Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review: Everybody Writes by Ann Handley - Now with Audio!

Jeremy Bednarski Taking It Back
Updated Copy: The audiobook version of "Everybody Writes" is now available. Because of my review below, I was offered a clip of the audio from Audible to add to my review. Here it is!

And, if that's not enough to get you excited, Ann Handley is giving away 10 copies of the audiobook! To enter and for more info, in a way only Ann can write, head to her post here. If you haven't read her book yet, check out my review below! 

In 2011, I was attending the Exact Target Connections conference when I really noticed the term "content marketing" being used as a full direction and discipline. There were a few standout sessions at that show, but one that I just happened to pick really sunk in. I hadn't heard of Ann Handley or C.C. Chapman yet, or their book "Content Rules", but I was blown away by their presentation. I bought their book quickly upon returning home. You can read my review of Content Rules here
Jeremy Bednarski Taking It Back
Ann Handley at Content Marketing World 2014
Now, Ann Handley has a new book that builds on the idea of content creation by focusing on one of the areas that can be the most rewarding, intimidating, frustrating, you name it. You've been there. We all have. Staring at a blank page. Whether you're writing for school, your job, just for fun or whatever it is, that blank page can haunt you. Just when you thought there was no help to be found, Handley comes out with "Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content" to save us all! This book shot to the top of my "must read" list. 

There have been plenty of books on writing, even some good ones ("On Writing" by Stephen King is one of the best). This is not your run-of-the-mill boring text book on writing. Not at all! the tone of the book and her stories are not only interesting, they're entertaining! If you've heard her speak, and I'm assuming the majority of you reading this have, then you know her quirky sense of humor. It comes across loud and clear here (for example, she compares writing to birthing a Volkswagon). 
Jeremy Bednarski Taking It Back
I got my "Everybody Writes" swag! How cool of a marketing idea was this! Thanks, Ann!
"Everybody Writes" is part writing strategy guide, part grammar and style manual and part guide for writing tools and processes. This book is a reference for all writers regardless of how much or what you write. Handley believes that writing is a habit, not an art. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Her tips are meant as guidelines and not hard rules, because as she explains "there's no right way to write". Here is a quick list of 13 of her "rules" just to get you hooked.
Jeremy Bednarski Taking It Back
Ann Handley with Buddy Scalera at Content Marketing World 2014
There are a couple of tips that really stand out for me. The first is to follow a writing GPS so you can get to where you need to be. It keeps you on the right track. I've implemented this and it truly is helpful in keeping my thoughts in line with my topic. The second is The Ugly First Draft. For most writers, the first draft doesn't come out perfect, it's the editing that makes most writing great. So, get your thoughts on paper without worrying about grammar, spelling, structure, etc. All of that will be fixed during editing. 
Jeremy Bednarski Taking It Back
An Illustration of Ann Handley's presentation at Content Marketing World
Not only is this book great for those of us already in our careers, but I would issue this to high school and college writing courses. The writing style will keep them engaged in the book and the tips help them in their writing from the start. I'll be referring back to this book often and will re-read it regularly as well. Not only is this a must read, it's a must own! Have you read "Everybody Writes" yet? What were your biggest takeaways? Do you have a favorite quote or rule? Thanks for reading and please share this with your friends.

I'll leave you with my favorite rule: "Writing well is part habit, part knowledge of some fundamental rules, and part giving a damn." Damn right!


  1. Thanks for the great review, Jeremy! I really appreciate it, and I love that you loved the book, too. Thank YOU for giving a damn!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my review. You make it easy to give a damn!

  2. Can't afford to buy one, trying to get the main concept by minimizing different websites