Why it’s still worthwhile to write a (good) business book

Why it’s still worthwhile to write a (good) business book

Yes, yes, I know it’s one of mine, but it’s still an example of how nonfiction/business books can work well for you

The entire international book publishing scene has changed a lot in the 21st century.  Whereas becoming a published nonfiction author was difficult even until the end of the 20th century, now it’s easy due, largely, to the vastly increased number of different publishing options, not to mention an increase in delivery options – print, eBook, audio book, blog serialization, etc.

Undoubtedly the fact that producing and publishing a book has become a) easier and b) cheaper makes the whole book market more accessible to wannabe authors. Consequently there are literally millions of books out for sale out there, and not all of them are good. [Read more…]

Why your blog can make a good foundation for a book

Why your blog can make a good foundation for a blogIf your nonfiction/business blog posts form a coherent series – or, as we do here on HTWB quite a bit – you actually write specific series of posts about a topic within the greater remit of your blog, from start to finish – you could well be sitting on the potential for a very good, well structured and successful nonfiction book. [Read more…]

If you don’t know what you think, you can’t write it down

HTWB Words That Sell“If you don’t know what you think, you can’t write it down” … I’ll always remember those words of his in “Writing Words That Sell,” a book I co-wrote with US author John Butman more years ago than either of us admit to. Being the creative genius he is, John has a way of simplifying a thought or concept so sensibly that it smacks you in the teeth with its wisdom. [Read more…]

Now, that writing help you want will be with you in seconds

I have dragged myself, kicking and screaming, into the wonderful world of eCommerce, and my eBooks are finally available instantly (well, as long as you pay for them).

New: instant downloads for all Suzan St Maur eBooksThat’s as opposed to paying for them and then trusting me to send the books out to you once PayPal had notified me – often hours later. Thank you to the hundreds of readers who bought books anyway and trusted me to send them out manually. You’re stars!

Getting that eCommerce show on the road wasn’t easy, I can tell you.

I’m so spooked by technology that it has taken me nearly a year of paying for membership of E-Junkie before I could build up the courage to go find out what was needed to put 6 of my books up on there. Wimp or what?

But over a couple of days of pacing myself, I read up on the processes and experimented with one book until I figured I had got it about right. I had a couple of false starts, e.g. where I forgot to upload one book and wondered why the link didn’t work. Fail.

And voilà!

(Don’t you love these English-only spell checkers that insist “voilà” should be a “viola?” Quels cons.

As always in these circumstances, after figuring out the whole thing one should slap oneself on the forehead and say “of course! It’s so easy! Why has it taken me so long when I could have done this months ago?” Because, er, I’m utterly technophobic, that’s why.

But I did have to smile when my son asked me what I was doing, while I was struggling away with the E-Junkie processes. A snatch of the dialogue…

“Well, all I have to do, so it seems, is just cut and paste the HTML into the HTML editor on my site, and that’s it really.”

“Sorry Mum, you lost me. I just use techie shit for email, Facebook, Word and Excel. Haven’t a clue what you’re on about.”

It’s comforting to know that despite being Mum I do know a bit more about “techie shit” – in some areas – than a 21-year-old university student…

So what can you get as instant downloads now?

Click on the sidebar, top right, or to see individual eBooks, click on the green titles – go …

Business Writing Made Easy
From blogging to business emails, speeches to sales letters – all you need to know to write well for business in English

How To Write About Yourself
Simple, effective ways to make the most of yourself in writing, whether for an “about” page, CV/résumé, biography, testimonial and much more

How To Write Winning Non-fiction
Described as “the book writing coach in your pocket” … the  comprehensive guide to devising, planning, writing, publishing and promoting your non-fiction book

Super Speeches – how to write and deliver them well
How to develop, write, and perform speeches and presentations for all  business and social occasions, with practical tips on delivery, rehearsal, etc.

Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them
Over 1,500 tips on how to avoid making common spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes – the perfect guidebook to carry on any writing journey…

The English Language Joke Book
Hundreds of laughs about this crazy language … a perfect little eBook to entertain you in spare moments, when you’re travelling, etc.

…and there are more to come in the very near future.

So what are you waiting for?

In the time you’ve taken to read this article, you could have got all of these books in your inbox!


photo credit: greg westfall. via photopin cc

On Writing Well: very, very well

On Writing Well: very, very wellAm I a little behind the times, reviewing a book that was first published in 1976? Well, I don’t care; I just read the book this year for the first time (and there will be many more times, I promise you) and my only regret is that I didn’t read it the moment it was published back in those days of the chartreuse platform boots, flared jumpsuits and terrible hair perms.

Of all the books on nonfiction writing in English that I have read – and there have been hundreds – this is the jewel in the crown: the perfect book that makes many, many others, (not my own of course!) look like gabbling turkeys.

Quite simply, “On Writing Well” is superb and will transform the way you write.

