Cheer down: How to create drama in your prose without shouting.

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There’s nothing wrong with dramatic nonfiction prose. But you don’t create it by SHOUTING. When novice nonfiction writers want to show how excited they are, they write prose that baldly and obviously declares its excitement. For example, their text is littered with: The more you write stuff like this, the more the reader resists. The … Continued

Warning signs that a potential book agent is a fraud

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The best way to get a book agent is through a referral from somebody who works with them. The worst way is to fling a manuscript, proposal, or query blindly at a Web site. But it is so difficult to find an agent — and they are so selective — that some people get desperate. … Continued

Tone matters. Yours should be authoritative, but not boring.

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I read and edit a lot of nonfiction content — business books, blog posts, advice, and so on. Poor choices in tone often undermine authors’ credibility. Your tone should be expert and authoritative, but not dull. What is tone? Tone is the way in which an author’s prose choices communicate the author’s relationship with the … Continued

The cost of arrogance

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I was arrogant throughout my career. It based on a justifiable pride about my own capabilities. But it deprived me of something crucial: an appreciation for the best qualities of other people. How I became arrogant I’m going to tell you about me. It’s going to sound like bragging. But it’s all factual. I was … Continued

Is your book idea timely or timeless?

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Timely books tap into readers’ urgent needs. They also become obsolete more quickly. Timeless books have a longer shelf life, but they’re harder to promote. Here’s how to think about them. Use strategic thinking to extend the life of timely books Now would be a great time for a book about hybrid work, autonomous cars, … Continued