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About Right Before You Write, and even a little about the author.


“O’Brien soars light years beyond the “business as usual” approach to grant writing. All the world’s a stage, and O’Brien posits that, to be effective, a grant proposal (like all good writing) should tell a tale. Ingeniously, he demonstrates how the storytelling techniques of Hollywood’s top screenwriters can help program planners hone a vague idea into a compelling concept imbued with structure and real-life drama—just the thing to capture the attention of funding agencies. Take this book at its title, it’s about making you think smarter, long before you commit a single word to paper. And that’s a notion all writers can take to heart.”
Gail Willumsen, Emmy™ award-winning writer/producer, Gemini Productions

“Being the owner of a research and fund development organization since 1992 and having worked in the nonprofit field since 1980, I know that the material provided in this book will put you many notches above other competitors if you diligently learn and apply what is suggested.   This book will help you improve the clarity of your thinking, and therefore, your writing.   It will give you a competitive edge in winning grant funding. [It] is brilliant, fun, enjoyable, and easy to read and understand.   It is helpful for aspiring and experienced grant writers alike.”
Kristina Brook, MA-Owner, K & M Enterprises, one of the largest and most successful grant writing and fund development firms in the nation

“This book is everything I love about Jon’s class—honest, insightful, funny and brilliant. It’s a great book for all writers.” Thane Swigart, former student and professional screenwriter

“If you want to know how to do something, listen to someone who has done it. Jon’s work has won over $385 million dollars for worthy nonprofit groups. In Right Before You Write, Jon shares his unique story-telling approach to writing grants. He’s done it. He knows what he’s talking about. It would be wise to read and listen since his results have placed him among the top three or four in the nation at his profession.”
Gene Perret, Three-time Emmy™ award-winning writer/producer and author of Comedy Writing Step by Step



“At last…a book that tells you what you really need to know about the art of successful grant writing. The author’s experience, passion and humor bring a unique perspective to this book that is filled with practical advice and clear examples. A “must read” for new and experienced grant writers!”
Cheryl Gourgouris, Director of Program-Richstone Family Center

“For the past fifteen years Jon has used his planning strategies to breathe life into grant proposals for our organization that nine out of ten times were funded. His unprecedented success comes from first building a relationship with the client, getting to know the internal organization, and studying the specific stakeholders. He then studies the possibilities, sees the potential of the grant, and the effect it will have on the clients and stakeholders. If he decides there is an appropriate match he crafts just the right proposal. Of all the approaches our organization has used to win competitive grants, Jon’s approach has been the most unique and most successful.”
Marlene Wilson, Deputy Superintendent-Lennox School District



"Taking a class from Jon is like a pat on the back and a punch in the face at the same time. You'll feel like you've just gone ten rounds with the champ, but you'll be grateful for every hit when it's over."

“An off-kilter teaching style that you don’t come by a lot.”

“This guy knows his stuff, inside and out.”

“I have never been more excited to write than when I was in his class.”

“Hilarious and inspirational. Best instructor I’ve had at SBCC.”



“I consider Jon O’Brien uniquely unqualified to write a book about writing.”

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RIght Before You Write Cover

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