The Effect of Frugal Business Practices

Here’s a catch-22 – you don’t get to have ideas until you write about them

In my mid-twenties, I was an editorial intern at a book publishing company in New Orleans. Nearby was a corner store that sold cheese sandwiches for 50 cents – the publisher was a thrifty man keeping alive a business founded in 1926.

His job was to eagle-eye the bottom line and rant. Bill Clinton was a “Philanderah and a liah”.

My job was to evaluate author “queries” as trash-or-not. Eventually, the editor trusted me to put queries into the actual trash; she vetted the rest.

Queries were one-page book proposals with name and address, mini-CV, age, headshot, writing credits, and book idea.

How did I confidently wheat-from-chaff these queries?

By prioritizing as follows:

  1. writing credits
  2. age
  3. headshot
  4. mini-CV
  5. book idea
  6. name and address

Content marketers take note: book idea near-last, history of shipping first.

And here’s the catch – the ideas are what matter most, it’s just you don’t really get to have them until you publish what you think about them.

My best,