Assembling the ingredients of your business book

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Business books are made of ideas and frameworks, stories, proof points, argumentation, and advice. That’s what you need to build one. So what does it take to assemble all of that? Let’s examine a 50,000-word book, which is typical these days (somewhat shorter than in past years). A hardback typically has 250 words per page, … Continued

Why fear and greed are essential to your business book

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Chapter 1 of your business book should be the “scare the crap out of you” chapter. There are two ways to do that: fear and greed. Which should you use? Why “scare the crap out of you”? Business books intended to create action must include an idea or an insight that matters to the reader. … Continued

How important are bookstores to business authors?

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If you’re a business book author, you are probably imagining your book on the shelf in the local Barnes & Noble, independent bookstore, or airport bookstore. But before you pursue that vision, you ought to think it through, because attaining bookstore placement comes with lots of challenges. As context for this discussion, consider two sales … Continued

For editors, it pays to specialize

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There are a million editors out there. If you aspire to make a living as one, you can’t just be “an editor” — because only those who specialize will be paid what they’re worth. (Author’s note — I’ll now resume posting mostly about writing, editing, and books. Thanks for your tolerance of my political posts … Continued

How authors can work with a cartoonist

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I’m currently editing a book that will include cartoons. Cartoons will make the book much more enjoyable, even as they drive home the points in the chapters. And I’ve never had this much fun working. Today: what it’s like to work with a cartoonist. This isn’t my first book with cartoons. For Marketing to the … Continued

For maximum impact, keep your case studies pure and unsullied by argumentation

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Great business books include case study stories. They also include frameworks and analysis. For maximum effectiveness, never mingle the two. Here’s an example to clarify what I mean. In The Age of Intent, the book I ghost wrote about artificial intelligence last year, there is a story at the start of the customer service chapter … Continued

The pronoun conundrum: “we” vs. “you” in business advice

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Business books are full of advice. They’re also full of pronouns — and pronoun-driven confusion — around when to use “we” and when to use “you.” Start with this: you should write directly to the reader. Compare the following two alternatives: Marketers must spend less time on SEO and more time on the creation of … Continued