Amazon’s AI-generated review summaries are boring and useless
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Amazon’s AI-generated review summaries are boring and useless

Amazon is creating summaries of the reviews on its site. Good summaries surface juicy details, they don’t just generate a homogeneous slurry — which is why Amazon’s summaries suck. (Thanks to Phil Simon for bringing these to my attention.) How to summarize The problem with most people writing summaries is that they summarize. Averaging everything…

Attaining perfection; beyond moral panic; AI-free book contracts: Newsletter 22 May 2024
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Attaining perfection; beyond moral panic; AI-free book contracts: Newsletter 22 May 2024

How to do your work perfectly and why that matters, plus why mobile phones aren’t destroying our youth’s mental health, why centrism isn’t really neopopulism, three people to follow, and three books to read. Why perfection matters — to authors and all creative workers Authors get maybe one chance every couple of years to put…

The lesson of Kristi Noem: don’t blame the ghostwriter for factual errors

The lesson of Kristi Noem: don’t blame the ghostwriter for factual errors

In South Dakota governor Kristi Noem’s new book No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward, she describes her meeting with a dictator: “I remember when I met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. I’m sure he underestimated me, having no clue about my experience staring…

Freelance editing rates are pathetic. Successful authors and editors must aim higher.

Freelance editing rates are pathetic. Successful authors and editors must aim higher.

The Editorial Freelancers Association has published the results of a survey of 1,000 respondents, 30% of its membership. My main takeaway: these rates are pathetically low. That’s not good news for editors, writers, or the quality of books. The EFA’s rate estimator based on the survey is here. Here are some highlights from the survey:…

Rules for writers; NPR critique; a HERO rises: Newsletter 17 April 2024
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Rules for writers; NPR critique; a HERO rises: Newsletter 17 April 2024

Newsletter 40: Principles for writing success, including why authoring is like sex; a new leader for embattled librarians; Meta fails to buy publisher; plus three people to follow and three books to read. Rules of thumb for nonfiction authors Everyone writes their own way. But after 50+ book projects and thousands of shorter nonfiction pieces,…