Secrets of Successful Writers by Darrell Pitt

I don’t usually discuss cover art in my reviews, but I simply have to say something about the cover of SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL WRITERS. It’s eye-catching, but it doesn’t seem to go with the subject matter of the book. In fact, it sends a completely different message.

Despite what it looks like, this is a book of one-on-one interviews with working writers. The author interview has always been a staple of the how-to genre. However SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL WRITERS reads like a John Locke loyalty transfer blog on steroids. In this case, the writer isn’t trying to identify with celebrities. He’s trying to identify with successful authors. There is quite a bit of self-praise in the front matter, along with a conspicuous list of Pitt’s novels. It’s obvious that his mission isn’t to help other writers or showcase the authors whom he interviewed. His mission is to shine a bright spotlight on himself.

The authors can only answer the questions that Pitt asks them, and he isn’t a very skilled interviewer. “Can you describe a typical day of writing?” isn’t the most interesting question. Pitt asks the same generic questions over and over, as if the writers were interchangable.

Generic questions mean generic answers, and SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL WRITERS doesn’t really contain any secrets. It’s the same advice we’ve read on a thousand blogs and in a thousand how-to books. Write every day. Concentrate more on writing than on marketing. Be patient. Don’t give up.

Not only have I heard this before, I’ve heard it from more interesting and better-informed sources. Therefore, I’m deleting this book from my ereader and choosing one of those better books instead.

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rating: 2 stars

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I recommend Ink Stains edited by Lara Zielin or Word Work by Bruce Holland Rogers instead of this book.

7 thoughts on “Secrets of Successful Writers by Darrell Pitt

  1. I see conceptually where they were going — a picture of someone sharing secrets, right? But the execution makes it look like the contents might be NSFW. It’s a bummer when author interviews don’t go well because usually we’re a chatty bunch and we have a lot to say about our craft.

    • So true, Lara! Whenever a book doesn’t quite measure up, I try to point readers to better alternatives. Happily, there are much better books out there for us to read.

  2. As it happens, I’m an aspiring writer of porn and that image looks like the left-side of the cover for my first book The Penis-Lollipop Chronicles.

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