Doing work that matters

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The best life for a writer is to spend your days writing and editing prose that matters. This is not easy, but it is rewarding. And that attitude should apply to whatever work you do. This year I am getting to enjoy, shall we say, a wide variety of work. For example: The ghostwriting project … Continued

Straight talk about how to come up with a book title

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It’s time to come up with a title for your book. “I want something iconic,” you’re thinking. “Like Lean In. Or The Tipping Point. Or Made to Stick.” You are deluded. And your delusion is leading you astray. These books sold because of huge promotion (Lean In) and incredible ideas and writing. You think they are great titles … Continued

About your book idea: do you need an editor, a ghostwriter, or therapy?

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Last night, I was talking to an established author who is helping out a couple friends who want to write a book. “They have a great story but they aren’t sure if they need an editor or a ghostwriter,” he said. That’s a pretty good question. If you’re an emerging thought leader and think you … Continued

9 reasons why thought leaders must embrace their competitors

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It’s a nasty, noisy world out there. It’s easy for your own ideas to get lost in the cacophony. I’m here to tell you what you don’t want to hear: make friends with your competitors, quote them, and give them credit for their great ideas. I came to this realization after collaborating with people who … Continued

My problem with books

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I have a books problem. My parents read Dr. Seuss books to me when I was a child, and that was where it started. Every weekend they would take me to the library. It started with the books on science and astronomy. Once I had read them all, they introduced me to the grownup side … Continued

Writer, editor, ghostwriter; what I learned from 11 book projects

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In the last decade I’ve been intimately involved with 11 nonfiction book projects. I wrote or cowrote four, edited five, and ghostwrote one-and-a-half (one is not yet complete). These were the most rewarding experiences in my career. Here’s what I learned: the keys to success in a book project are planning, passion, trust, perseverance, and … Continued

Why getting stuck is part of coming up with great titles and taglines

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I help people with book titles and taglines. It’s not a linear process, and progress is impossible to measure. That’s a feature, not a bug. I had this insight recently when working with a client on a tagline for his business, along with some other language. (A tagline is a short description of what you … Continued

How to write Chapter 1 of the book that will make your reputation

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You want to write a book that will make everyone take notice of the insights you’ve gained — insights that no one has thought of before. But how to start? I’m going to assume you have a powerful idea and you’ve researched it. (If you haven’t, nail those down before writing.) If you have a … Continued