How much is brevity worth? If you’re Axios, $525 million.

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Online news provider Axios just accepted Cox Enterprises’ acquisition offer worth $525 million. Where did the value in Axios come from? Brevity. Axios articles are short and pointed Below is a screen capture of a typical Axios article. The word count, including the headline, the byline, and the photo caption, is 247 words. What is … Continued

Nagging is not part of the editor’s job

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At my last company, the job of “editor” was sort of a big deal. The editor was typically the supervisor of the analyst writing the research reports. That meant the editor had two jobs: First, to provide content and language guidance to the analyst. And second, to cajole and nag the analyst into producing something … Continued

Electric car realities and gas car biases

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I’m on my third electric car now: I’ve owned a Nissan Leaf, a Tesla Model 3, and a Tesla Model Y. People are curious, but anxious, about what it’s like to own one. So I’ll share what I can in hopes that if you’re buying a car, you can benefit from my experience as you … Continued

Why publishers and agents reject book proposals

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Why won’t they publish your book? Since agents and publishers rarely take the time to respond to authors they won’t be working with, you may never know. But I know. Here, in order of frequency, are the reasons you may be getting rejected — or just getting ghosted — by agents and publishers you’ve contacted. … Continued

How much should you lie, er, exaggerate in your book proposal?

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Honestly, I’m in favor of the absolute truth in nearly all things. However, when it comes to a book proposal that you send to publishers and agents, you are describing a book that likely doesn’t yet exist. (You didn’t make the rookie mistake of writing the whole book before pitching it, did you?) You are … Continued

Rewrite or self-edit? How to decide without bias

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It’s time to revise a previous draft — of a blog post, a report, a book chapter, or any factual content. You’re dealing with feedback from others, or maybe just your own better insights into what you wanted to say. Should you tinker with words — self-editing — or rewrite from scratch? How cognitive biases … Continued

How long should you make your book chapters?

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How many chapters should there be in a nonfiction book? And how long should they be? Let’s break it down. Unless you have a heavily graphical book, the best way to measure chapters is by word count. Pages will vary based on the tools you’re using to write, fonts, line spacing, margins, and page layout, … Continued

5 reasons why kaizen continuous improvement is bullshit

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This graphic sums up a popular meme. The supposed idea is that if you improve 1% every day, then you will be 37.7 times better by the end of the year. What a win! After all, that’s how compound growth works! This idea comes from the Japanese concept of kaizen, which is a management philosophy … Continued