Book tips: How many drafts should I write?

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A fellow nonfiction author recently shared that he’d written 18 drafts of his book. That’s probably too many. But how many is the right number? I’ll answer that question, but first, let’s talk about what a draft is. You have a chapter written. You go through and make a change. You save it under a … Continued

Be an author, not a sucker: What services should non-fiction authors buy?

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Face it: if you’re prospective non-fiction author, you may as well have “sucker” written on your forehead. Everyone knows you yearn to be a bestseller and they’re quite happy to take your money to feed that need. Much of what they’re offering is waste. A lot of it is worthwhile. But it could cost you … Continued

Good and crappy reasons authors pick traditional, hybrid, or self-publishing models

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If you’re writing a book, there’s no perfect publishing model — there are always tradeoffs. Should you self-publish, pursue a traditional publisher, or approach a hybrid publishing model? Try these models on for size; see which one fits best. Traditional publishing Traditional publishers like Random House, Wiley, or HarperCollins — or smaller independent publishers — … Continued

Write a book proposal first, even if you’re self-publishing

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Unlike traditional publishers, alternate publishing methods — hybrid publishers and self-publishing — don’t require a book proposal. Write one anyway. Why should you put in all the extra work to write a proposal? Why not just write the book? Here are few good reasons: You’re going to need everything in the proposal anyway, from a … Continued

Turning blog posts into a book in 6 (somewhat) easy steps

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“I wrote a whole bunch of meaty blog posts. Could I make a book out of them?” That’s the seductive reasoning I hear from many clients. So let’s talk about what it takes to turn a blog into a book. Here’s a comment that appeared on my author survey yesterday: I write a blog, to … Continued

A profile of business authors

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I want to know who nonfiction and business authors are and how they work. I’d like to know why they got started, what their goals were, did they accomplish those goals, how long did it take, how did they publish (or plan to publish), how many copies did they sell, and how they made money. … Continued

“The Age of Intent” — a big idea book about Artificial Intelligence

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Two years ago, I got the opportunity to start work on a book about artificial intelligence. Today, you get to see the result. AI is one of the most powerful forces driving technology right now. Conversational interfaces — whether that’s online chat or Alexa — are another. Artificially intelligent chatbots, also known as virtual agents, … Continued

Why books work: A rebuttal to Andy Matuschak

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Andy Matuschak wrote a thoughtful piece called “Why books don’t work.” I think he’s a bit off-target. But his arguments will get you thinking about how your book can work better. If you’re an author with any capability for introspection, Matuschak’s essay ought to make you think. Here’s some of what he wrote: And at … Continued