Do these book tasks early — or end up in hell

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Repeat after me: When a book goes to copy edit, the content should basically be done. I can’t hear you in the back, there. Are you sure you believe it? Say it again: When a book goes to copy edit, the content should basically be done. Here’s the challenge. Your creative work on the book … Continued

The PITA principle, or when should you be a pain in the ass?

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Some people report that I am a sweet, nice, and supportive person. Others would say I am a pain in the ass who never backs down. Both are true. Here’s how that works. I don’t take much on faith. When my new doctor recently prescribed a medication, I had many, many questions. I was argumentative … Continued

“Can I pick your brain?”

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No. Usually. I get these requests all the time. And I am generous with free advice. Even so, how I respond is based on on where you land on two separate scales. How specific are you? “Can you help me with x?” is a lot different from “Can I pick your brain?” The more specific … Continued

How to be a terrible client (and what it will cost you)

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Working freelance is like a dance. When your partner works with you, it can be glorious. If the partner is oblivious, it is painful and ugly. Here’s the thing: I love my clients. I really do. There is the bright and energetic woman whose book will deliver great advice about how to succeed at work. … Continued

Two habits for a successful 2020

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How long will your New Year’s resolutions last? And what will you do once you have broken them? Ditch them and the guilt that goes along with them. Here are two easy habits that will propel your career this year. 1 Try new stuff This year, someone will put you in an uncomfortable position. You’ll … Continued

Who deserves a reply? Take the “No Ghosting” pledge.

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One terrible thing that happens in professional circles is “ghosting” — failing to reply to someone after an exploratory conversation. It’s rude after a date, but inexcusable after an interview. Let’s talk about who deserves a reply and what kind of reply you owe them — or don’t. Who deserves a reply? Not everybody. If … Continued

I do my first editorial/writing meeting with Zoom video (and you should, too)

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I’ve pitched and landed some new clients lately. When we do our first “kick the tires” meeting, I always send them an invite from my Zoom videoconferencing account — partly because it works, and partly because of the impression it makes. Here’s why you should, too. My clientele are entrepreneurs, business executives, and publishers. I … Continued

How to learn from great writers

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We all have authors we admire. But that’s no reason to act the way they do. Which nonfiction authors do you think are awesome? My list includes Malcolm Gladwell, Mary Roach, Daniel Pink, Jay Baer, Michael Lewis, Bill Bryson, and Isaac Asimov. And I have no desire to emulate their writing habits. Isaac Asimov wrote … Continued