Restarting a stalled book project

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I had a half-written book. It had languished for a while. I felt stuck. This is how I brought it back to life — without wasting all the work I’d done. Why my book was stuck A while back, I’d started a book titled How to Write a Business Book That Matters: A Comprehensive Guide … Continued

Mortifying conversations with authors

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Did these really happen? I’m not saying. What kind of work do you do?I’m an author.What’s your day job?— What do you do?I’m an author.Really. Wow. Do you know Stephen King?No.Malcolm Gladwell! Do you know Malcolm Gladwell?We both presented to the same group once.What’s he like?Skinny. Glib.— What’s your job?I’m an author.Do you write fiction?Not … Continued

Assembling the ingredients of your business book

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Business books are made of ideas and frameworks, stories, proof points, argumentation, and advice. That’s what you need to build one. So what does it take to assemble all of that? Let’s examine a 50,000-word book, which is typical these days (somewhat shorter than in past years). A hardback typically has 250 words per page, … Continued

Why fear and greed are essential to your business book

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Chapter 1 of your business book should be the “scare the crap out of you” chapter. There are two ways to do that: fear and greed. Which should you use? Why “scare the crap out of you”? Business books intended to create action must include an idea or an insight that matters to the reader. … Continued

The book pitch timeline — working with agents and publishers

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The process by which agents pitch publishers can be confusing, as it’s often characterized by periods of waiting followed by rapid shifts in perspective. I’ll explain not only what happens, but how long it takes. For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll assume that you already have already written a proposal and secured a … Continued

Be a planner, not a pantser. 6 reasons why you need to plan a book before you start writing.

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There are two kinds of authors. Planners meticulously plan what they’re going to research and write before they start writing. Pantsers (think “seat-of-the-pants” writers) start writing and see where things go. While these terms come from fiction, they also apply to nonfiction writers. It’s tempting to start writing by, well, writing. But setting out to … Continued

How older writers stay sharp

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I’ve been writing professionally for 40 years. You can’t write the same way in your sixties as you did in your twenties. But you can take steps to maintain that the quality of what you write and the enjoyment you get from doing it. In this post, I’ll break down the elements of the writing … Continued