Book Review: The Art of War for Writers

I can’t remember why this book made it’s way onto my list at the library. I put it on so stinking long ago. But just before I started off to Cali on my road trip with the kiddo, I got an email, come and get it. So I did.

Maybe I’m cynical but practically the first thing I did when I picked up The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell was check the publication date, 2009. Frowney face. This is out of date already. Bell has essentially applied Sun Tzu’s Art of War to the writing battle. I found a lot of his advice useful. He had lots of examples for each bit of concrete advice. For example, when detailing how to write a query letter, he wrote a query letter using a well known novel. When talking about how to create a tagline, he used well know movies. The extra effort made it easy to see how I might create these things for my novel.

Of course I wondered about a few things he said as well. For example, when looking to traditionally publish, having previously self published should not be revealed as it will be a debit against you in consideration by potential agents or editors. I think this is where the out of date comes in to play. Perhaps that was so back in 07 or 08 when he must have written it for 09 publication, but I think now, a good showing of quality work is generally considered a credit.

That said I still felt the book was an excellent investment of time.

℘℘℘℘ – Four Pages. Enjoyable book. Useful as well.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Art of War for Writers

  1. Not sure how I feel about self publishing… Seems ideal if you’ve got a pretty solid following but it’s nice to have a fancy publishing deal to not deal with all the marketing BS. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

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