Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Review: Brand It Yourself: The Fast, Focused Way to Marketplace Magic by Lynn Altman

Remember like two weeks ago when I said I pretty much never write book reviews? Well, that applies mainly to fiction--especially erotic fiction. When you work in a certain niche, reviewing your peers' books can get awkward. And I don't just mean if you didn't like for the book. Give a glowing review and you run the risk of being called a pusher of your cronies' fiction (or worse).

Well, I don't write marketing books and I don't know author Lynn Altman, so I'm going to review this book of hers called Brand It Yourself: The Fast, Focused Way to Marketplace Magic.

Brand It Yourself is an industry-focused (yet very approachable) book that explores brand creation/invigoration/reinvention via creative process and brainstorming. It's coming at you from the point of view of a freelancer working with major corporate clients. Whether or not this book would be applicable to and useful for someone like me--an author whose writing business consists of myself and two cats--really depends on whether or not I choose to actively translate the lessons I've learned into methods I can incorporate into my little venture.

The first thing I did when I'd finished reading Brand It Yourself was to flip back to the copyright page to see when it was written. This book felt really recent, so I was surprised to find a copyright date of 2006--nearly 10 years ago. Most industry books I've read come off dated the second they hit the market, but not this one. That's quite a feat.

I'm a sucker for a business book written in an amusing tone, and I found myself laughing out loud a few times as I read this one. It's very approachable, in that sense. Author Lynn Altman basically says, "Here's what I do with my clients" and provides a good deal of general insight for a book that's really quite concise.

If you're like her and you have corporate clients (or you are that corporate client--someone who works in a marketing or brand development department, for instance), the ideas in Brand It Yourself are easily transferable. As for myself and my business of one (where I am the brand and my books are my products), I'll have to sit with what I've learned for a while.

Often when I'm reading books on marketing, I've got a notepad beside me and I'm madly scribbling ideas. I didn't take any notes while reading this book. I just read it. Up until the penultimate chapter, it was looking like a 4-star book, but I took a lot away from "Chapter 8: Avoid the Quagmires: Mistakes and missteps based on firsthand experience." (Always finish reading the book before writing the review!) I learn a lot from other people's mistakes, and this kind of writing always assuages my fears that there are these infallible gurus out there in the world who never mess up. The takeaway is sometimes greatest when pros allow themselves to be the anti-experts.

Great tone, useful information (particularly for pros in a corporate or freelance setting), and I ate this book up even though I'm usually a slow reader, so it must have been entertaining. I'll have to sit with what I've learned before I know for sure whether I can brand myself after reading Brand It Yourself.

Brand It Yourself: The Fast, Focused Way to Marketplace Magic
by Lynn Altman
Published by Penguin
Available from Amazon

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