Opening paragraphs of book proposals that sold

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I see lots of book proposals. Somebody told a bunch of these writers to start with “Overview.” Those proposals leave me nodding off. They’re a lot less likely to sell, too. Your proposal should grab the editor by the throat from the first word. Your proposal should shout, “This person is an awesome writer!” with … Continued

How to write Chapter 1 of the book that will make your reputation

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You want to write a book that will make everyone take notice of the insights you’ve gained — insights that no one has thought of before. But how to start? I’m going to assume you have a powerful idea and you’ve researched it. (If you haven’t, nail those down before writing.) If you have a … Continued

How “get to the point” jibes with “tell a good story”

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Storytelling is all the rage in business. Meanwhile, I’m telling you to front-load your writing — to explain just what you’re about to say in the title and first few sentences. If you take my advice, won’t that ruin your story? Not quite. In fact, following my advice is the only way you’ll get to tell your … Continued

How to start a blog post: Can you intrigue me in 50 words?

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I’ve run a little experiment on this blog in the last three months. I’ve attempted to start every post with around 50 words that would draw you in. It’s working. In my view the title and first few sentences of a blog post should: Intrigue the reader. Promise what’s coming, accurately. Incorporate a clever or counterintuitive … Continued

Effective titles and summaries: You had me at ‘Hello.’

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Every email, document, or post you write now competes with hundreds of other items for your reader’s attention. Two strategies will get them to read it: fascinate and summarize. In this post I explain how to balance these two concepts to create titles, subject lines, openers, and tweets that win over readers quickly. (A complete guide organized by … Continued