Looking at the Stars and Finding the Constellations


Looking at the Stars and Finding the Constellations

This week was very productive. I spent it absorbing feedback I received from my reviewers. An author friend cautioned that reading feedback “…is both exhilarating (because you are making the final product that much better) and frustrating, especially when reviewers offer contradictory advice.” I found it exhilarating and exhausting, but not frustrating. There were more common themes than individual threads. 
                                                                                                                                                                  
The great news is that I am on track to completing the book I wanted to write. Equally great news – there are many ways I can make it better and I still have a lot of work to do.

Reviewing multi-source feedback feels like the role Tom Cruise played in Minority Report; your job is to look for patterns across multiple pieces of information. The challenge is to keep everything in your head while you find the connections. I wonder if Tom got headaches while he was filming these scenes.


Speaking with my reviewers to clarify points and test solutions has been a great help.  Halfway through these discussions, here are the changes I am making:

  • Audience: clarify who the book is written for
  • Navigation: be more directive on how best to use the book
  • Structure: categorize chapters by theme – results, the plan, resources, and communication
  • Format: add graphic elements to help the reader find the information they need
  • Content: open each chapter with one or two quotes and remove the ‘Words of Wisdom’ section
  • Content: Delete the stories that don’t illustrate ‘What works/What doesn’t work’ sections
  • Writing Style: Make it more personal, more ‘Phil’ – some parts read like a text book

Reviewing feedback is like searching for constellations. The stars are in full view, but you need to look hard to find the patterns. Having a team of generous astronomers helps a lot.

Phil
 
 

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