The Madness of Writing Books

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A short deck highlighting my advice on working on a book project

A short deck highlighting my advice on working on a book project

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  • P roposal – Use the publisher’s proposal guide to the limit. Try to be realistic about your idea and how it compares to the industry. O rganize your key ideas in some logical, progressive order, building up to the final results. Don’t go overboard with dozens of tiny points; group into larger related ideas. S ell the value – How much of a visible difference would your knowledge make to the reader or their job? Can you describe that larger value in a simple concise manner (one or two sentences)? T able of Contents – Support your key points and value within each chapter in the ToC. Use it to keep yourself honest, and in order. Build a detailed ToC and keep it updated if you make changes. A cknowledge your editor – They may not know your topic in the detail that you do, but don’t disregard their questions when describing your proposal or later during editing. They understand how readers absorb information. L earn about your topic in the industry – Get to know other authors or experts on the topic. Converse with them on social media: Twitter, etc. You’re not alone, and not the only answer.
  • D edicate yourself to writing some pages of content every day or two . Set a rhythm of writing on a very regular schedule almost every day if possible so it stays fresh in your mind.. Don’t delay till the weekend. O ne or two good places where you can work without interruption, online or offline, W rite comments to yourself, thoughts to follow up on, tags, and references. Mental footnotes rarely work. Use comments to quickly remind yourself what you were thinking, both in the chapters, and in the Table of Contents. Write it just as in the same voice of you talk to yourself when you’re alone. N uff said Sometimes you may get caught up in writing long passages on an idea, but stop yourself. Most often you can get the point across in fewer words. Longer isn’t always better IN vesigate your word processor’s keyboard shortcuts. I don’t use the mouse as much as the ALT, CTRL and key sequences to format, add notes, insert items, or cut and paste. You’ll save yourself a lot of time. IT isn’t for everyone Speaking in very technical voice may make you look smarter, but it tends to loose readers. Sometimes it is too complex to juggle mentally all at once, other times it takes a lot of knowledge or looking up terminology to make sense. It can slow down the reader’s pace and interest level when they get so mired.
  • W riting and editing isn’t the end of your work for the book – Regardless of what your publisher might tell you, expect do a lot of work marketing the book. O pportunities to talk about your book – Whether it is a blog, twitter, conferences, magazine articles, local workgroups or get-togethers, take key points from your book, or even small sections and share them with others. Yes, there is going to be some self-promotion involved; it’s not about ego-stroking, but visibility. Stay humble. R espond to others about your work – Whether they like or hate it, learn to respond accordingly and positively on the books’ value and limitations. Also, interact with other experts on the subject whenever possible. D o it memorably – When you do interact, make it memorable. People absorb ideas in different ways, and one of the best is in stories, pictures, examples or analogies. Seek out the storyteller in you.

Transcript

  • 1. The Madness of Writing Books Rawn Shah, http://twitter.com/rawn Business Transformation Consultant Social Software Adoption Team IBM Software
  • 2. Globally Networked Gen X Leadership 2.0 Business Value Analytics E2.0 / Social Software Adoption Technologist Social Networking for Business book Author Writer Speaker Rawn Shah
  • 3. Go POSTAL
  • 4. Working on a new book project
    • P roposal – Use the publisher’s proposal guide to the limit.
    • O rganize your key ideas in some logical, progressive order
    • S ell the value – Can you describe the value in simple concise sentences?
    • T able of Contents – Use it to keep yourself honest, and in order.
    • A cknowledge your editor – They understand how readers absorb information.
    • L earn about your topic in the industry – You’re not alone, and not the only answer.
  • 5. Get DOWN IN IT
  • 6. Getting to the writing bit…
    • D edicate yourself to writing some pages of content every day or two .
    • O ne or two good places where you can work without interruption, online or offline.
    • W rite comments to yourself, thoughts to follow up on, tags, and references.
    • N uff said -- Longer isn’t always better
    • IN vesigate your word processor’s keyboard shortcuts -- You’ll save yourself a lot of time.
    • IT isn’t for everyone -- Speaking in a technical voice or heavy detail may make you sound smarter, but it tends to loose readers.
  • 7. WORD Up
  • 8. It’s just as much work after it is released
    • W riting and editing isn’t the end of your work for the book
    • O pportunities to talk about your book – It’s not about ego-stroking, but visibility
    • R espond to others about your work – Learn to respond accordingly and positively on the books’ value and its limitations
    • D o it memorably – Seek out the storyteller in you
  • 9.