In this installment of the Publishing Stories series, Peter Diamond, author of Amplify Your Career and Life: 4 Steps to Evaluate, Assess and Move Forward, relates his experience finding an editor and working with a hybrid press.
Part 1: Editing and Publishing
by Peter Diamond
I never set out to be a published author. During my 21 years in advertising I mastered how to write business memos and PowerPoint decks. This type of writing served a very functional purpose—sell ideas, concepts, and points of view to clients. My early mentors had exacting standards that taught me the rigors of writing persuasive communications that were clear and concise and made a compelling case. But it was all business all the time.
Seven years ago I began a career transition from advertising to executive coaching. To support my fledging new enterprise I began writing a blog to attract and engage clients. With a handful of blog posts and some encouragement from my clients I decided to turn it into a self-help motivational book.
Having never written or attempted to write a book, I was naively surprised at how challenging it would be to find a good editor and an interested publisher. From my experience, I proffer two pieces of advice:
- Early in the writing process ally with an editor who believes in your idea, and
- Be prepared to manage the details of publishing your book.
Finding a good editor was an onerous process. I started by asking my advertising colleagues if they knew of any editors. This resulted in only one option. With this editor, we initially worked on a couple of chapters. Shortly after we started, I realized she wasn’t that interested in my project. We agreed not to continue working together. I wanted to work with someone who was excited about the potential of my idea.
I then turned to the Internet thinking this would unearth editors galore. I was underwhelmed.
I finally settled on someone to help me write a book treatment (which I found out I needed) and fine-tune the first two chapters to send to agents as a teaser. She turned out to be competent but we didn’t click. I was looking for not only an editor but also a collaborator. She just wanted to edit.
I mentioned my predicament to a client who worked in publishing right out of college. She offered to connect me to one of her longtime publishing colleagues. This introduction proved most fruitful. Within 24 hours of making this new connection I was introduced to Katherine. Yes, Katherine Pickett, who is probably blushing right now. It didn’t take long into our initial conversation for me to realize Katherine would be the ideal editor for my book.
This relationship was exactly what I needed. In addition to her scrupulous editing skills, I benefited from her belief in the importance of my message. Probably more than she knows, I immediately warmed to her inclusive editing style. Her generous use of “we” and commitment to the book motivated me to power through during times of self-doubt (which isn’t good for a self-help motivational author). Her belief kept me pushing forward to finish the manuscript. As a first-time author, I felt having a finished manuscript was essential in securing a publisher. I could not have done it without her.
After more than 50 failed attempts to find an agent, I investigated publishers who work directly with authors. The shortlist included Greenleaf Publishing. I submitted my manuscript and they accepted.
I was elated because the benefits of working with a hybrid publisher are twofold:
- I retain all the rights to my content and can use it any way I choose.
- They bring all the resources and expertise needed to get the book published.
This arrangement requires the author to fund the publishing costs, similar to self-publishing. Since I have a full-time business to run, the idea of having someone else project manage the process was very appealing.
The most important lesson I learned in working with a publisher is that it still required me to pay close attention to every detail. I read and reread all the editing changes to ensure they were properly reflected in each updated version of the manuscript. This included being fastidious about the formatting of both the print and e-book versions. As I always say to my clients, you are your own best advocate. And this is true in publishing.
I’m very happy with the final product and fortunate to have worked with supportive caring people who believed in my idea and me.
In Part 2: Marketing and Sales, Peter describes what he did to help sell his book and what results he was able to achieve. Stay tuned!
Peter C. Diamond, “The Amplify Guy,” is a professionally trained certified coach who helps people improve their work performance and achieve a higher degree of career and life fulfillment. He has appeared on ABC’s Windy City Live and WGN’s News at 5 as a career coach expert, and he writes a blog, The Amplify Guy. For more information about Peter and the Amplify Your Career and Life workbook, visit his website at www.petercdiamond.com.
Like this blog? Find more insights and advice in Perfect Bound: How to Navigate the Book Publishing Process Like a Pro, available from POP Editorial Services LLC, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and other fine retailers.