Monday, February 6, 2017

Book Marketers & Authors Must Improve Their Vocabulary

Words can be powerful, if used correctly and often.  So which words should most writers, book marketers– and people – know?

A quick canvassing of a Barnes & Noble reference shelf turned up a few books on the subject:

·         Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
·         Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder
·         The Big Book of Words You Should Know by David Olsen, Michelle Bevilacqua, and Justin Cord Hayes
·         Barron’s 11,000 Words You Need to Know by Murray Gordon

So what’s the key to building a strong vocabulary?

·         Read a lot and diversify the subject matter and sources.
·         Look up words you don’t know the meaning of.
·         Repetition helps, so use new words in your daily conversation.
·         Once you understand Latin and Greek prefixes, suffixes, and roots, you’ll be able to figure out a lot of words.
·         Look up several new words every day by randomly going through the dictionary.
·         Play board games like Scrabble, crossword puzzles, and Boggle to keep your mind sharp.
·         Read the above books or find others that profess to showcase thousands of key words.

According to The Big Book of Words You Should Know, there are 3,000+ words that every person should be able to use, including:

·         Abstemious – consuming food and drink in moderation.
·         Absolution – the condition of having been forgiven or freed of guilt.
·         Affliction – a suffering or stroke of pain.
·         Adulterate – to make impure or tainted.
·         Attrition – the gradual wearing down of something or the gradual reduction of a group.

Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder, with over 3,500 words one must master, identified these words as key to possessing a good vocabulary:

·         Oligarchy – a government in which power is in the hands of a small group.
·         Tactile – able to be perceived by touching.
·         Acculturation – the process by which a human being acquires the culture of a particular society from infancy.
·         Cacophony – harsh or unpleasant sound.
·         Tortuous – crooked or tricky; involved or complex.
·         Superfluous – beyond what is needed; extra.

Book marketers may not need a sophisticated vocabulary, but depending on the subject matter proposed, and the intellectual capital of the media outlet pitched, it can’t hurt to know some $100 words.

Word Power Made Easy is superior to other vocabulary jumpstart books because it zeroes in to how we talk about specific things, including how to talk about:

·         Personality types
·         Science
·         Liars and lying
·         Doctors
·         Friends and enemies
·         What goes on
·         Personality characteristics

It notes that “children are wonders at increasing their vocabularies because of their “powerful urge to learn.”  It encourages adults to regain the urge to learn.  It implores us to revert back to our curious and learning ways, to continue to grow, change, question and learn.

We should follow the 5-step process for building up one’s vocabulary that is outlined in Lewis’ book:

Step 1: 
You must actively become receptive to new words.  Train yourself to be on the lookout – in your reading and listening – for words that you don’t know or have a full grasp of.

Step 2:
You must read more. A big source of new words for adults comes in books, magazines, newspapers, and digital content.

Step 3:
You must learn to add to your own vocabulary the new words you meet in your reading.  When you come across an unfamiliar word, look it up, adopt it, get to know and use it.

Step 4
You must open your mind to new ideas.  “Every word,” says Lewis, “you know is the translation of an idea."  Expose yourself constantly to new areas of learning.

Step 5:
You must set a goal.  “If you do nothing about your vocabulary,” says Lewis, “you will learn, at most, 25 to 50 new words in the next 12 months.  By conscious effort, you can learn several thousand.”

Another thing that could help you is to keep a vocabulary diary – a journal in print or online that records the words you come to learn and hope to use.

Be indefatigable in your pursuit of an expanded vocabulary.  Let me be ingenuous here; make it your credo to be a lifetime learner and vocabulary-builder.  Be credulous in yourself.  You can’t remain willfully naïve – instead, be acute and pursue being perspicacious.

All-New 2017 Book Marketing & PR Toolkit 

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby 

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