Considering changing a manuscript at the last minute? Don’t!

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Deadlines are a key feature of book production. At each deadline, making changes becomes more difficult. Let’s talk about why you should do everything possible to avoid making late changes. A typical book production timeline might look like this: Author’s manuscript to publisher: Jan 1Copy editor’s comments to author: Jan 20Author’s response to copy edits … Continued

In response to the finest whines of nonfiction book authors

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Authors love to complain. (Well, everybody loves to complain, but the complaints of authors are more erudite and literate.) From my post as editor and coach, I get to hear it all. And I take your whines seriously, friends. So here’s a call-and-response that may help you cope. I cannot believe how much work it is to be an author. This is so hard. Art is hard. Being a smartass … Continued

Correlation, causation, and confusion: The Backlinko study of 912 million blog posts

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Brian Dean of Backlinko, an SEO maven whose site includes a technique that “almost guarantees that you get high quality links from every piece of content that you publish,” published a study of 912 million blog posts. He says his results include worthwhile insights. I say they support an alternate explanation: nearly all content marketing … Continued

Emergency!

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Is Donald Trump’s national emergency actually an emergency? Let’s take an unemotional look at that. Trump has declared a national emergency to get access to funds originally designated for other purposes so he can build his border wall. There are any number of analyses of whether this is legal, and certainly congressional Democrats and others … Continued

“Dreyer’s English” is a style guide with style

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Benjamin Dreyer is a master copy editor. He wrote a book on correct English. You might find it amusing. Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style is currently at No. 12 on the Amazon bestseller list. That is absurd (and based on Dreyer’s comment’s on Twitter, he agrees with me). Here’s what … Continued

How to spot a crappy self-published book (and make sure yours isn’t)

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Here’s a syllogism for you: A book will boost your reputation. It’s easy to self-publish a book. Therefore, a self-published book will boost your reputation. Not so fast. The problem is, most self-published books reveal themselves to be crappy and do more harm than good. Self-publishing is faster than working with a traditional publisher and … Continued

My valentine to Zoom video conferencing

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Some tools are so helpful, useful, and dependable that you rapidly find you cannot live without them. In my work, video meetings have now become essential. And Zoom is the best way to do them. If you read this space regularly you know that I am by nature a skeptical hardass with the contrarian instinct … Continued

Some questions about the President’s American Artificial Intelligence Initiative

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President Trump announced the “American AI initiative” with an executive order. Like many such presidential pronouncements (and not just from Trump), it’s somehow both blustery and mushy. Let’s take it apart and see if it makes sense. In what follows, commentary is mine. Passages in bold italic are passive voice, weasel words, or other notably … Continued