Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Book Review: 'Write Your Book on the Side' by Hassan Osman

Author/advisor Hassan Osman has published four successful books on offering guidance in coping with this new IT world and how to succeed because of it instead of despite of it! His books to date are DON’T REPLY ALL (helpful hints on writing email), INFLUENCING VIRTUAL TEAMS how to take advantage of and control your ‘remote employees’), SECURING YOUR INFORMATION IN AN INSECURE WORLD (notes about hackers and identity thieves), and now in this latest book, "Write Your Book on the Side," he explains how he wrote and published his books while working a full-time job. Hassan is a PMO manager at Cisco Systems*, where he leads teams all around the world on delivering complex IT projects: his previous jobs included a manager at Ernst & Young LLP, and a research assistant at Harvard University, where he studied issues related to virtual teams. His IT moniker is ‘the couch manager’ and as such he offers advice on managing remote teams.

The fluency of Hassan’s thinking and writing is obvious in his Introductory remarks – ‘I don’t have time to write books. I work a demanding full-time job that keeps me quite busy. I’m also married with two little kids. Between work and life, my schedule gets pretty crazy. Family comes first to me, and I never sacrifice spending quality time with my wife and daughters at the expense of work. So this makes it even more challenging to find the time to write a book. To make things worse, I’m a slow writer. It physically pains me to write, and I can barely go through a couple of lines at a time before coming up with excuses to do something else, like checking Facebook. Plus, I’m someone who’s generally lazy. I would rather watch another rerun of Band of Brothers than sit down to type at my keyboard. Yet with all those challenges, I managed to publish not just one but two Amazon Kindle books, both of which hit the #1 Amazon Bestseller list in their categories. The book you’re reading now is the third. And I’ve already started working on the fourth and the fifth. If I can do it—someone who holds a full time job, and is a full time father and procrastinator—then so can you. I guarantee it.‘

With that positive outlook Hassan outlines his ideas in an accessible manner - Choose a General Topic, Narrow It Down, Choose a Title and Subtitle, Test and Iterate, Outline Your Book Step, Write Your Book, Edit Your Book, Format Your Book, Design a Cover, Publish Your Book, Launch Your Book (optional), Turn Your Book into an Amazon #1 Best Seller (optional), Gather Emails from Readers (optional), and Expand Into Other Formats (optional). And as all fine writers and lectures/teachers provide, Hassan recaps the content – ‘Steps 1 through 4 were about choosing a general topic for your book, narrowing it down, selecting a few title and subtitle options, and testing them until you settle on a final title and subtitle combination. Those first four steps are the most important in the process because they are the foundation for writing a book that matters. Steps 5 through 8 were about outlining, writing, editing, and formatting your book. Those steps will take the longest time, but they’re the most rewarding. Step 9 was about creating a professional cover, and Step 10 was about publishing your book in 20 minutes on Amazon KDP. Steps 11 through 14 were optional steps that you can pick and choose from if you have the time. They’ll give you some cool advantages, but they’re not necessary to get your book published. Finally, always remember Rule #1: Write a really, really useful book. It’s a rule that keeps your readers front and center, and if you write a book that is worth their money and their time, you’ll be successful as an author.’

Reading this book automatically encourages the reader to explore Hassan’s other equally knowledgeable books. What a coach! Grady Harp, December 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.