Writing a Book: Extra Effort to Make Your Book Even Better

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This past week I was talking with a woman who wanted to write a book to give her career a boost. She’d read my white paper about what it takes to get from having the thought in your head to having a printed book in your hands. That sparked a question.

“I’m a subject matter expert,” she said. “Do you think I must go through all that draft and editing process?” That’s when I told her about Terry Moore and his book.

Terry’s a commercial Realtor® who specializes in apartment investing. He’s been at it for a generation. He’s earned an MBA and a CCIM (a top professional designation in his field) and he’s received a slew of awards. Add that to all the testimonials on his business website, and Terry’s got as many credentials as anybody I’ve ever worked with.

One thing that sets Terry apart from most of the people I’ve known in my life is his intense commitment to doing the best he can at whatever he sets his hand to. Whether it’s advising clients, mastering new skills, competing in a triathlon, or writing a book, Terry gives it everything he has. If you’re thinking of writing a book, you don’t have to do it Terry’s way, but I think it helps to know there are people out there like him.

Revisions

Great writing is rewriting. For most of the authors I work with, it takes a few revisions to get each chapter in shape, and about four revisions, on average, to get the book in shape. Terry and I did more than a dozen revisions on many chapters. Sometimes, after we’d put a chapter to bed, he had an idea for something to add or another way to say something, and we’d revise the chapter again.

Beta Readers

I recommend that every author use beta readers to help improve their book. Beta readers see things you and I don’t see.

Some authors opt not to use beta readers at all. Usually, they want to speed up the project. Most of the authors who use beta readers send their manuscript out to three or four people.

Terry used more than a dozen beta readers. We went through the manuscript, looking at every suggested change. We made some, we ignored others, and we used some for inspiration. Sometimes Terry checked back with a reader on a change he made. That process slowed the book project down but made the book a lot better.

Terry also used two kinds of beta readers. Some were friends who reviewed how we worded and explained things. Others were qualified professionals who critiqued the specifics of content. Suggestions from expert readers led to the insertion of an entire chapter that dramatically improved the book.

Editing

Professional editors save us from ourselves and improve our books. Most of the authors I work with send their book out to a professional editor before it goes through the publishing process. In the old days, normal publishing practice was to have a copy editor look at the book and, later, to have a proofreader go through the book. Terry did both a copy edit and a proofread.

Many Resources for Readers

Terry included several resources to make his book more useful for readers. There was an appendix a reader could use to test whether he or she was ready to invest. Another appendix explained supply and demand in apartment investing markets. We included an extensive reading list, too.

A chapter on “How to Get the Most from this Book” helped readers with different starting points tailor the book’s message to their situation. Terry sought the wisdom of several professional colleagues for this chapter. We used the basics of the chapter to structure Terry’s book website.

A Great Book

Terry’s book, Building Legacy Wealth, is a great book. It’s packed with helpful information and insights and it reads well. Readers will never know how hard Terry worked or how many people he involved in creating his book, but they will reap the benefits.

Bottom Line

Terry Moore’s work ethic and attention to detail is exceptional. You may choose not to work as hard, revise as much, or seek as much feedback. But when you’re tempted to ease up a little or declare something “good enough,” ask yourself “What would Terry do?”

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