the short atten-).
She then follows up with an interview with Ann (Ann gives really good interviews). I like her answer to the question, ‘Why did you write the book?’:
“I wrote this book because I couldn’t find what I wanted—part writing guide, part handbook on the rules of good sportsmanship in content marketing (based on the rules of journalism, in part), and all-around reliable desk companion for anyone creating or directing content on behalf of brands.”
Which is about as good a description of the book as you’d expect from the person who wrote it and who also is such a good writer that she wrote a book about writing.
by Charlotte Litley on the Bad Language blog
I don’t think Ann would approve of Charlotte’s opening line, “Ann Handley is Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs and our very own Matthew Stibbe is speaking at their 2014 B2B Marketing Forum in Boston in October.” It kind of jumps too fast to a tangential promotional message, cramming Matthew Stibbe right up against Ann in an unseemly sentence. But hey, that’s a quibble.
Charlotte then gives a quick summary of each chapter of Handley’s book. It’s a good tactic if you’re not sure how to structure a book review – which I’m (clearly) not. I’ve used exactly this technique before (when I reviewed Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In – which is, like Ann Handley’s book ‘Everybody Writes‘, excellent). (Did I just do a Stibbe?). (It felt relevant).
Charlotte ends with a well-chosen quote from Nancy Duarte in the foreword to Ann’s book (Everybody Writes). Nancy says, “‘This book inspires you to become a stronger writer. And it does so with style’.” I agree both with Nancy and with Charlotte on this.
by Tim Miles on the Miles & Co blog
Okay, I’m starting to see a pattern in headlines about Ann Handley’s new book, Everybody Writes. They all have the title of the book in the headline and they all mention Ann Handley. I think this is a good idea and I hereby adopt it for my own meta-review.
Tim does, however, kind of spoil his otherwise tidy headline with that Tourettes-like brackety-shout, “[VIDEO]“. I guess if I’d gone to the trouble of doing a video review of Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes, I’d want people to know about it right up front. People like video a lot more than they like book reviews which is why Google never paid a squajillion dollars for a website called BookReviewTube.
It’s a good video. Tim has a natural telegenic thing going on. The audio is a bit boomy but who am I, Quentin Tanrantino? [I am not].
[Oddly, and, decidedly asidedly, the headline “A review of Ann Handley’s new book, Everybody Writes” scored only a 33% EMV (Emotional Marketing Value) on the Advanced Marketing Institute’s (free!) Headline Analyzer that I recently heard about on a podcast that had Sarah Mitchell in it.
So I pumped up the emotion and tested the headline, “Why I passionately love Ann Handley’s new book, ‘Everybody Writes'” and, baffingly, got a 30% EMV. Adding ‘love’ and ‘passion’ actually lost me three emotion points. Getting desperate, I went all Buzzfeed with, “7 reasons I adore Ann Handley’s new book, ‘Everybody Writes’ – the third one will shock you stupid till you drool like I did.” and what did I get? Still a measley 30%. To which I can only say, what the HELL does the Advanced Marketing Institute want from a headline?]
Tim is clearly a student of books about writing because he gives a list of his favourite books about writing, to which he has just added Ann Handley’s new book, Everybody Writes.
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down The Bones
- On Writing by Stephen King
- The Wizard of Ads by Roy H. Williams
- Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.
- And now Everybody Writes by even-you-by-now-know-who
[I am SO glad the links came with that cut & pasted list.]
[Bird by Bird?!]
This is a formidable list and if I were Ann (which, I assure you, despite the weirdness of this post which might, to a reader of, say Nabokov, hint that I am indeed Ann Handley disguised as Doug Kessler writing a book review about my own book, I am not and have never been) I would be really honoured to be on it.
Tim, like Charlotte, does a whistlestop tour of the six sections of the book (you know the one) and ends with, “(Oh, and PS – I’m not affiliated with Ann in any way. She didn’t pay us or provide us with a review copy of the book or anything. We just thought it was—as my four-year-old-for-another-week daughter says—a big ole’ bucket of crazy awesome!)“
Which is either the coolest disclosure statement I’ve seen in a while or a bit of a whinge that Ann didn’t even give the guy a free book despite all he’s done for her. Or both.
