Writing a book proposal? Appeal to readers, not publishers.

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The job of a book proposal is to convince an acquisitions editor at a publishing house to make you an offer. So obviously, you should write it for editors, right? Wrong. Editors don’t want you to tell them what you plan to do. They want you to show them what you can do — for … Continued

Parts, chapters, sections, and subsections: how to organize your nonfiction book

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You’ve written (or plan to write) 40,000 to 70,000 words of brilliant prose. Publishers — and readers — will bring a set of expectations regarding structure to the work. Publishers expect you to know how books are organized, but they rarely discuss those conventions explicitly. So let’s break down how nonfiction books are organized. Chapters … Continued

The fundamental insights in Natalie Nixon’s book “The Creativity Leap”

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Creativity emerges from the interplay of wonder and rigor. That is the central message of The Creativity Leap, a fantastic little book by Natalie Nixon. She taps into a background in cultural anthropology and fashion to create a book that struck me as somehow fundamental, connected to the core of what it means to be … Continued

How to plan and write a useful memoir

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Have you had an interesting life? Could others benefit from your experiences? Then you might write a memoir. But how should you structure it? Let’s look at two ways to structure a memoir filled with valuable lessons. I’m working with several authors on memoirs right now, and I developed these approaches to help them. One … Continued

Do you get paid a bounty for referrals? Do you disclose it?

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I may tell you to work with another professional for a service I don’t offer. Sometimes I get paid a bounty for this. Here’s why I always disclose those payments. When an author comes to me, sometimes I can help them, sometime I can’t. They might need a different kind of editor, an illustrator, a … Continued

What to do when your book agent ghosts, rejects, or dumps you

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You finally got a literary agent to engage about your book proposal. Now they’re no longer getting back to you and things are stalled. How can you move forward? The first thing you need to accept is that, as friendly as agents may seem, they are transactional by nature, because they only get paid if … Continued