What tasks should authors outsource?

Continued">

Authors can’t do everything. What should they hire others to do for them? Assuming you’re working with a publisher rather than self-publishing, here’s a list, ranging from tasks you really shouldn’t outsource to those you probably ought to. Do this yourself. Here’s what you can’t or shouldn’t delegate. You could outsource these tasks, but don’t … Continued

Be specific. It’s the best way to retain readers’ interest

Continued">

People think profound advice demands sweeping generalizations. “Think before speaking.” “Build habits systematically.” “Avoid passive voice.” These are fine. But generalizations piled upon generalizations rapidly become tedious. Specifics are what keep your reader reading and relating. So be specific. People think it’s mundane to cite details. The opposite is true: the more grounded your prose … Continued

Wasted writing

Continued">

It happens to all of us. We write a few paragraphs, a few pages, a chapter and then say “Ah, this isn’t working at all.” The whole purpose of planning is to avoid this wasted work. Planners waste less prose, while pantsers (seat-of-the-pants writers) waste lots of prose. But there’s always some waste. Sure, the … Continued

Writing away from the keyboard

Continued">

If you often sit down to write and feel frustrated, maybe you need to develop a new habit: writing away from the keyboard. And no, I don’t mean writing on paper or your phone. I mean writing in your head. Writing is problem-solving Writing is a puzzle. What’s the big idea? How do you start? … Continued

Repetition in writing: why it happens, what it means, and how to fix it

Continued">

Every editor has had this experience: deep into a manuscript, you find yourself reading a familiar passage. Sure enough, it duplicates content that was earlier in the manuscript. Don’t just delete it. Ask yourself why it’s there, and use that knowledge to make the manuscript better. Why writers repeat themselves All writers repeat information in … Continued

Value ratios: a key metric for your book chapters

Continued">

Business book chapters are made out of ideas, stories, research, argumentation, and advice. To be readable, you need to maximize the stories and advice. Very simple: look at the chapter draft you wrote. Measure the number of words dedicated to each type of element: Ideas and frameworks. Principles you use to make your points. Stories. … Continued

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

Continued">

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

This WordPress Gutenberg linking feature should be in every text editor

Continued">

WordPress includes a linking feature missing from every other text-editing application. They all ought to copy it. In 2018, Automattic, the parent company of the blogging platform WordPress, debuted the block-based editor Gutenberg for authoring blog posts. People hated it, but it made sense — advanced bloggers were building blogs out of blocks anyway. By … Continued