How to pay a ghostwriter

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I write books. I also ghostwrite books for others. People who’ve never hired a ghostwriter before seem to be confused about how it works, so let’s clear things up. Here’s the first thing you need to know: you’re going to have to pay me before the book is published. Why you pay me first “Hey, … Continued

The Elizabeth Warren surge is a poll illusion

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According to Monday’s Monmouth University poll, there’s now a three-way tie in the Democratic presidential primary: Warren, Sanders, and Biden. This has been reported as a “surge.” In fact, it says more about polls and media than it does about Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden. The Monmouth University poll reports three front-runners: Elizabeth Warren 20%, … Continued

Crown Sterling asserts its legal right to be an idiot

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Remember Crown Sterling — the cryptography company with a strange product based on predicting prime numbers? Now it’s suing Black Hat USA, the conference where it announced the product, for being mean to it. Crown Sterling paid $115,000 to be a Gold Sponsor of Black Hat USA. That sponsorship included delivering a sponsored, promoted talk. … Continued

What your book says about you

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A business book is an extension of you. It makes an impression — both good and bad. There’s an idea going around that a book is just a big (and expensive) business card. If that were true, it wouldn’t matter much what was in it. In truth, it matters an awful lot. Because if a … Continued

The em dash is a bit of a jerk — replace it whenever possible

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Unless — and I admit this is possible — you’re trying to annoy the reader, try not to fall in love — or even in like — with the em dash. So many manuscripts I edit suffer from inflammation of the em dash — it’s rampant — as if these little buggers multiply like cockroaches. … Continued

Media manipulation via stock photo

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Have you seen this girl? I bet you have. And she’s there to make you angry. This image is from an article from U.S. News. The photo, by Steve Senne of AP, is “an unidentified 15-year-old student at a high school in Cambridge, Mass.” There was no need to get a photo release, because without … Continued

Don’t tell a Jew what to do

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President Trump says that it’s “disloyal” for a Jew to vote for a Democrat. The Jews I know think before they vote. That’s not disloyalty, it’s democracy. Here’s how the New York Times reported his public remarks. “Where has the Democratic Party gone?” Mr. Trump said at the tail end of freewheeling comments during a … Continued

I can’t believe my publisher doesn’t . . .

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It doesn’t matter if you have a six-figure advance or only got $3,000. It doesn’t matter if you have a big-five publisher or a small indie press or a hybrid publisher. If you’re a first-time author, you’ll soon be whining, “I can’t believe my publisher doesn’t . . . “, followed by some task that … Continued