Jean Marie Stine has created perhaps the ultimate how-to book: Writing Successful Self-Help and How-To Books
. Among the many editorial positions Stine has held in her 15 years as an editor (and sometimes ghostwriter) of self-help and how-to books is editor in chief at the esteemed self-help publisher Jeremy P. Tarcher. She edited more than 50 self-help titles, including Women Who Love Too Much
and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
. If an author's qualifications, as Stine says in her book, are of utmost importance for a book's credibility, she is supremely qualified to write such a book.
Writing Successful Self-Help and How-To Books is less about writing than about every other element that goes into making a successful self-help/how-to book. Since "publishers," as Stine says here, "buy 90 percent of their books based on proposals," she addresses in detail every element of the book proposal, from overview ("mak[e] your book sound like a must-have") and analysis of the competition to sample chapter and annotated table of contents. Her insider information on everything from title creation--"the right title alone," she confides, "can make your book a success"--to the importance of including interactive elements such as checklists, quizzes, and exercises is invaluable. Still, for the beginning writer--and Stine seems to assume that the reader of this book is an expert in a field other than writing--there is surprising little, given the book's title, about the writing process itself. --Jane Steinberg
With Jean Marie Stine's Writing Successful Self-Help And How-To Books, aspiring authors can learn how to write effective self-help and how-to books with the aid of a guide which provides an insider's view to the writing process. From producing a salable proposal to negotiating permissions, preparing a manuscript, and assessing a market, this reference book provides an editor's view of what works - and what doesn't. -- Midwest Book Review