Less is more. Get to the point. No one has time to read.
That is the takeaway from reading Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More With Less. Ironically, this book should be reduced to 10 pages. The rest is fluff, repetition, and irrelevant blather. The first 23 pages kept on saying why we need brevity in our writings, though no one would argue that point. That’s why I picked up the book -- because I know people’s attention spans are crap and that the need to write powerfully and briefly is a must.
Okay, I skim-read this book to learn the most salient points. Here they are:
- Mist people skim or scam content, whether it’s a blog post, book, email, news article, Facebook post, or whatever. If we want vital information to not get lost, we need to repackage, restate, and rethink what and how we say.
- The first sentence dictates everything. Your headline an email’s subject line, a tweet -- whatever it is -- must say something strongly using six or fewer words.
- Make it clear why what you say or offer matters. Spell it out, using an economy of words, make it clear what is of importance.
- Serve your reader or audience first -- not your ego. Write for them -- not yourself.
- Think less about what you want to say and instead more of what you want them to hear.
- Picture in your mind the exact person you are trying to impact. Don’t speak to everyone -- just single out your targeted reader.
- Say what’s important. Then stop.
- Think of the one thing you want someone to know -- pound it home.
- Smart Brevity says: “Be simple, clear, and direct. Be conversational. Authenticity and relatability are essential ingredients. They help people become more willing to hear you and remember what you said.”
- List all of the points that you feel are important. Then prioritize them. Then combine some and dwell on the top two or three that are likeliest to stick.
- Smart Brevity says: “The most important step is the tease -- the very first words out of your mouth. The brain is wired to make a clear, quick, yes-or-no decision, the fight-or-flight, click or scroll, read or ignore, remember or forget.”
- Write and then go back to kill at least half the words. It sharpens the piece.
- Avoid jargon or SAT words -- keep it simple and short.
- Active verbs need apply, please.
- One-syllable words are stronger than two-syllable words, and those are stronger than three-syllable words.
- Jam essential information into tasty packaging.
- Where possible, use short paragraphs short sentences, and bullet points with headers.
- Tell a story, not about a story.
- Write in the who-does what- why style.
- They support the use of emojis. I say avoid!
- Bold names, figures, or words that you want to stick out.
- Use visuals to speak loudly.
- Answer what people want to know: What the hell is this and is it worth my time?
- Trumpet the single thing you most want people to know. Say it in one sentence.
- Smart Brevity says: “Success is leaving me wanting more because what I'm reading feels so new, essential, riveting.”
- Be accurate, proactive, and newsy to draw people in.
Get the point? Go try it!
Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.