Seduce with Your Book Using ‘Wizardry’

A book should seduce you somehow. Even a business book. The book should have a sense of wonder, surprise and a journey. Even a business book should make you think about the world in a new way. How do you create that surprise, that wonder? You open the doors to discovery using a new language […]

The Haves and Have-Nots

Here’s a tale of two writers. On the one hand, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla – the electric car manufacturer – and SpaceX – the space transportation company that might permit commercial travel to Mars – is writing a book for Penguin, for which he’s being paid a reported $3.5 million. The book, according […]

The Flip Side

In a previous article, I compared the findings of two major studies – one national, the other international – that seemed to confirm that reading in the U.S. and other Western countries is in a dismal state. Time spent reading has declined precipitously, test scores have gone down, and many companies are reporting that writing […]

The Sad State of Reading in America–Even for Adults

They say things–good or bad–come in threes. If so, those who care about the state of reading must wonder what’s next — and if the news can get any worse. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released a study showing (or at least strongly suggesting) that there is a direct correlation between declining test […]

Sequels and Prequels

You’ve probably heard that Harper Lee (pictured here) will be publishing a new novel this summer, only her second book, and a follow-up to her classic “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Like many people, I love “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and will probably read her new book, “Go Set a Watchman,” which concerns Scout – the main […]

Giving It Away

Authors want readers to pay for their work, of course, but savvy authors know that by giving away information, they’re likely to create further demand among readers for their books. It’s a matter of platform. It’s engaging with your readers constantly, enticing them with nuggets of information – some of which will show up in […]


While in a downtown Manhattan Barnes & Noble bookstore one day, I noticed that an entire book case was devoted to poker. Pretty good for a game that was — until somewhat recently — thought of as the pastime of middle-aged men desperate for a couple of hours away from their wives, where they could […]

The Publishing Disruption Continues

Self-published authors account for 33% of all paid e-book unit sales on Amazon. That’s more than the sales from traditionally published authors, according to a new report form Author Earnings, a site that tracks sales of self-published authors.  (Thanks to the site, The Passive Voice, for the article about it.) This is significant, because it counters […]

The Decline and Demise of the Newspaper Book Review

I finally got around to reading Steve Wasserman’s article (“Goodbye to All That”) in the Columbia Journalism Review on the decline of book coverage. The piece got some attention when it ran, but not nearly enough. If you read just one thing on the state of book reviews, this should be it. For ten years, […]

What People Are Reading

You know what readers are buying? Young adult novels. You know what they’re not buying? Books that are geared exclusively toward adults. I’m not sure why – though I’m sure critics would say it’s because of a general dumbing-down of today’s reading audience. Yet adult fans of YA – young adult – novels say it’s […]