Get your business jargon and slang down to a TTTTTT…

You may know what most of these terms mean, but their origins are often very surprising. Here is the penultimate in this series, all starting with the popular letter “T…”

One in a series of articles on business jargon and slang

Does a “thought shower” allow you to “talk turkey” and “toe the line” about “the blue economy?”

Take pot luck: (or take potluck) is usually thought to be related to the US meaning, dating back to the late 19th century, where a large meal consists of individual edible contributions from all the guests. However the term goes back farther in time, to Britain in the 16th century, when to take pot luck meant to take your chances on what you get. Interestingly, both meanings of the term are still in use.

Take something with a grain/pinch of salt: to accept something for what it appears to be, but with some reservations as to its accuracy! This term comes from the days when much food was rather tasteless and in many cases might have been poisoned. The idea was that if you were to take such food with a “grain of salt,” or a “pinch of salt,” it made it easier to swallow. The first known reference to this goes back nearly two thousand years when Pliny wrote about it (“grain of salt”) in Naturalis Historia, back in 77 A.D. The term (also as “grain of salt”) was popular in England from the 16th century in examples like John Trapp’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, in 1647, and F. R. Cowell (“pinch of salt”) in Cicero & the Roman Republic, in 1948. The amount of salt concerned with a “pinch” is obvious, and a “grain” is roughly .065 of a modern day gram. [Read more…]

Mind your Ps and Qs – English business jargon you love to hate

No matter how much we say we hate it, in business – and other areas of activity – jargon has become part of our lives whether we like it or not.

More English business jargon

Mind your Ps and Qs…

As we’re stuck with it, we may as well enjoy learning about its meanings and origins … so here we go with some more from my series. Enjoy…

From P to Q … business jargon for you

Pack rat: also “packrat” … a term in use in the USA since around the mid 19th century, meaning someone who hoards and keeps everything and can’t bear to throw anything away. Derived from the animal that takes small objects back to its nest and hoards them there. Can also be used as a verb, e.g. “he pack rats old newspapers saying he will read them again one day.” [Read more…]

Write a book or write a blog – or both

Sometimes an idea for a book might work better as a blog – which eventually can become a book (or more) as well. The two can work symbiotically for a classic win-win exercise … here’s how.

I was working with a group of writers the other day and one of them was discussing his ideas for a nonfiction memoir (book.) After a short time it became obvious that his concept was not just one book, but potentially three or four. To try to shoehorn that many angles into one book would have created a rather messy mishmash, and both my fellow author-tutor and I agreed that it wouldn’t work.

The poor guy looked a bit disappointed until I told him that his material would be perfect for a blog. Being an older man he wasn’t familiar with how that could work, but once we had explained it he went away with the URL for WordPress and a gleam in his eyes.

This is nothing new, of course. I’m sure you’ve heard of a number of books that started out as blogs. In fact in the USA they now have an annual awards process for blogs that became books called “The Blooker Prize,” with “blooks” being the ensuing hybrid.

One such “blook” even went on to become a “flook” starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams – a movie of the journal called “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell, the true story of how and why she made every single recipe in the late Julia Childs’ cook book.

However it’s not always a matter of lifting a selection of blog posts straight into book format. Editing obviously is needed, and you may want to adjust content, too, once you have seen how it works in your blog.

Although Julie Powell’s “blook”was mainly singular and linear in nature, where I think the blog-rather-than-book-to-begin-with approach is especially useful, is for anyone who – like the man at the writing workshop – has more than one stream to the message they want to share. Here are some examples:

Memoir/autobiography

**Your poverty-stricken childhood in India

**Your career as an engineer in daunting circumstances

**Your success at overcoming depression

How-to book

**Organic vegetables and green growing

**The best way to plan and run an organic vegetable plot

**Recipes for delicious organic vegetarian cuisine

Modern history

**The allied armed forces’ activities in northern Europe during WW2

**The effect of the Nazi occupation on the local population in northern Europe

**The “warbrides” who went to North America after WW2

**How the influence of WW2 affected the “baby boomer” generation

As you know, a blog offers you the option not only to publish chunks of information in short, easily digestible posts, but also it lets you choose between making those posts linear or non-linear in content. You can even post consecutively about utterly different aspects of your theme, if you want to, then file them into categories which a blog supports easily.

Print books certainly can’t offer that kind of versatility and even eBooks, Kindle and the others aren’t anything like as flexible.

The other useful aspect of a blog is that it’s interactive – readers can comment on your posts and your ultimate book text grows and evolves organically. You will learn much more about your target audience this way than with pretty well any other type of research.

Your blog and book, properly configured and promoted, not only complement each other, but also help sell each other.

Much as you may think people won’t want to buy your material in book form if they can read it (or similar) for free online, it doesn’t work that way. Once you develop your book it will reach a slightly different or at least adjacent audience, for starters, and in any case people who may only dip in and out of a blog now and again will appreciate having everything together in one print or electronic volume.

Then, of course, the fact that you have gone into more than one stream of your material on your blog, you effectively will have laid the foundations of more than one book. Whether you actually go on to create more than one book will depend on how each stream of information is received by readers; a blog is a superb market testing tool.

What are your views? What experience do you have of blogs versus books? Please comment!

Blog or book, get writing brilliantly:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“How To Write Winning Non-fiction”…all you need to know to write a good non-fiction book and get it published

Children’s books? Sooo hard to get a publisher. But wait – there’s hope

Hundreds if not thousands of people have great ideas for children’s books and many of them are absolutely brilliant.

Trouble is, there is so much good stuff around that in the first instance, children’s book publishers AND relevant literary agents have the pick of crop dropped into their laps and can afford only to take on what they think will be not just good, but utterly sensational.

Children's books? Sooo hard to get a publisher. But wait - there's hope

The books are all based on the adventures of her dogs

Plus, these publishers think, at least, that they know what’s fashionable where in the children’s books market and to an extent can influence that according to their own whims. It’s a tough, tough market to crack.

However in this exchange between me and a friend whose friend has written some amazing stories for 7-10 year-olds, there may be light at the end of the tunnel…

[Read more…]

Have you got a book out on Kindle? Here’s a fab new toy-toy…

If you’re with CreateSpace / Kindle Direct Publishing and have a book to promote, you can now go with one click from its image or wherever it is on your site/blog/etc., straight to a preview of the first chapter or two.

Of course you may have already heard about this! But if you haven’t, read on – it’s great.

blogging for business,blog posts,what to writeDespite being a complete technodork I manage to install it here on HTWB. So trust me, if I can do it anyone can, as my dear WordPress guru Babs Saul would confirm. [Read more…]

How to get your nonfiction book published – choices

If you want to choose a publishing route to take your book to market, this interview I did recently with Bookemon.com sums up my views pretty thoroughly.

Suzan St Maur on Bookemon.comHaving had 31 nonfiction books published so far – 20 of which were published traditionally with some subsequent ones self-published as eBooks, and the last one self-published in print and Kindle – I’ve learned quite a bit about contemporary publishing generally and was grateful to Bookemon for appreciating that.

Unlike so many non-traditional publishing businesses, Bookemon emerges as a trustworthy resource and although I have yet to produce a book with them, I believe that they do offer a credible and fair service.

Here’s how the interview went: you’ll find it helpful… [Read more…]

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