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Requesting feedback on book burbViews: 513
Mar 02, 2006 1:25 amRequesting feedback on book burb#

Glenda Watson Hyatt

Hi everyone,

As many of you know, I am currently writing my autobiography. I have drafted a book burb that I can hopefully entice people to include in their newsletters and such for promotional purposes. I'm trying to catch the 'viral marketing' bug.

I welcome your comments and feedback on the blurb, which is below. I am open to any ways to improve it.

For more information about the book at http://www.booksbyglenda.com/. I am blogging about this writing experience at http://webaccessibility.biz/blog/?cat=5.

Looking forward to your constructive comments.

Cheers, Glenda

I'll Do It Myself: A Collection of Memories from a Woman Living with Cerebral Palsy

By Glenda Watson Hyatt

Resulting from a lack of oxygen at birth, Glenda has cerebral palsy, mostly affecting her muscle coordination, balance and speech. However, labeled as functionally nonverbal and using a wheelchair for mobility hasn't prevented Glenda from living her life to the fullest. Raised without the word can't allowed, only try, her parents made a conscious effort to introduce Glenda to the world and the world to Glenda. As a family with her three younger brothers, they went to parades, camping, snowshoeing (with Glenda in a sled, wrapped in a rescue blanket to stay warm) and any other outings her parents could afford.

She began her school years in a small Special Education class, with much class time missed due to physical, occupational and speech therapy. Beginning in Grade Four, she was integrated part-time into a regular classroom, long before mainstream was a buzzword. By Grade Seven, she was ready for the regular class full-time. Grade Eight found her attending the neighbourhood high school with a full-time aide. Within a few months the aide was not needed and, except for classmates volunteering to be note-takers, Glenda flew solo through her remaining high school years. Through determination, perseverance, and sheer stubbornness, this I'll-do-it-myself girl kept up with the regular academic curriculum, including Algebra Honours, by laboriously typing with only her left thumb on an electric typewriter. Along the way, she also earned her Canada Cord, the highest award in Girl Guides; won a gold medal in horseback riding; and was presented with the Outstanding Junior Student Award in Grade Ten.

After attending an international camp in Finland and spending a couple years taking accounting courses by correspondence, which proved not to be satisfactorily stimulating, Glenda continued onto university. Living in residence, with a roommate the first semester, and then completely on her own, except for a homemaker four hours once a week to assist with basic cleaning and such, which was more of a hassle than a help at times. She used pre-typed notes, which she dubbed her talking papers her means of communication with her professors and teaching assistants. Taking one or two courses per semester because of the sheer workload, three semesters per year with only one summer off, Glenda finally completed her Bachelor of Arts degree after seven long years.

Now she is married to a wonderful man Darrell who also has cerebral palsy, making life that much more interesting. Together they struggle to find employers and business clients who see beyond their disabilities to see their skills, talents and God-given gifts. Their ambitions are as normal as any couple's: pay off the mortgage, travel and save for retirement.

Glenda intimately shares her life story to show others there is still possibility, potential and promise, despite cerebral palsy.

Private Reply to Glenda Watson Hyatt

Mar 02, 2006 11:25 amre: Requesting feedback on book burb#

Hi Glenda,

It's great to see what you have achieved by 'doing it yourself'.

The write-up you have submitted for review pretty outlines much of your life's highlights.

As an advertising and marketing person, I would like to suggest a few things in case you want to 'market' your book with a few lines of text strategically placed in newsletters, etc.

Please forgive me if you find me blunt, this is just one guy's opinion. Kindly take what you think helps, ignore the rest:

1. An appetiser should be smaller than a meal. A few bites would suffice. Meaning the less promotional text you have, the more likely it is to be read, if it is going as an ad.

2. Make people curious. Let your book tell the story. Tell us the challenges that stood before you. Tell us you achieved great things despite all that. Don't tell us how it happened in the promo text though. Ask us to find out - by buying the book!

