One of the best things about my work is the amazing expertise I encounter - plus I get to cross-pollinate my clients by passing on fantastic books and go-to people. Here's a selection of books I've worked on with my clients, with mini case studies of the work we did.
TOPIC: Business coaching – SMEs
MY INPUT: Coaching, Editing
Most businesses are run by owners who love what they do, only to find it soon becomes a millstone around their neck. The Grown-Up Business sets out a clear pathway for them to rediscover the passion, fun and profit within their business, and how to get their life back. The Grown-Up Business Model shows an organic path to prosperous and sustainable growth. The chapters describe what needs to be done at each stage of growth, with generous case studies and examples, and concludes with detailed, structured and tested how-to's. Highly recommended for any solopreneur or SME.
Shirley Mansfield is an established business coach in Kent and wanted to write a book using her expertise in helping SMEs run smooth, grown-up businesses. This would add a passive-income strand to her business and make her expertise more widely available.
From Shirley’s initial email, we had a Skype chat to discuss her book plans, and I sent her the Find Your Book pack. Two weeks later, we started the 12-week Springboard Your Book programme, to take her through writing her first draft. After the initial month of mapping out the structure, we shifted our coaching to fortnightly, to allow her more writing time. Her sense of overall structure and the reader‘s flow was already well-honed by years of workshopping and coaching; our work together focused on writing in her natural voice and on the interior structure for each chapter.
Once Shirley had finished her first draft, we did 5 more weeks of coaching, to work on the second draft. I then edited the final draft while Shirley took charge of her publishing arrangements.
Her book was published almost a year to the day from her first email and has received 5-star reviews on Amazon.
TOPIC: Personal development – Family and relationships
MY INPUT: Critique, Coaching, Editing
“As a second wife and step mum I can vouch for the fact this book abounds
with the soundest of advice. All those contemplating the leap or already
travelling the rocky road should buy a copy right now.” —Judy Nunn, Author and Actress
The Second Wives Guide is an inspirational book for creating functional relationships with everyone in your blended family - the whole village, your step-kids, your husband, and yourself. A fun and easy read, full of personal stories, case studies and valuable tips, this book helps you develop the self esteem and confidence to claim your place in the family and give yourself the tools (and permission) to succeed and be happy. Warm, human, practical, and positive.
Angela Vassallo's book grew out of her own experience as a second wife and extensive research on the subject. Gathering all that knowledge and turning it into a book was a cornerstone of her business plan in launching The Second Wives' HQ.
Angela approached me with a draft manuscript for an in-depth critique. That included advice on how to restructure the book and expand on the topics she covered, plus some options on how to proceed. She opted for weekly coaching, to steer her through the reworking process and also give her motivation and accountability. We did two rounds of 12 weeks of coaching, working through Angela’s second and third drafts, during which time Angela dramatically expanded the book to offer her expertise and research in much more detail, with wonderful case studies and easy-to-apply tips for the readers. I then edited the final draft, ready for layout and proofreading.
Angela has since launched her company, The Second Wives' HQ, and been on two successful international book tours, including multiple television and radio interviews.
TOPIC: Business coaching – Managing creatives
MY INPUT: Structural editing, Style editing
The problem isn't making your people more creative - it's creating the structures, processes, and environments that allow them to be creative. Nigel Collin's brilliant insights are essential for any business that wants more creativity - and for anyone wanting to manage their own creativity better. He knows creatives and creativity intimately and can translate that into business.
Nigel Collin approached me for editing with a completed manuscript, which was largely in good shape. However, the structure of about 1/3 of it wasn't working. He wanted help resolving that area and editing for the whole book.
I did a full-scale structural edit of 1/3 of the book, to reorganise those chapters, and bullet-pointed new introductions and conclusions for Nigel to write. I also style-edited the rest of the book.
With a substantial, professional book, Nigel was able to continue to build his impressive platform as an international speaker on creativity and business. I have since worked with Nigel on subsequent books, the most recent of which is being released by Wiley in May 2016.
