Before Your First Book Review
[Update] This book is no longer available and has been rolled up into Jeff’s new book called You Are a Writer. I’m working my way through that one now.
I just recently finished off the small eBook from Jeff Goins, Before Your First Book. It was a quick read but offered some fantastic advice. I’m toying with the idea of writing a book but I know I need to do a lot more work on my ideas and writing. I still need to convince myself that it would be worth it since it takes so long. I’m working on it.
I like Jeff’s style. There’s no bullshit. He’s straight to the point with what you should expect when you’re getting things ready to write a book. The interesting thing about Before Your First Book is that it isn’t about writing your book at all. It’s entirely about what you need to do to start writing and shipping now. There are important steps you need to take that will be invaluable later. Instead of being a terrible arduous task, book writing can be an enjoyable fulfilling process. That’s what Jeff’s here to explain.
Before Your First Book is short and sweet. Each point Jeff makes is important though so you’ll probably be going back to it multiple times to re-examine the main points. Because the length, I found it an easy read. He kept things moving along smoothly, never dawdling, always getting right to the point.
One of the most important themes in the Before Your First Book is that you have to start shipping. You have to start doing something today to help you get that book and your ideas into your readers hands months or years down the road. The nice part about the book is that Jeff is laying it out for your. He’s done the work, he’s walked the path. Now he’s telling you how. He’s leaving plenty up to you to decide exactly how to do it but he gives a framework and that’s a huge first step in the right direction. One of the worst feelings working on a big project is the question of whether you’re going in the right direction. Is all that work moving you towards your goal or will you learn that you just wasted 6 months of your time? Start shipping small things now and you’ll find out much sooner where you are headed.
So many people brag about their accomplishments. Instantly I turn off. I stop listening. I get my back up and can’t stop thinking about the fact that they’re bragging. Even if they do have good points hidden somewhere in their selfish rant I will miss them. I hope everyone continues reading past that last sentence to read this next one. Jeff lets you know what he’s accomplished not to brag but for it to act like a resume. He’s letting you know what he’s done, that he’s just recently, like fresh out of the fire, gone through the process he’s describing and he’s writing it for us to know. I found that reassuring that he gently describes what he want through and then gives you the dirt on what he wish he was told before.
Along with shipping now and often, Jeff hammer’s on another point repeatedly. Writing a book and the process leading up to it is a crazy amount of work. The thing is, thought, that while it requires an incredible amount of work, it’s not complicated. It’s not like calculus or binary programming kind of complicated. When it comes down to it there are a few basic things you need to know and then it’s all repetition after that. Running a marathon not complicated but it’s definitely hard. That’s like writing a book. Make sure you’re cool with that before you get started.
I enjoyed reading through Before Your First Book. It had a few good ideas that I will be applying to other non-book projects. The short format left me wanting a little bit more at the end in terms of details but most of those details can be found around the internet. The framework (and the kick in the ass to get shipping) is the important part, and that’s what Jeff cover’s in this nice little book.