I thought I knew it all, but it has really taught me a lot, as well as corroborating many of the notions and theories I have about nonfiction writing for which I have sometimes been criticized. Considering Zinsser’s book has sold well over 1 million copies and is still up there after 35 years, he isn’t wrong – which suggests that maybe I’m not, either.

On Writing Well: very, very wellIn his gentle, amusing way he deflates the egos of pompous corporate-speakers and long-winded jargon munchers along with the bright and breezy bloggers who think writing is an easy blast. Good writing is not easy, he says; it’s hard and lonely and the words seldom just flow. Like many of the old-school writers – the good ones – Zinsser is a great believer in the rewriting process and careful editing. But his most important point of all is to bring your nonfiction writing – even business writing – alive by using your personality and imagination to grab readers’ attention and hang on to it. Add to that simple, uncluttered wording, avoidance of clichés and a touch of humor, and you’re “On (your way to) Writing Well.”

William Zinsser is now 90 years old and as far as I can tell is still teaching. Here is the introduction from his website:

“William Zinsser is a lifelong journalist and nonfiction writer—he began his career on the New York Herald Tribune in 1946—and is also a teacher, best known for his book On Writing Well, a companion held in affection by three generations of writers, reporters, editors, teachers and students. His 17 other books range from memoir (Writing Places; Writing About Your Life) to travel (American Places), jazz (Mitchell & Ruff), American popular song (Easy to Remember), baseball (Spring Training) and the craft of writing (Writing to Learn). During the 1970s he was at Yale University, where he was master of Branford College and taught the influential nonfiction workshop that would start many writers and editors on their careers. From 2010 – 11 he wrote a weekly blog for The American Scholar“Zinsser on Friday” about the craft of writing, popular culture, and the arts. The blog recently won The National Magazine Award for digital commentary. Today, in New York, he continues to write and to teach. His office is at 45 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065.”

The book is 300 pages long – probably 100,000 words or more – yet for me it was one of those “can’t put it down” reads which, considering it’s a nonfiction book about writing nonfiction, proves that it’s highly entertaining. Zinsser practices what he preaches: he keeps you riveted with humor, common sense and just when you least expect it, a pleasant surprise.

Needless to say it’s not a linear story, but a collection of chunky chapters grouped into parts covering principles, methods, forms and attitudes.

The chapters I found especially illuminating were:

On Writing Well: very, very well

  • Simplicity
  • The Audience
  • Writing About People: The Interview
  • Writing About Places: The Travel Article
  • Writing About Yourself: The Memoir
  • Science and Technology
  • Business Writing: Writing in your Job
  • Humor
  • The Sound of your Voice
  • Writing Family History and Memoir

The 35th anniversary edition of this fabulous book is due out on November 30th, 2012 – here is the UK link, and I imagine all Amazons worldwide will carry it. If you haven’t read it yet – buy it. It will be money well spent.

Now, it’s your turn to write very, very well:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“How To Write Winning Non-fiction”…all you need to know to write a good non-fiction book and get it published


photo credit: in-world professionals via photopin cc
photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via photopin cc

How to write a winning nonfiction book: your personal writing coach is right here

Getting published is now easier than ever but the fundamental things that distinguish winning nonfiction from the pulp have never been more important. If you’re serious about writing a high-quality nonfiction book, getting it published and making it commercially successful then this book treats you to a masterclass that covers all you need to know about creating, crafting, writing and pitching your best-seller.

How To Write Winning Non-FictionWhen you read this book you will learn…

**What every nonfiction book needs to be successful

**How to get a good idea and turn it into a winning idea

**Why so many books get started but not finished

**How to plan your book so writing it is fast, painless and easy

**Alternative publishing options and which would be right for you

**How to pitch your book to mainstream publishers

**What happens from proposal to acceptance, to contract, and beyond

**How to devise a winning title for your book

**The mechanics for writing a book and meeting your obligations

**When to get in outside help and how to find it

Using real-life pitches, proposals, reviewer feedback, extensive links and even an entire sample publishing contract, the book delivers in straight, honest terms what you need to do to succeed.

Want to get on and receive it in the next few hours? Here’s all you need – for just $11.95


This book is essential reading for…

**Aspiring nonfiction authors

**Self-publishing authors and writers

**Business and other experts for whom a book is an essential PR tool

**Bloggers with a book idea that’s more than just a short eBook

**New authors starting out on the traditional publishing pathway

**In fact, anyone looking to get their nonfiction book published

Have a look at quotes from some its Amazon reviews:

“Suzan takes us through every aspect of writing in a way that enables us to overcome all the hurdles and avoid the pitfalls. She motivates us as we go and even breaks down the most daunting aspects (such as getting the book published) into manageable and achievable steps. Moreover, the book is a damn good read. Suzan engages the reader’s attention from page one and using a range of entertaining and humorous anecdotes she illustrates every point in a way that makes it both memorable and amusing. Strongly recommended.”

