Pitiless editing

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Editors can’t be sentimental or be swayed by politics within author organizations. The only thing that matters is what the reader will read. As a nonfiction book editor, your only concern should be whether a book will be worthwhile and successful. That success depends on the answers to these questions: Will the reader want to … Continued

Josh Hawley’s radical manifesto “The Tyranny of Big Tech”

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Missouri Senator Josh Hawley’s book The Tyranny of Big Tech is a diatribe against large tech platforms like Facebook and Google. It’s a remarkably radical, even quasi-Marxist critique for a Republican — one that proposes a series of regulations that would endear him to the most liberal of Democrats. I have problem with both Hawley’s … Continued

Value ratios: a key metric for your book chapters

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Business book chapters are made out of ideas, stories, research, argumentation, and advice. To be readable, you need to maximize the stories and advice. Very simple: look at the chapter draft you wrote. Measure the number of words dedicated to each type of element: Ideas and frameworks. Principles you use to make your points. Stories. … Continued

James Bond, creativity, listening, and data

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John Logan, the scriptwriter behind two of the latest James Bond movies, is worried that when Amazon buys MGM, it will ruin 007. But data and corporate control doesn’t necessarily ruin creativity. It all depends on who’s making the creative decisions. John Logan’s lament for 007 Here’s some of what John Logan, co-writer of “Skyfall” … Continued

Squeamish about Amazon? How authors can support Amazon’s competitors.

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Amazon is an indispensable partner for any author. It’s also a problematic company whose dominance of the publishing business threatens everyone from independent bookstores to self-published authors. What’s an author to do? You could boycott Amazon completely. I have a friend who’s doing that. But if you’re an author, completely avoiding Amazon is going to … Continued

Making memoir chapters compelling

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If you’re writing a memoir, some parts of your life were probably exciting. Other parts, maybe, not so much. How can you craft all of that into a package worth reading? The problem is that no one’s life is a Hollywood epic. Stuff happens; we do stuff. Some of it is fun. Some of it … Continued