In any case, I wish Tim’s daughter a very happy fourth birthday which has probably now long passed. (They grow up so darn fast.) I don’t know about you, but I think Tim (or his wife or brother or something) prompted his daughter to say that cute thing about a ‘big ole bucket of crazy awesome’. I mean, she wasn’t even four. [This is not churlish. Just because someone taught her to say something cute does not detract from the fact that it patently is cute.] We both, you and I, need to move on now.
Customer Reviews: Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
Oh, man, this is a whole new barrel of reviews. I can’t review them all but there are some doozies in there (admittedly a few are by Anne’s friends but can you seriously look at me and tell me that if you’d written a book and it was on Amazon your friends wouldn’t get on there and post some great review action for you? Of course they would.)
It doesn’t get much better than this:
One stingy thing (hard g stingy (painful) not soft g stingy (miserly)): the Amazon listing quotes ‘From the back cover, praise for Everybody Writes’ and lists the blurbs by David Meerman Scott and Brian Clark and Kristina Halvorson and Ardath Albee and Jay Baer and Andrew M Davis and it does not list mine. And I did a really good (and sincere) gushy one for her!
So someone — Ann or her publisher or someone – decided that either my quote was NOT as good as I thought it was (it so was) or, far more likely, decided that Doug Kessler just doesn’t carry the whomp of a David Meerman Scott or a Brian Clark or a Kristina Halvorson or an Ardath Albee or a Jay Baer or an Andrew M Davis.
[Pause for the sheer audacity of that to sink in.]
Okay, I can see their point.
But it still stings.
(Maybe this is why Ann hasn’t sent me a copy of her new book: because I got dropped from the back cover and she didn’t want to hurt my feelings. Well she should have thought about that before she let that publisher prick dump me is all I can say. And anyhow, did she think I wouldn’t get a copy and find out? Sheesh.)
[Even shorter pause while I get over myself…. 2…1….. I’m good.]
The Amazon reviews are all enthusiastic but in a convincing way not in a ‘her friend wrote that’ kind of way. Here are some headlines:
“Ridiculously valuable reference for the marketing writer with lots of specific “how to” guidance” – P.G.Bartlett.
[which got a 35.71% EMV score. For crying out loud.]
“A great resource that is easily accessible and will be often referenced. You will see results.” – Ryan J. DeJonghe
[37.5% EMV — I clearly am an amateur at headline writing even though I’ve done it for like 30 years.]
“Absolutely fantastic book for everyone who writes…so, everyone!” by “Kelly Gorgone, Writer, Speaker, Lawyer, Educator”
(Who, I KNOW is, as well as being all those things, a really good friend of Ann’s but who I know also has integrity and if she HATED the book would find some excuse to not review it. She would.)
[Her headline got a WHOPPING 62.5% EMV score! You go Kerry!]
“A very useful and actionable business book” – A. Kuenn “Arnie K”
Is that the best you could do, Arnie K? Are you Ann’s friend or are you just some guy – because if you’re the former I think you could have done better than that (but if you’re the latter, never mind I guess).
[Score: 28.57% EMV. Thank CHRIST for that. I was beginning to wonder about the Advanced Marketing Institute’s (still free!) Headline Analyzer.]
You get the idea: people on Amazon really like Ann’s book.
An aside (if you can call anything in this ridiculously meandering piece an aside): if it weren’t for the Amazon listing, I would not have even included Ann’s excellent subtitle in this review of reviews. And I am not alone. The others forgot it too. Which is a shame.
Why Reading This Book Will Help You Write Ridiculously Good Content
by Deanna Lazzaroni on the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog
This review kicks off a brand new series called “Marketing Books Worth A Look”. Again, another honor (I’m starting to resent Ann Goddamn Handley just a teensy bit, are you?).
Deanna goes the business-like route in her excellent (in both senses: well-written review and positive review) review, with three subheads, “Why Ann wrote Everybody Writes”, “Why you should read it” and “What you’ll learn”.
Nice one, Deanna.
Page two of the Google results for ‘Reviews of Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes’ is one click away, but…
This has to stop somewhere and it’s not going to stop by me running out of reviews of Ann Handley’s new book, Everybody Writes.
It’s just going to stop.
For the record: I really like Ann Handley’s new book, ‘Everybody Writes’. It, like Ann, is smart, funny, charmingly self-deprecating and extremely helpful. It’s full of practical advice that digs deeper than the standard writing tips. And it puts writing in the context of content marketing, which is timely and unique and clever as all heck.
And, as you have become aware, I have not received a free book to say so.
(You now also know why).