Four Minute Books Contributor Application Form
This form explains how to write a test summary for Four Minute Books. If your summary meets our quality standards or is close enough to get there, you will be paid $100 and receive detailed feedback in the form of specific edits and comments. You'll also be eligible to submit further summaries at the same rate (how many may depend on how many we need at the time). If you want to submit regularly and use Blinkist as a base to create further summaries, which makes it a bit easier (and you don't have to read a full book every time), you will be given a paid subscription for that as well. If not, you will receive some general feedback on your writing which you can use to keep improving and resubmit your summary or another one in the future.
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Step 1: Read 2-3 book summaries on Four Minute Books
This'll help you familiarize yourself with the style we're looking for as well as get into the right frame of mind. Feel free to pick summaries of books you have read or ones that interest you.

You can find a full, alphabetic index here: https://fourminutebooks.com/book-summaries/

Step 2: Pick a non-fiction book you've previously read that you'd like to summarize
Please double-check that the book is not already on Four Minute Books. You can do so by going to the index page: https://fourminutebooks.com/book-summaries/

There, press Cmd+F on Mac (or Ctrl+F on Windows) and enter the title of your book. If it's not in the alphabetic list, you're good to go.

Step 3: Set up the summary template in Google Docs
Open this link in a new tab: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EXIds9Cem5eOw7EUeoOdkXLywvLXpzGFSaS1zrxCMdM/edit?usp=sharing

This is our summary template, which you can use to guide your own summary writing process. Simply replace each component of the summary one by one, until the document is finished.

To use this for yourself, click "File," then "Make a copy..." and you'll create an editable version in your own Google Docs folder. See below.

How to make a copy of the template you can edit
The template is somewhat self-explanatory, but here's a detailed walkthrough of what to do regardless.
Step 4: Summarize the book in one sentence
Read some 1-sentence summaries on Four Minute Books as examples, then try to capture what the book explains to the reader in one sentence. Tell the reader what benefits they will have from knowing what facts the book conveys, not just which facts they are.
Step 5: Replace the 1-sentence summary in the template with the one for your book
Step 6: Pick your favorite quote from the book
This should be a quote from the original text of the book. If you don't have access to the book itself, you can use Goodreads to do this by searching for quotes from the author and double-checking if they're from said title.

Here is an example page: https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3389674-trotzdem-ja-zum-leben-sagen-ein-psychologe-erlebt-das-konzentrationslag

If the title of the book is next to the author's name in the quote, it means it's directly from the book.

You can also use Amazon to do this by browsing the book there and reading the preview to scan for a quote you like.

Step 7: Replace the author quote in the template with yours
Step 8: Write a 150-200 word introduction to the book
You can do this by starting with an interesting fact from the book or about the author, or a global trend the book discusses or a claim it refutes. But always start with a story. The introduction always ends with the 3 lessons and then a call to action (CTA) for the reader to continue/start reading.

Example for the CTA: "Let’s figure out exactly what it takes to become a CEO of our personal business!"

Hint: You can check how many words you've written in any section in Google Docs by highlighting it and pressing Cmd+Shift+C on a Mac or Ctrl+Shift+C on Windows
Step 9: Ask yourself: "What 3 lessons from this book are the most important to know for someone who's never heard of it before?"
All summaries on Four Minute Books share 3 lessons from a book. In doing so, we can keep the summaries short and concise while at the same time not revealing the whole book for interested readers.

Generally, if a book has 3 parts or a 3-act-structure, I try to take one lesson from each part.

Feel free to use the table of contents to pick 3 things, which usually makes it easier.

Step 10: Add your 3 chosen lessons in the introduction as a short, numbered list.
Simply replace the existing ones with your 3 ideas.
Step 11: Explain the first lesson in detail in 200-250 words
Use the body section of the first lesson to explain the takeaway in 2-4 paragraphs. To do this, you can use examples the author also uses in the book, come up with your own, and, of course, provide more details about the specifics of what you want the reader to take away.
Step 12: Explain the second lesson in detail in 200-250 words
Repeat Step 11 with the second lesson you picked from your book. Feel free to use the template or existing summaries on the site as a guideline and to find inspiration.
Step 13: Explain the third lesson in detail in 200-250 words
Repeat Step 11 with the third lesson you picked from your book. Feel free to use the template or existing summaries on the site as a guideline and to find inspiration.
Step 14: Review the book in 2-3 sentences
State your opinion of the book in 2-3 sentences. Here, you can say what you liked and didn't like about it, why you think it's a good read (or not), and how it helps the reader achieve what it promises them. Add your evaluation in the review section of the template.
Step 15: Add who you'd recommend the book to
By thinking of three specific characters, we help people self-identify if they should get deeper into a book or not. To do so, we choose an age, a profession or occupation, and a problem this person has.

Example: "The 29-year-old who is stressed about the idea of working in a dead-end job for the next 30 years, a 26-year-old freelance writer looking to turn their gig into a personal business, and anyone wanting to graduate from the daily 9-5 grind."

Step 16: Submit your summary for review by grabbing the shareable link in your Google Doc
Once you've finalized your summary, click "Share" in the top right corner, then select "Anyone with the link can EDIT" to make sure it's editable. Then, copy the link and enter it into this form below.
Where to find the shareable link for your Google Doc
How to make sure your summary is editable
What's the link to your summary in Google Docs? *
Your answer
Thank you for applying to be a Four Minute Books contributor! Once you've submitted your summary, you'll hear from us within 7 days at the email you've given us.
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