News, Publishing a book in a year

Publishing a book in a year: September

A few years back I decided to run 1000 miles in a year. I created a spreadsheet. Logged every run. And it was going amazingly until July/August. I am not a summer person! I literally wilt in the heat. I think, having got to 500 miles in the first 6 months, I managed about 3 miles in those two months. I was feeling pretty rubbish. Then I just changed my goal. 1000 is a great number. It sounds impressive. But does anyone really know the difference between a mile and a kilometre? So I reset the challenge as running 1000 km in a year. And I did it, woo hoo! And fairly easily too.

Last month I declared that the book was written. It wasn’t. It was almost written but there was one section left. That section is now done. So the book really is written. Every section has some words in it. When we set out writing this blog we aimed to write and publish a book in a year. From nothing (no proposal) to a book on the shelf. Last month we also confessed that wasn’t going to happen. This month I suggest we reframe it, and we could do this in one of two ways:

Firstly we could say let’s write the book in a year, that sounds exciting. And for now we are looking good. Last January we started. Hopefully by next January it will be done. Hold up a minute you might be thinking, I thought you said it was written already. And really that’s the main point of this blog post, but more on that in a moment.

Secondly we could say that the book proposal doesn’t count, it’s only when you start putting pen to paper that the writing really starts. I’m pretty happy with that description too, so maybe we can still write and publish a book in a year.

So if the book is written what else needs to happen? Good question. A couple of weeks ago Oli (my co-author) and I sat down to discuss that very topic. Between here and sending it out to the publisher for final review we need to edit the content ourselves. As much as I love writing, I hate editing. In fact, I am writing this very blog as a way to procrastinate against editing. But sadly, whilst I am able to sit down and write lots of words in a day, not all of them are coherent. So we need to do multiple passes through the text. Below is the plan that Oli and I came up with.

A4 page with the book plan outlined.

In September we will add any final parts we know are missing to our own text, especially images (like the one in the banner that I recently drew).

In October we will read each other’s content and make suggestions, add examples and images, and check for consistency.

At the end of October we will meet with the publisher to agree the best way forward. Sort out any questions we have around presentation and writing style. And hopefully get some initial feedback from some trusted engineers who will have read the previous draft sent out at the end of September.

In November and December we will then update all of the content. This involves cycles of reading, correcting, putting down and forgetting, printing off and reading again. Term time isn’t a great time for this, so I have given myself until the end of the January exam period to get this done. After that, if all has gone to plan, we will send it to the publisher with the book ready for thorough review, further updates, copy edit, final read through and then publication. Simple. I can’t wait.

So over the next few months expect miserable blog posts as I first edit and then (even worse) have to take onboard reviewer comments and re write large chunks. See you next month, can’t wait!

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