Friday 28 December 2012

Catching Excellence

I spent my post-Christmas break rereading my book (which passed the holiday gifting test!). I had received the "first pages" typeset version from my production editor on December 18th with a two-week deadline to make corrections. 

Since this was my last chance to make changes, I asked my personal editor, Ken, to review my book one last time and he worked night and day to give me his suggestions on Christmas Eve. Now it was my turn to review and transfer his changes and mine to the master document.  

Boxing Day morning kicked-off a twenty-nine hour editing marathon. There are so many content and format elements to check and cross-reference. I can understand why errors sneak past publishing teams and authors. Here are the ones I found in the 57,000 word draft:

- Spelling
- Extra and missing words
- Punctuation
- Capitalization
- Singular and plural forms
- Continuity of formats 

There is a lot to get right and I have made these mistakes on earlier drafts. I realize that the probability of having errors in the printed version of my book is high, regardless of all precautions taken. I will not be someone who focuses on the 1 percent that we didn't get right; doing our best and taking pride in the 99 percent will be my orientation.

There are many quotations about excellence. My favourite is from Vince Lombardi, the U.S. football coach: "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."  My next step is to complete the Change with Confidence website with my designer, Kro, and communications specialist, Mel. We are going for excellence!


Friday 21 December 2012

Let the Happiness In

The other day, a new acquaintance and I talked about how new perspectives had shaped our lives and how these influences appeared when we needed them the most - as a source of inspiration or a solution to a challenge. We shared stories about chance meetings, bizarre "Kevin Bacon six degrees of separation" connections and found resources that helped us along our paths. Most people have had similar experiences and hold views on what causes them, whether spiritual, physical or psychological. Most agree they are not random. 

I experienced this phenomenon while Christmas shopping. I was looking for a gift for a friend when The Happiness Project caught my eye. It was perfect because she is super positive and is devoted to self improvement. 

*Rubin, Gretchen 2009 The Happiness
Project, HarperCollins, N.Y., P. 85
Since I was not the only late holiday shopper,  I waited in line for about twenty minutes, just enough time to get absorbed in the book. I came across a passage that spoke to me: "When I find myself focusing overmuch on the anticipated future happiness of arriving at a certain goal, I remind myself to 'Enjoy now.' If I can enjoy the present, I don't need to count on the happiness that is (or isn't) waiting for me in the future."* I have recently been focusing all my efforts on my book's launch without appreciating each step that will get me there; when the goal becomes your only goal, the present becomes subservient to the future and activities become things to complete versus things to enjoy. It's time to rebalance my focus.

Coincidence? I think not. It turns out that The Happiness Project was a perfect gift for me. 

Happy Holidays everyone!


Thursday 13 December 2012

When Push Comes to Shove

Things are heating up as my March 11 launch date approaches. I met the Wiley marketing and publicity team this week, which was a highlight. The pieces of the marketing mix are coming together, including contact lists, press releases, sales team briefings and a launch party. Plans are being worked, milestones are being set and my to-do list is growing.

I am feeling the heat as my book and consulting commitments rub against each other. Both are important and both must be done well. Sleep has suffered but I am staying on track.

At the top of my book-related list is the '' website. My web designer and I mapped out the site and selected a template that will be customized with my content. 

Now it is up to me to write the content and for my designer to organize it in a clear and engaging way. The bulk of my work is to write chapter summaries and record videos. Each one will be accompanied by blank versions of the templates in my book that people can download for their change projects. The e-version of Change with Confidence will include embedded links so that people can retrieve them as they read. 

I am excited by the work that is before me. Often I do my best work when push comes to shove. 


Friday 7 December 2012

If it looks like a duck...

A Duck
At a meeting I facilitated last week, someone mentioned that she had referenced the 'duck test' (if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck,  and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck) to her team and no one knew what she meant.

I feel like I am going through the duck test now as the hard cover version of my book is being assembled. I asked my Wiley production supervisor if she could send me a sample of the layout design and she kindly sent me a few pages. 

Fonts: Blumner MTStd, Minion Pro 
and Ocean Sans
Here's where the duck test comes in. The layout looks like a hard cover business book, the fonts are similar to other hard cover business books, and the dimensions are common to most hard cover business book. Therefore, Change with Confidence will look and feel like a hard cover business book. I am getting more and more excited as I see the physical elements come together. Each one is a 'pinch myself' moment, a small win that needs to be celebrated. Celebration is an important factor of successful change management and I am seeing my motivation spike every time I have one.

Two observations came to mind when studying the layout: It will be easy to flip through my book to find specific information, which has always been a must-have requirement. Also, the templated examples are shown exactly as they were created during big change projects, which reflects the experience-based, practical nature of my book. 

 The cover is the final element of the design phase. As long as it looks like a business book (the duck) then my book will be in good shape.