Write what you know. (But what if all you know is the inside of your own brain?)

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They tell fiction authors to “write what you know.” The same obviously applies to non-fiction. But it’s all too easy to go from that to “Write about yourself” — especially when it comes to self-help books. If you know about marketing strategy, write about marketing strategy. If you know about startups, write about startups. Just … Continued

The ROAM test for business books

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There are four questions you really should answer before setting out on a business book journey. They’ll determine everything from your title to your content to your publishing model. I first created the ROAM test for general business writing. It includes four elements: Readers, Objective, Action, and iMpression. If you’re going to work on something … Continued

Please don’t write a book

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People sometimes come to me with a manuscript of their nonfiction book and ask, “Can you help?” Often, this is the most frustrating conversation I ever have. Please don’t start by writing a book. Start differently. Start first by asking if there is something you know that will change people. It doesn’t have to be … Continued

What all business authors do

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I’ve been working with and interviewing a lot of authors lately. I am trying to get at what makes them tick. While it is true that they aren’t altruists — they’re in it boost their own standing and businesses, of course — I am beginning to think I’m getting to the nub of what’s important … Continued

The last chapter of your business book

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How do you end your business book? Many just fizzle. Here’s how to leave your readers on a high note. I already wrote about how the first chapter is the scare-the-crap-out-of-you chapter. And I explained how to write all the other chapters. But once you’ve said all you need to say, what’s left to say? … Continued

Famous or useful?

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If you’re famous you don’t have to be useful. A while ago, I had an assignment to present to a small group: the CMOs of a massive media company. Since this company had a dozen major media brands, there were about twelve people in the room. They had tapped me after having me speak to … Continued