How important are bookstores to business authors?

Continued">

If you’re a business book author, you are probably imagining your book on the shelf in the local Barnes & Noble, independent bookstore, or airport bookstore. But before you pursue that vision, you ought to think it through, because attaining bookstore placement comes with lots of challenges. As context for this discussion, consider two sales … Continued

All good editors are therapists

Continued">

When I start editing your manuscript, I learn something about you, the writer. That’s not just a side effect. It’s actually central to my ability to edit your work effectively. I don’t set out to psychoanalyze you. It’s just impossible not to. To improve a manuscript, I must understand the author’s goals What is the … Continued

Repetition in writing: why it happens, what it means, and how to fix it

Continued">

Every editor has had this experience: deep into a manuscript, you find yourself reading a familiar passage. Sure enough, it duplicates content that was earlier in the manuscript. Don’t just delete it. Ask yourself why it’s there, and use that knowledge to make the manuscript better. Why writers repeat themselves All writers repeat information in … Continued

On retainer: the economics of retainers for editors and other professionals

Continued">

I usually charge people by the project. But for some ongoing relationships, I charge a monthly retainer. While this arrangement is good for freelancers, clients need to think carefully about whether it’s appropriate for them. How a retainer arrangement works Here’s the mechanics of a retainer arrangement, or at the least the kind that I’ve … Continued

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi showed us flow. Writers need flow. And tech destroys it.

Continued">

Last week, the great psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi died. Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced chik-sent-mee-hai-ee) advanced our understanding of happiness and creativity enormously by codifying the concept of “flow,” a highly pleasurable and concentrated state of mind in which people are enormously productive. Every writer needs to know about flow — what it is, why it is important, and … Continued

Malcolm Gladwell on Paul Simon

Continued">

Malcolm Gladwell is creating an exclusive audiobook from interviews with Paul Simon. It’s called “Miracle and Wonder.” And I have to admit I am pretty excited about this. Paul Simon’s talent In my opinion, Paul Simon is the foremost poet of the Twentieth Century. His ability to connect melody, rhyme, and meaning is without parallel. … Continued

The writing room door

Continued">

Of all the tools and methods that writers use, having a door on your writing space — and closing it — may be the most powerful. A fellow writer about to undertake the months-long process of creating a book recently asked for advice about the need for concentration — and how to balance that with … Continued