Thursday, 24 June 2010

Writing a book; how to find positive comments - before you publish

Another good meeting with a client this morning.  She's making steady progress towards having a complete book.

One of the problems when you're writing a book is having of sense of how good the book is.  She's sending me the chapters as she completes them and this morning I complimented her on how strong one of them is.
This surprised her because can't remember what she wrote.

If this sounds odd to you, it's common.  When you're in the flow of writing, often it comes out in a way you don't expect.  Which means that you aren't prepared for it and maybe don't understand it. 

I always advise writers, not to re-read chapters when they're in the creative flow.  Can start doubts in the mind, stop them moving forward and generally screw up the process.

Our discussion led on to considering the value of outside review and at what stage to involve that.  And who do you involve?

For non-fiction you have to choose people who have some reputation, experience in your field or have suffered the problems for which you've a solution.

How do you approach them?

This can be a difficult issue, including as it does, the fear of pestering, not being taken seriously, and not being good enough.

There are three things to consider.
  1. Know what you're asking for?  Be specific, be limited and be polite. 
  2. Be organised.  If you want something to include in the book, such as a review, a case study or an opinion, then you need to make it easy for the person you approach.  Do 90% of the work for them.  Create a list of questions for an interview; show them the template for a case study.  Make sure they know you realise the value of their time.
  3. Be prepared to reciprocate.  Or even better do something first.  Other authors will welcome positive feedback on their work or reference to research you know about.
Will you receive rejections, or no replies?

Very likely but there isn't any point in attaching an interpretation unless they give you one.  The wider your network of contacts, the more likely you are to find the right person to help you.

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