The future of book publishing, censorship, and “cancel culture”

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Simon & Schuster will not distribute a book by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, one of the policemen who shot Breonna Taylor. But crucially, this is not a publisher cancelling a book — Simon & Schuster is the book’s distributor. Let’s take a look at all the choke points in publishing and how their reaction to offensive … Continued

Count words, not pages

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I often ask writers I’m coaching how many words will be in the piece they are planning to write. They frequently don’t know. They say things like “It will be about three pages long.” You should get used to thinking in word counts rather than page counts. Why? Because word counts are the best measurement … Continued

Customer experience and trust: an AT&T case study

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When I worked closely with Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, the authors of the customer experience book Outside In, I learned how most customer experience problems are rooted deep within corporate systems. That’s what happened to me this week in an interaction with AT&T. The odyssey of dropping a line from AT&T My son, a … Continued

The term “officer-involved shooting” sets a dangerous precedent

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A state trooper in Maryland shot a 16-year old man. ABC News described it as an “trooper-involved fatal shooting” — as if it somehow happened by itself with no agency on the part of the trooper. You can argue about whether the shooting was justified — since the person who was shot was wielding a … Continued

Audiobook narration tips for authors

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People bought over $2 billion worth of audiobooks in 2019, and the market continues to expand. If you’ve written a nonfiction book, it should be available in an audiobook format. But who should narrate it — you, or a voice actor? If you have an inclination to narrate your own book in audiobook format, I … Continued

Why your book must be (nearly) perfect

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It sure is a lot of work to finish a book. Why must it be 99.99% perfect? Why worry about a few typos? Or an awkward page layout? Or a footnote, for that matter? The answer is simple. Flow. The trance When you read a book, you become entranced. Your brain is swept away. You … Continued