3. Have you seen how in the final minutes of an episode of a long-running series, or just before a commercial break, the viewer is told: "We are going to see how.... and why... and how the hell... so keep watching." In all your exposure, tell us what we can expect but only tease us with it so that we have to buy your book for the real details.

4. Take some witty, shocking, challenging anecdotes and quotes from the book which your friends have found memorable. Use them in your promo copy.

5. End your copy with a "call to action". Tell us how we can get the book, how we can get in touch with you, your etc.

6. Tell us how you think the book can help us - maybe people who have a family member facing the same challenge, etc. The last line of your current writing does that but the promise can be more specific - "the book shows you how you too can..."

So these are a few suggestions, but only my humble opinion. Last time I replied to your inspiring post I think my email didn't get through because I might have put my blog link in it. So this time, I'll just share my name - farrukh.

Private Reply to farrukh_copywriter(at)yahoo.com

Mar 02, 2006 10:30 pmre: re: Requesting feedback on book burb#

Glenda Watson Hyatt
Hi Farrukh,

Thanks for your honest comments and suggestions. I sincerely appreciate them.

Today I went to local bookstore and read the back cover of a few autobiographies and biographies. I now see my first attempt at the book blurb is way too long. Perhaps it makes a better book overview than a promotional piece.

I have read your suggestions a couple times and, although I understand them and they make sense, I am stuck in how to translate them into specifics about my book. Any guidance on how to accomplish this?

Thanks again, Farrukh, for your suggestions. I will keep pondering them. Hopefully I will have an eureka moment and the words for this blurb will come flowing out.


Private Reply to Glenda Watson Hyatt

Mar 03, 2006 3:05 amre: Requesting feedback on book burb#

Steven Boaze

Hi Glenda,

I agree with Farrukh on telling your audience
a little something punchy to get to the order

Of course, you already know online messages are
a little different than offline. So to make this
have balance, your burb must entice to sell.

This doesn't mean to hype it up, it means to
incorporate what's real with benefits. I've
found that in order to translate into specifics,
in your case, divide the sentences up onto
a seperate doc. Take each one and break them
down even further where you'll end up with
vital keywords. Take those keywords and let
your imagination flow into a component of
"want to know more." The less jargon you
have, the more chance your reader will want
to read more.

You're doing a great job and keep us posted.


Private Reply to Steven Boaze

Mar 03, 2006 5:54 amre: re: Requesting feedback on book burb#

Glenda Watson Hyatt
Thanks Steven,

I'll give this a shot! Reminds me of a writing exercise way back in Grade Seven, in which we were given a list of words and had to use as many as possible in a few paragraphs.

I'll post what I come up with. Thanks again.


Private Reply to Glenda Watson Hyatt

Mar 03, 2006 6:01 amre: re: re: Requesting feedback on book burb#

Hello Glenda,

You might like to try this format:

Glenda was born with... Which meant she could not... People said... Glenda proved them wrong.

In an extraordinarily active life, Glenda achieved...

How did she do it? Read Glenda's inspiring story and how she.....in her first autobiography....

The book has been very well received by.... and here's what some of the reviewers say:

(Insert review excerpts here).

(Book name) is available at (offline) and online at (url). Visit Glenda's website on... to read more about...

End format.

Although I don't usually write free samples like this for people, but your story touched me and so above is a template you could use for not just this book but your forthcoming ones as well. I wish you the best.


Private Reply to farrukh_copywriter(at)yahoo.com

Mar 03, 2006 8:48 pmre: re: re: re: Requesting feedback on book burb#

Glenda Watson Hyatt

Thank you so very much for this! I sincerely appreciate it. I'm going to take a couple days to mull over the advice you and Steven have graciously given me and see what I come up with.

Since the book is not completely written yet, and thus not ready for sale, I'll need to modify the "call to action" for now. Ideally, I would like people to subscribe to the monthly updates. This way I can market directly to them by offering them pre-launch specials and such.

I would like to add that I am amazed at how supportive people are of my dream to write this book; people who don't even know me. It is just amazing! Thank you.

Off to write.


Private Reply to Glenda Watson Hyatt

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