What does it take to call yourself an author?

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You wrote a book. It got published. Does that make you an author? Oh sure, technically, you can say you’re an author. But when you file your taxes, under occupation, do you write “Author?” I do. And when I meet somebody new and they ask my occupation, I say “author” then, too. To do that, … Continued

Choosing among agents

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If you’re lucky enough to get several agents interested in your proposal, how should you pick? Surprisingly enough, the answer is not “Pick the agent who swings the biggest deals.” You can pitch multiple literary agents On a recent project, I was helping an author who had some very good connections. He had recommendations on … Continued

The reader’s job is to think

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I’m astounded by readers’ very small responses to very big problems — at least as manifested by how they respond to my blog. Readers have a responsibility to think bigger than that. For example, if I write a post called “Why Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t realize Facebook is evil,” people respond “I quit Facebook.” As if … Continued

Nagging is not part of the editor’s job

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At my last company, the job of “editor” was sort of a big deal. The editor was typically the supervisor of the analyst writing the research reports. That meant the editor had two jobs: First, to provide content and language guidance to the analyst. And second, to cajole and nag the analyst into producing something … Continued

Why publishers and agents reject book proposals

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Why won’t they publish your book? Since agents and publishers rarely take the time to respond to authors they won’t be working with, you may never know. But I know. Here, in order of frequency, are the reasons you may be getting rejected — or just getting ghosted — by agents and publishers you’ve contacted. … Continued

How much should you lie, er, exaggerate in your book proposal?

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Honestly, I’m in favor of the absolute truth in nearly all things. However, when it comes to a book proposal that you send to publishers and agents, you are describing a book that likely doesn’t yet exist. (You didn’t make the rookie mistake of writing the whole book before pitching it, did you?) You are … Continued

How long should you make your book chapters?

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How many chapters should there be in a nonfiction book? And how long should they be? Let’s break it down. Unless you have a heavily graphical book, the best way to measure chapters is by word count. Pages will vary based on the tools you’re using to write, fonts, line spacing, margins, and page layout, … Continued

Six great book titles: yours for the taking

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When I help authors, I often start with a brainstorm to identify a great title and subtitle. But perversely, my brain recently coughed up some titles unconnected to actual book projects. Since there are no books yet, I offer them to you. Steal my title and write the book. All I ask is that you … Continued