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

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

Opening paragraphs of book proposals that sold

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I see lots of book proposals. Somebody told a bunch of these writers to start with “Overview.” Those proposals leave me nodding off. They’re a lot less likely to sell, too. Your proposal should grab the editor by the throat from the first word. Your proposal should shout, “This person is an awesome writer!” with … Continued

17 crucial tasks for the run-up to your book’s publication date

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You’ve completed and turned in your manuscript to the publisher. Congratulations. Time to have a well-earned break, right? Well, maybe for a day or two. There’s typically at least a 5-month gap between when the manuscript is done and your publication date. (That can be shorter if you’re self-publishing, but there’s still a gap.) What … Continued

“You really should charge for this,” said the tech bro

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So, I’m lined up to do a consultation with this guy from Silicon Valley. He’s very well connected there, so he tells me. This is a pretty typical session for me — a 30-minute discussion of needs and publishing alternatives with an aspiring author. I typically do three of these a week. And they’re free … Continued

5 ways to fix a book that is too long

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Most nonfiction authors write too much. Let’s talk about what’s probably wrong and how to fix it. How long should your book be? While there is no single correct answer to that question for every book, business books these days tend to come in at around 50,000 to 60,000 words, which generates a book of … Continued