TOPIC: Business coaching – Branding, marketing, and sales
MY INPUT: Structural input, Editing
A clear, accessible tour of your essential sales, branding, and marketing approaches, with all the how-to you need. Exercises and workbook activities mean that when you finish the book, you've acted on all the information and have scheduled plans. Best of all, everything hinges on your values.
Michael Neaylon approached me with a completed manuscript, which was in largely good shape, with an especially polished chapter he'd been using as a PDF "teaser" to promote the project. After a Skype chat to explore his plans for the book, we agreed on an edit with possible structural changes if needed.
Michael and I worked together closely during the editing process, as I flagged up occasional areas that needed additional explanation, advice, or case studies. A few chapters near the end needed significant rearranging; I mapped out a suggested structure which Michael then built on. This also led to him creating fantastic new content.
Through the editing process, Michael developed a more powerful book – and the content for two new all-day workshops! The end result is a transformative book which I strongly recommend to any small business and which I've worked through several times myself.
TOPIC: Business – Entrepreneurs
MY INPUT: Structural editing, editing
Detailed interviews with entrepreneurs, exploring the sides of business we rarely get to hear about in the enthusiastic success stories. Discovering the personalities and principles behind the businesses, the struggles and even the flops, as well as the highs, is excellent learning for anyone running their own business.
Angelique Molojevic's book emerged from in-depth interviews with 10 of Australia's leading entrepreneurs, including the areas that rarely make the success stories: the difficulties, failures, and obstacles they encountered, and how they resolved them.
Angela and I chatted on Skype to explore her plans for the book and the shape she envisaged for it, and agreed on a structural edit. This meant that I could refine and reorganise the content from her draft, while she worked on other aspects of her business. We worked closely during the edit, with some of the interviews being completed while others were under edit. We refined the structure and I also advised on chapter conclusions, infographics, and writing the final chapter.
Angelique's book was picked up by New Holland and published in 2011.
TOPIC: Business and personal coaching – Time management for individuals
MY INPUT: Critiques, Coaching, Copywriting (book blurb)
Detailed, practical, and helpful, this is a comprehensive how-to of how to stop living in a state of panic, clutter, and disorganisation, and be one of those people for whom everything just runs smoothly. I bonded with a lot of the advice in this book - and learnt swathes more about smooth running! She doesn't just make it seem easy, she makes it easy.
Michele Tocci approached me part way through writing her book to ask about editing and also general advice. After a Skype chat to discuss her experience and plans, we agreed on a series of critiques of each part of the book as it was finished. This allowed her to work on the book flexibly around her business and home life, while still getting regular guidance and course-correction.
I first looked at the entire draft manuscript and sent Michele a detailed critique with particular advice on style and structure. We followed this up with a Skype chat, to discuss it in more detail. Michele then reworked the book's three parts in turn. As she finished each part, she sent it to me for a second-draft critique and follow-up chat. I also wrote the blurb for the completed book.
Through our work, Michele developed a user-friendly book packed full of valuable advice, with a great sense of her warm, supportive personality.
TOPIC: Personal development – Personality types
MY INPUT: Critiques, Editing
The best guide to personality types I've ever read! Since I got my copy, it's barely been by my side, as family and friends keep stealing it... and it's top of my gifts-to-give list. Excellent overviews of each type, separate parts on work and relationships, insightful case studies, and packed with useful tips and advice.
Lynne Schinella is a speaker and coach with particular expertise in personality types. She wanted to write a book as an additional income stream, to solidify her brand, and to reach people she otherwise wouldn't.
Lynne approached me when her first draft was about two-thirds the length she envisaged, at a "can't see the wood for the trees" stage. I advised a critique, to give her more clarity and clear guidance on what to do next. (This is a written report on the book's strengths and weaknesses, with suggestions, and a follow-up discussion.) Following the critique, Lynne reworked the book extensively, brought back the second draft for a further critique, then worked on it further. I then edited the final draft.