“The main strength of this book, in my opinion, is that it is up to date with a modern perspective. The author is very savvy about how technology is changing the publishing business and she has some good advice to offer on how to take that in to account. Most other books on this subject don’t even mention the changes in technology or the resultant changes in the publishing industry. I thought the author’s ideas about the future of book writing were fascinating.”

How To Write Winning Non-Fiction“For those who are new to writing non-fiction this book provides a wonderful foundation. I did not read the book straight through. Instead, as I worked through developing, writing and publishing I read that section. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is trying to figure out the changing landscape of nonfiction.”

“Like any “How To Write” book this is not going to explode in a shower of fairy dust and write your book for you. So you will need to prepare yourself to do more then just read. But if you are in a mind to seize your destiny and start writing your book, then this could be a good catalyst to drag it kicking and screaming out of you. After all, if not today, then when? If you want to write a nonfiction book and haven’t a clue where to begin, then Suzan’s book is a great place to start your journey.”

“From the start it seemed that my own idea for a book was ticking a lot of boxes in the chapter: How To Get A Good Idea, so I was immediately encouraged to continue with my plan. But what’s the plan if you’ve never written a book before? That’s exactly what Suzan will give you in this book and, if you follow all her advice, you’ll soon find yourself with a workable structure. After that it’s up to you. But guess what? When you have that skeleton of a book all laid out it actually becomes easy to flesh out the bones.”

“I am currently in the process of writing my first full book due to be published next year after having written many reports and several ebooks over the years. This book should be renamed the NonFiction Writers Bible as it has everything you could ever need to know from tips to contacts and much more.”

“I have really enjoyed reading this book. It is very well written, straightforward and practical. It is also the first book that has actually motivated me to get started! Suzan has already been a successful writer and has had around 1 book a year published in the last 20 years, so she is someone I would listen to! Always follow a successful person in their own field, not someone who tells you “do what I say, not what I do”!

“This author knows her stuff, and she’s never pompous or patronising about it. She is very funny and honest, cuts to the core of her subject, gives you all the information you need and provides you with a sane and sensible structure to work with. She is a master of her art, a superb writer and a wise and generous ‘pal in print’.”

How To Write Winning Non-Fiction“I really enjoyed this book. It’s packed with information and put across in a humorous and conversational style which makes for easy reading. For someone like me, only just starting out with my writing, this book has saved me from making basic mistakes and answered a lot of questions I had about the process of getting into print. As well as all the valuable practical information, Suzan gives the reader the benefit of her personal experiences in the writing and publishing world, both good and bad.”

“An excellent and informative book and I wish this book was around when I wrote mine……it would have saved me many wasted hours trying to find the right publisher. Not only does Suze explain things very easily and in detail, she also uses her unique sense of humour to get her point across. A must read for anyone who is looking to get a nonfiction book published….you’d be silly not to read this book first!”

“This excellent book will be invaluable for authors of nonfiction and is certain to become a ‘must-have’ for both new and published authors. As an established and respected author of both fiction and nonfiction, and with her wealth of experience in many different professional and social environments, Suzan writes with in-depth, first-hand knowledge about the planning, writing and publishing processes. However, the book is not just a well-researched, fascinating and clearly-presented reference guide; it is a fascinating and amusing read, bound to captivate anyone with an interest in writing.”

Convinced? You can have it in the next few hours, here…


And for a laugh, some clips from the 2 x bad reviews the book got…

“The final nail in the coffin comes when the author (who is Canadian) discusses the use of British and American English in nonfiction. Her opinion is that ‘check’ (American English) is better than ‘cheque’ (British English), because the spelling is more closely associated with how it sounds. Talk about a dumbing down of standards. I’ll keep with British English and all its pecularities thank you very much!” (I stand corrected; American English is far too modern for you stalwart Brits. And I’m so sorry I’m Canadian. We don’t normally get accused of dumbing down standards, so I will work hard to ensure I don’t make that mistake again…)

“An OK guide but a bit dissappointing … The chapters on seeking and working with a publisher were light in my opinion and even contains a “mini-advert” for one particular online service. £15 is too high a price for this book which is thin and light on detail in my opinion.” (Sorry, pal, but the price is lower now and the book might even help you improve your spelling. Also, it’s 42,000 words long with enough detail to keep a lawyer happy. What were you on?)

Of course, you can buy “How To Write Winning Nonfiction” from Amazon!

The book is available in print and on Kindle on all Amazons, but if you don’t want the PDF here are some links for you:

How To Write Winning Non-FictionAmazon.com print

Amazon.com Kindle

Amazon.co.uk print

Amazon.co.uk Kindle

And one more time, the PDF:


Whichever way you buy the book, let me know your views on it – and don’t hesitate to drop me a line on suze@suzanstmaur.com if you have any questions.