Monday, May 28, 2007

Coming up for air - thoughts on writing

This blog has become noticeably less active lately.  Thats a sign that I've been very active myself.  What with Software Strategy, clients and the book to work on things have been busy and blogging has had to give.


Well a funny thing has happened.  The creative stuff is now done.  I'm now waiting on other people for things before I can continue.  It will be a month or two before the manuscript is completed and it won't be until January 2008 till you can buy a copy but now its all loose ends and minor editing.


The big gap is due to typesetting: it takes the best part of 6 months to get a book typeset.  Decidedly un-lean.)


Here are a few thoughts on what I have learned while I've been writing, and working with a publisher.


Diagram and pictures are a pain:


Problem 1: I have no artistic ability, some of my diagrams are OK but others I want redrawn.  I've now found someone to do this for me but I shouldn't have left this so late in the process.


Problem 2: I've used at least 4 different tools for drawing my diagrams so things are inconsistent.  I won't do this again.


Problem 3: Permissions.  Apart from the diagrams I've invented I have to get permission for everything else.  This seems silly to me because I can quote other authors without permission but I need permission for every diagram.  Probably isn't silly but it feels it.  This leads to more problems.


Firstly I've dropped illustration which aren't essential to reduce this problem.  This is a shame, I would like to break the text up some more but its practical.


Secondly some diagrams I can't source, I know I've seen them, and I can even find similar ones on the internet but I simply don't know where the original was.  Guess this is my own fault, I should have stayed on top of this.


Third few of my diagrams are exactly like they are in the original, so we have to make a judgement call on whether or not I need permission.


And fourth, if I get it wrong its me who gets sued and has to pay up.
All in all I've really increased my respect for authors who use a lot of images, and in particular Tom Peters Re-imagine! book.


I should have got more feedback earlier


I wish I'd shown more of the work to people earlier on and got more comments.  As it was most of the text was written by the time I started to show it to people and publishers.


Things you can't say


Turns out my publisher has a dispute with a well known CEO.  Therefore I can't mention him by name.  I think there was only one CEO I mention in the entire book and it turns out to be the one who is in dispute with my publisher.  What luck!


Its been an interesting exercise so far and I've learned a lot.  If I ever write another book there is a lot of things I will do differently.  For now I just want to get this one finished.