Death as a PR opportunity

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I got a pitch email the day after Kobe Bryant and his daughter died in a helicopter crash. It was from a PR person, offering me the opportunity to interview and get quotes from a trauma expert. I found it ghoulish and appalling. But it made me wonder: there is so much death and so … Continued

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

Sonos angers its customers with a tone-deaf email. Then it recovers.

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When you have a difficult decision to share, it matters a lot how you communicate it. Sonos proved this by annoying its customers with a message about obsolescing products, then turning around and making things better the next day. The original Sonos post was offensive Here’s the hard fact: technology products become obsolete. After a … Continued

Content marketing for freelancers: notes on tone and content

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When you’re a freelancer, leads are your lifeline. Where do they come from? Five years experience at this has taught me that while content marketing works, tone is just as important as content. Back up a bit. I have had six full-time jobs in my pre-freelance career. The first five of them I got through … Continued

The trouble with skills coaching

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I write, ghostwrite, edit, and advise writers. I also coach them. Coaching is the hardest, and the thing I have the most trouble with. The challenge is the mindset. I have a project and problem-solving mindset. This is why I like writing and editing projects. The to-dos look like this: How can I help my … Continued

Tesla says “You’re full of crap” as clearly as possible

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into reports that Tesla vehicles accelerate on their own. Tesla thinks that’s bullshit, and they have the data — and the statement — to back it up. NHTSA is investigating 127 claims of “sudden unintentional acceleration” in Teslas. This is a big deal — when it happened … Continued

Inside the New York Times Editorial Board presidential endorsement

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What follows is a transcript of a secret recording of the meeting last week of the New York Times Editorial Board as it discussed who it will endorse for President in 2020. Moderator: Okay, everyone, settle down. We have a momentous responsibility today. As you know, all the best people who are deciding who to … Continued