Learnings from book writing
Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Book writing is an arduous task. The easy part is to sit at your computer and type for hours when you have a clear idea of what you want to say. The hard part for me was to write lucidly rather than in my succinct style. My years of practice in writing cryptic sermon notes, that served as prompters in preaching, made me write in an abbreviated manner. This did not help in writing to flesh out the lessons of this book.
I learned that my writing was in need of editing. Thankfully I had a very capable editor in Susan Narjala who transformed my text into a polished manuscript. But going back and forth over the manuscript, accepting the edits and changing the text, was challenging. I often reached the point when I just did not want to look at the manuscript again.
The printing processes were equally tedious. After the page setting we had to once again go through the manuscript with a fine comb. It took some 14 edits to arrive at the final version of the book. Then I learned that WYSIWYG does not hold for a printed book. My printer Sam Mathai insisted on the process of making a 'dummy' hard copy paperback and couriering it to me. The printed mock book was an eye opener. The font used, that looked great on the screen, was not a serif font and did not look good on paper. This was changed to give a more pleasing outcome. The cover design too needed changing as it was not conveying what I really intended for the cover. Don't judge a book by its cover is easier said than done. The cover is very important. We took time and many iterations to get it right.
I discovered that much patience was required even after approving the manuscript and cover. There were other aspects like determining the print volume, planning the book launch, making presentation packages for select people, planning the dispatch and the Amazon details. If I knew the labour involved, would I have even begun?
What's the rush? I was often asked this question. People take years to produce a book and here I was trying to get it done in a few months. The rush was partly because of the fresh focus on Pastor Joseph at his passing. We wanted to get the book out when his memory was still fresh in people's minds. But another aspect of the rush was my own tendency to get things done quickly, to clear my desk and get things off my plate. In the process I learned to be mindful of others timetables and the fact that others may not be as invested in my time frame as I was. Patience is another virtue that I grew in during this project.
The book title is Lessons from My Father but I was learning a lot of other lessons in the process of writing the book. Life consists of a myriad of processes and there is so much learning involved. I'm thankful that every new endeavour presents opportunities to learn.