What would your mother say?

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When I was an analyst, we had an opportunity to accomplish a goal by, shall we say, a means that not everyone would agree was ethical. I asked my boss what I should do. “I always answer these questions like this,” he said. “If everyone knew what you did, would you still feel okay about … Continued

Coauthor or ghostwriter?

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“Seeking a ghostwriter or coauthor,” the email subject line read. Make up your mind, I thought. Because those are two very different roles. A coauthor works with you, while a ghostwriter works for you. How to decide if you want a coauthor or a ghostwriter I get it. You think you need writing help. But … Continued

Why editorial costs vary so much

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“How much will it cost for you to help me with my book?” you ask. “It depends,” I answer. I know that’s frustrating. Here’s what affects that cost — and how you can work cost-effectively. Why talent costs vary I price by the job, not by the hour. But behind the scenes, I am estimating … Continued

What tasks should authors outsource?

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Authors can’t do everything. What should they hire others to do for them? Assuming you’re working with a publisher rather than self-publishing, here’s a list, ranging from tasks you really shouldn’t outsource to those you probably ought to. Do this yourself. Here’s what you can’t or shouldn’t delegate. You could outsource these tasks, but don’t … Continued

15 tips for working happily with publishers during book production

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Even when your manuscript is done, the book is not. After you hand in the manuscript, your publisher (or if you’re self-published, whoever you hired to lay out the pages and put it into online bookstores) still has to copy edit the book, lay out the pages, and get it printed and available for distribution. … Continued

Reputation and integrity have a cost. So does ignoring them.

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I lost about $18,000 this week, and gave myself a whole lot of extra work for which I’ll get paid nothing. And I regret none of it. Promises I do quality writing and editing work. I meet deadlines and never break promises. I suppose I do this to maintain my reputation. But as I think … Continued

Don’t blurb yourself like Mike Pompeo. You’ll look like an idiot.

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There are two good ways to get people to believe in your book. First, show them all the good things in the book. Publish excerpts. Write bylined articles. Preview the content. Second, have other people tell the world how good the book is. Collect blurb quotes from prominent people. Get people to write reviews on … Continued

Deductive vs. big-bang book structures

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As you structure your book, deductive logic is leading you astray — especially if you are an academic. State big conclusions first, if you want readers to keep reading. The logical, and wrong, way to structure a nonfiction book Here is the logical way to structure a book: Very nice. Very easy to follow. Very … Continued