Friday, May 31, 2013

Write Stronger Sales Messages
and Sell More Software

Book review of Words Fail Me - What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing - a book by Patricia T. O'Conner (Published 1999 by Harcourt Brace & Company)

This is the second of Patricia O'Conner's books about writing that I've read and enjoyed. The first book which I read was "Woe is I," a great way - a painless way - to learn the essentials of English grammar. The author was an editor at the New York Times Book Review. She writes particularly well. And she explains simply and clearly how everybody - including those of us in the software development industry - can write better.

"Words Fail Me" is a fun way to learn to write stronger sales messages. O'Conner believes that writing well is a craft that can be learned. It's not a "gift" that some people have and others lack. O'Conner calls "Words Fail Me" a "user's manual for words".

Good writing is writing that works - writing that makes sense to your readers. "Words Fail Me" presents the rules of writing. You don't have to follow all of the rules every time you write something. But it certainly helps if you know the rules, and only break them knowingly.

O'Conner believes that every topic can be explained clearly in simple English. If you can't explain something, O'Conner suggests that perhaps you don't understand it completely. I'm reasonably sure that microISVs understand their software applications completely. But perhaps software developers don't always understand their target audiences' needs.

Still, O'Conner states that if your writing is unclear, perhaps your thinking is unclear. And certainly all of us would benefit from thinking more about our subject matter - and about our writing goals - before we begin writing.

The world is full of painful ways to learn to write more effectively. "Words Fail Me" isn't one of them. This book is fun, and you'll learn a lot about how to enhance your software marketing.

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