Many dream of writing the great American novel. Based on my limited experience, it may be better for some to keep dreaming.
Our journey was a positive learning experience. My writing partner, Dr. Larry Waldman, and I sat down and created an initial outline of a book over coffee almost two years ago and determined who would author each chapter. The decisions were based on our professional and life experiences.
Once the delegation process was complete, our baby was conceived, our literary pregnancy began and we were excited. I did not anticipate the challenge before me to merge two distinct writing styles, without compromising the content or presentation. I was comfortable with my style as a writer who concentrated on producing monthly business-related articles for BizTimes Milwaukee. My co-author, on the other hand, had already produced five self-published books and numerous articles about family relationships and running a successful psychology practice, and had a more relaxed writing style.
Not only were our writing styles and frames of reference different, but so were our personalities. I’m more of the Type A driver, and he is more of a Type B consensus builder. Our wives were worried our personalities would not work well together. But we were driven by a common goal: producing a successful how-to book that would permit others to negotiate their way through life’s challenges.
If you are ready to stay up late and get up early, then you may be one of the few who can successfully write the great American novel. Some things you need to consider: Write in a stream of consciousness; don’t self-edit as you write, just keep writing during the gestation period. You will have plenty of time to edit later when your rough draft is completed. Check here a great resource
. You will need to perform research to ensure your materials are up-to-date and your facts are supported by third-party independent research. Remember that words and phrases that are part of your everyday professional conversations may not be familiar to your readers. Hence, you need to develop a detailed glossary of terms.
Permit me to revisit the topic of third-party research. I found it extremely helpful to engage experts and have them review specific chapters for content and accuracy. This proactive critiquing provided many important insights and isolated areas that needed to be revised or amended. It also added to the accuracy and validity of the content of each chapter. It’s far better to receive your critical feedback when you still have the ability to revise your content, rather than after you publish.
Once your rough draft is completed, the real fun begins. My partner and I reviewed the rough draft and began to edit and reorganize, which began the labor phase of our literary pregnancy. As we proceeded, the labor pains became more intense and closer in frequency. Headings were added and complete paragraphs were moved between chapters. In fact, the final table of contents did not mirror the initial outline negotiated over coffee and a bagel two years ago.
Once our initial edits were complete, we took the most important step and engaged a publishing consultant who began to professionalize our revised draft. Artwork was developed for the front and back covers, pictures and fonts were selected, running headings were added and headings reorganized. Once the professional editor finished her review of our work, questions were posed to the writing team and we responded by adding and clarifying content. Definitions were added to the glossary, references were validated and others added to the bibliography and webliography. The web links were verified to ensure readers could access the references. The final brush stroke was to add personal statements from content experts and community leaders who previewed the book. Each of these supporting statements added to the validity.
Now our baby was ready to be delivered to the publisher.
After all the edits and revisions were completed, our baby was delivered from the publisher as a bound proof. We never expected our writing journey to turn into an extended pregnancy complete with an extended labor, but it was worth it. Again, we carefully reviewed each page to ensure all the desired changes were made.
After that final review, the proud parents announced the birth to our audience via Amazon.com, Facebook and LinkedIn. We are very proud of our baby and named her “Overcoming Your NegotiaPhobia.”
-Cary Silverstein, MBA, is a writer, speaker and community volunteer who splits his time between Scottsdale, Arizona and Fox Point. He is the co-author of the book “Overcoming Your NegotiaPhobia,” and can be reached at (414) 403-2942.