Excerpt from feedback notes on;
A leadership guide written by the CEO of a corporation designed to enlighten both new and experienced business owners.
I like the idea of a concise workbook that offers a solid promise–a one-page strategic plan for 'wiser decision-making' in our lives and careers. The reader will be intrigued at the prospect of designing a life that works, i.e. crafting a blueprint or plan that will yield reliable results rather than being subject to the whims of fate, luck, or circumstance.
In truth, the direction of every life is determined by a blend of emotional temperament, background, experience, and a variety of factors outside our control–combined with self-discipline and choice. However, the concept of self-determination is the major hook here and it's the basis of nearly every self-help book on the market. Why? Because it offers the reader strong hope that they can prevail and succeed in life. So I like it.
The most effective subtitle choice would be: A book for S.M.A.R.T. people who have decided that it's time....[I'd include a description of the S.M.A.R.T. acronym on the back jacket cover.] Remember: It's been proven that when someone browses through a bookstore, the back jacket flap copy is the force that motivates a purchase. So it's worth hiring a professional copywriter or author to compose this back jacket material. You'll also want to hire a professional graphic designer to create your front jacket. What you have now, I assume, is just a mockup, for it doesn't effectively illustrate your theme.
In this report, we'll assess two principal components–your CONTENT and your LANGUAGE. In other words, how logical and persuasive is your message and how effectively is it being transmitted to the reader?
For starters, just judging the front flap copy as presented, the language structure is a major challenge here, as most of the sentences need repair to be grammatically correct. For example, this isn't a sentence: 'A process to clarify how to move to where you want to be from where you are today.' It should read: 'This is a process that will reveal how to move from where you are to where you want to be.' A little later on you say: 'It is strategic business planning principles applied to align your life and career, pure and simple. This process is proven.' The promise is too vague and isn't persuasive. Proven by whom? As for the sentence, it should read more like this: 'The techniques you're about to learn are business planning principles that you can easily apply to your life and to your career.' – or something like that.
[Before you could consider the idea of self-publishing this book, you would need to have the entire manuscript line-edited. In addition, as you'll see, I'm suggest a variety of other stylistic improvements.]
By the way, copy on page 4 is much more persuasive and better written. 'It is written for successful people who want to sharpen their focus, strengthen relationships and simplify life....SMART people.' This is a good sentence. To make the job of fixing sentences easier for you, I always suggest: READ YOUR TEXT OUT LOUD–because the ear always detects mistakes in syntax much more effectively than the eye. So the quickest 'fix' for any manuscript is an oral reading. Even better, have a friend or family member read it to YOU. You will immediately detect grammatical errors, awkward sentences and punctuation. And in this way, you can fix many of them yourself.
Your acronym–Success, Measure, Accentuate, Remain and Transition–is quite distinctive. I particularly was interested in the MEASURE and ACCENTUATE points. So often, we don't give ourselves credit for the small steps we take toward success–so I always write down everything I accomplish in a given day in order to MEASURE my progress. Attitude is always key to success and that's why I like your ACCENTUATE the positive theme, while suppressing the negatives. On first glance the REMAIN in unilateral control was puzzling to me. I think it's an illusion that we actually have control over anything, certainly not over what other people do or think. But we can control our actions. I'll be interested to see how you develop this point later on in the text. And your TRANSITION point speaks to something that Tony Robbins always says–EITHER YOU CHOOSE CHANGE OR IT CHOOSES YOU–for the world is constantly evolving. You either move with it or get left behind.
'Over the last fifteen years, I have had the honor and pleasure [too predictable and gushing] to work [not grammatical] with a lot of people [too vague, how many people and in what context?] with who [not grammatical] scored 20-25 on this quiz. Instead: 'In the last decade, I've had the honor of working alongside many of the nation's leading motivational thinkers, self-help practitioners, and self-made businessmen. The goal before them wasn't only monetary success, but creating a great career that made room for a meaningful life!' Something like that would be a little better. I DO like your idea about creating a life of not just success, but of meaning found in family and faith, though as you'll see, I'm skeptical about the extended final chapter about God in your book.
I DO think placing a QUIZ on the back jacket is an excellent idea! It draws the reader in for sure and makes them want to keep reading. Yet if a reader scores HIGH on the test, perhaps they'd feel as if they don't need the book. It's really people who score lower who are most likely to benefit from it. Nevertheless, it's an effective hook.
Finally, in your biography, as presented, be a little more specific about your background, e.g. college degrees and training, the number of years you've worked in this field, and the kinds of clients you've had on your roster. Leave out the UPS driver, church administrator references. Keep it focused on what you do now. Also delete the word 'closet' in describing your interest as an artist.
I must say that I was quite charmed by the Smartest Man in the World story on page 2! Excellent writing and very funny. I'm not sure I'm in favor of the Tate-isms that appear throughout the text. It's going to sound a bit egotistical and you don't need to do it. Instead, do what Tony Robbins does: italicize or bold face your point, but leave the 'Tateism' out of it. Also: This sentence is not grammatical or tightly written: 'Smart people know that success in life is not determined by how smart you are; – [don't use the word 'smart' twice, perhaps use the phrase: 'mere intelligence'] – but rather by the wisdom inherent in their decisions.'
Your leadership and Life Plan 2001 is quite well organized. I like that you can see, in one sweeping glance, the entire blueprint of someone's work life and why it's become the cornerstone of your consulting business. Every successful executive uses different techniques for organizing their goals, and this is certainly a viable one. But the writing on page 4 is tedious and too repetitious: Read over point 3 about leaders developing naturally. It's a simple point that strategic thinking, i.e. planning, is one secret to success and happiness. But it's too wordy. The Tateism on page 4 is already one too many.
I notice that you've mixed together the themes of business success and 'balancing your life and improving family relationships.' I think the reader who buys this book is MOST interested in the business angle, not the emotional issues connected to family, much less the spiritual issues you mention at the end of the book. Those are different books. I could be wrong. It's obvious from your writing that your main interest and expertise is in building a strategy for corporate success. 'You love to continue your career with your organization and continue developing skills and networks.....etc.' This is business talk. But I DO like that you mention the importance of needing a LIFE PLAN before you can solidify a BUSINESS PLAN. Of course, the values we cherish as people will have everything to do with how we run our businesses and what results we get.