Book Development Dispatch

The best of writing, editing, marketing, and publishing in the new book economy.
Issue #20 • January 26, 2014 • Published by Winning Edits • View this in your browser

The First Word

Developing a smart book structure is a consistent theme in the work we do at Winning Edits. One author we're working with now has impressive domain knowledge, but his manuscript conveying that knowledge skips and jumps from idea to idea. It lacks flow, energy, and (ultimately) influence because it lacks structure. (We're working on that.)

Good structure is hard to craft, and is vastly important because of it. Sally Kerrigan describes how one might work toward meaningful structure in her A List Apart article, featured below. The salient point is clear: writing is thinking. And complete writing is complete thinking—finding connections among ideas and weaving them together so that the reader can easily follow in your cognitive footsteps. Anything less is incomplete, which is to say unfinished and likely disappointing. 

This illustration, originally by Hugh MacLeod, captures the essence perfectly.

Authors and editors must embrace the struggle of giving form to an otherwise messy blob of ideas if the desired outcome—a convincing and satisfying book—is to be attained. There's no real magic in this, just the dogged application of skill and goodwill. 

Thanks for reading!

Matt Gartland

Matt Gartland
Founder, Winning Edits

AuthorMBA Podcast

cal newport

The Future of Publishing

Episode 015
Whidbey MFA Panel

Industry experts Jane Friedman, Christina Katz, and Wayne Ude join me for a lively discussion about the future of publishing opportunities, the tension between writing and business skills, author careers, and more.

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Smart Reads

Ten Publishing Predictions for 2014
Best-selling author and friend of AuthorMBA Bob Mayer reveals the top publishing trends to pay attention to in this new year.

US word of the year 2013 is 'because'
"'Because' has been voted the word of the year by the American Dialect Society after the humble conjunction 'exploded with new grammatical possibilities' in 2013."

Writing is Thinking
Writing in A List Apart, Sally Kerrigan beautifully articulates why "writing is not some mystic art. It’s a practical skill..." And as with any skill worth developing, practice!

A Winning Edits Classic

What Powerful Behaviors Do the Most Successful Writers Share?
Todd Henry is one of the most disciplined authors I know. He runs his multifaceted author business largely by himself, and still finds time to write amazing books. In this interview, Todd describes what behaviors he and other prolific authors share.

Thanks for reading.

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