Her completed book is a fantastic, solid, and immensely helpful guide to understanding, living with, and working with people unlike you, and one I regularly recommend.
TOPIC: Business - Creativity in business
MY INPUT: Critiques, Restructuring, Editing
Irene's unique angle on creativity has some absolute gems of insight - especially on the role of the unconscious and the ego in the process. She takes the creative process and looks at how to turn that onto leadership. Fabulous layout and illustrations bring the whole book to colourful, creative life.
Irene van der Does approached me when she'd been working on the concept behind her book for about 2 years. With subject matter going deep into the experience of the creative process, she wanted someone who could help her on the practical side of book-writing and editing, but also engage with the content and join her at the coal-face.
Irene and I worked together on the book through a series of critiques, as the book and its subject matter changed shape and evolved. When she had reached the furthest point she could with the rewrite, I worked on restructuring the manuscript for her, and then edited the final draft.
Irene's completed book is a challenging, insightful, and physically very beautiful exploration of the creative process.
TOPIC: business management
MY INPUT: editing & advice on structure
A fresh and extremely practical approach to business management, using models from biology of how organisms constantly adapt to their environment. Rather than starting afresh, constantly tweaking and evolving allows you to develop and keep best practice, always adapting to the changing world.
Syd Stewart runs his own successful medical software company, 4S Dawn, and has a background in biology as well as IT. He uses his in-depth knowledge of biology and evolution as a model for running a business, a unique conceptual approach I've repeatedly returned to in my own work.
Syd approached me with his completed manuscript, looking for editing, proofreading, and some tips for improving the book. Through the edit, we expanded and added a few sections, worked on a more consistent structure, and re-mapped the overall structural divisions to reflect his model better. I then proofread the book and prepared it for printing.
I've continued to work with Syd on other projects, including copywriting for promotional brochures and the web.
I rarely accept fiction to work on, but occasionally make exceptions for literary fiction that really grabs me. These are two I particularly enjoyed working on.
GENRE: Literary fiction
MY INPUT: Critique, Coaching
An extraordinary, ambitious literary novel. Adam, a Cambridge student, in his search for the ultimate truth, builds software to find the hidden order governing the universe. He's fanatically obsessed with the idea, so much so that he neglects his girlfriend and the warnings of his mentor, a professor of mythology, that he's leaving the field of scientific research and entering the land of Gods, and that strange things might start happening in his life. And they do.
Filip Dousek is an exciting Czech novelist with a strong philosophical bent. Alongside his IT work and start-up, he'd been working on his novel for several years when he approached me, looking for a fresh perspective on it. As he writes in Czech, he translated the synopsis and initial chapters for me, from which we clarified his novel's overall shape, philosophical themes, central plot tensions, and some of the characterisation. We continued to work together on an ad-hoc basis, whenever he felt support would be useful.
On release, Filip's book sparked an unusually strong discussion in the media and on various social networks, and caused controversy on the Czech literary scene. With its innovative design, it also won second prize in the Most Beautiful Czech Books of 2012 awards.
GENRE: Literary fiction
MY INPUT: Editing, Restructuring
A thoughtful and moving novel about a woman with chronic illness who has given up on life, the itchy silence between her and her daughter, and a young girl whose leap into real life is faster, and more painful, than we can quite bear. The threads spin together and converge around the hyperbaric oxygen tank that gives the novel its name.
Jae de Wylde approached me with a completed manuscript, requesting a style edit and proofread. Her writing was of a very high standard and a pleasure to work with. As the edit progressed, I identified a few areas which would benefit from reworking and heavy cuts. I discussed these with Jae, who agreed. I made the cuts we'd discussed while she reworked the sections that needed it. The result was a much tighter, stronger novel, which has excellent Good Reads reviews and reached the top 100 on Amazon fiction.