Firstly, let me say that I don't know Susan Haswell, I'm not a direct competitor with her and I'm sure she's a lovely person. On a positive note, I did get a couple of interesting ideas from her book (and I too have worked in sales, marketing and PR for 30+ years). I also admire and respect her infectious enthusiasm and obvious experience in sales, marketing and PR. But something seems to have gone badly wrong with quality control for the PR Superstar and I don't think it does Susan any favours.
Sadly, in my opinion, the quality of the writing and presentation of this book is inconsistent with Susan's experience. As a former agency and in-house PR practitioner myself, I know that good writing should be a given. Unfortunately, as I read the book I soon found myself being distracted by the many 'silent assassins' lurking within its pages: the typos, poor writing style and careless formatting that regularly distract the reader from what is generally good information. By the time I was halfway through, I was skim reading to spot the problems rather than enjoy the content. 'Gushy' multiple exclamation marks are never a good sign and mark the amateur writer. So do multiple question marks. Use of hyphens instead of en-dashes is a complete no-no too. Missing words, lack of italicised publication titles, inconsistent capitalisation, incorrect punctuation (including missing full stops) and more than three ellipsis points are also elementary errors for someone of the author's obvious experience. By association, they undermine the credibility of the book's content.
The formatting is all over the place too, which further undermines the book's credibility. I'd question whether the manuscript was copy-edited. Professional writers, including me, can rarely put their hands up and say with 100 per cent confidence that there isn't an error in a lengthy piece of work. But this isn't a massive book and it's riddled with writing gaffs. That's a shame when it could easily and quickly have been copy-edited (I've done this for similar books myself). Had that been done, it would have been a much better book, one that I wouldn't feel embarrassed to have in my writer's library and wouldn't regret buying. I sincerely hope Susan takes this on board for a revised edition and future books.
Last but not least, I was surprised to see how little attention is given to writing for online press releases and submitting these. For a book published so recently, my experience as an SEO copywriter (including online press releases) tells me that was a significant omission.
Sorry again, but Susan could have done so much better. And so, if you are looking for a practical introduction to PR, could you.
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