Making memoir chapters compelling

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If you’re writing a memoir, some parts of your life were probably exciting. Other parts, maybe, not so much. How can you craft all of that into a package worth reading? The problem is that no one’s life is a Hollywood epic. Stuff happens; we do stuff. Some of it is fun. Some of it … Continued

Editing it down

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Your writing would be better if it were shorter. In my survey of business writers, the top complaint about what they read is that it’s too long. The top complaint about what they write is also that it is too long. We know we have a wordiness problem. But how do you edit things down? … Continued

Your book needs no introduction. So don’t write one.

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Nonfiction books should start with a bang. Introductions are boring. Ergo, don’t start with an introduction. Despite the logic of this, many business and nonfiction writers start their books with an introduction. They either think it’s required, or fall victim to the fallacy that, having created a book, they need to somehow explain it. Why … Continued

How to seduce readers with a sexy table of contents

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I bet you never thought of a table of contents as sexy. But it is, or at least it ought to be. A table of contents is an invitation to go further, to create a new relationship. If that’s what you want, then being sexy is a good strategy. A potential book buyer peruses the … Continued

How to sell 10,000 copies of your book — or decide you don’t need to

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It’s a publishing truism that your book must sell 10,000 copies to be successful. It’s wrong. And it’s also very hard. So let’s take a look at whether you need to sell 10,000 copies, and what it would take to do that. Can you succeed without selling 10,000 copies? The analysis I’m going to share … Continued

The future of book publishing, censorship, and “cancel culture”

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Simon & Schuster will not distribute a book by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, one of the policemen who shot Breonna Taylor. But crucially, this is not a publisher cancelling a book — Simon & Schuster is the book’s distributor. Let’s take a look at all the choke points in publishing and how their reaction to offensive … Continued