Please read the earlier section on how the book began here.
Once I received the RFP template, I was elated and anxious at the same time. The template had questions beginning from the audience profile, the number of copies it might sell to other relevant books around the theme. It forced me to think deeper into what Iam trying to do. It helped me collate my thoughts and organise better. Until such time, I was not even sure if this would become a book. I had to put down a table of contents as part of the proposal. This literally had me go from top to bottom of what is required of the book in three days. Most of my waking moments were immersed into this process.
Once I had sent across the proposal, the publisher sent it off to a few industry veterans. These members gave their opinions on the subject, the treatment and whether it makes sense for the publisher to go ahead with the book. Pearson shared all the reviews back with me and asked me to respond to the reviewer’s comments.
Those were days of worries and tension. I was not sure if my proposal would be accepted. A few of the reviewer comments were certainly not flattering. Some of them had directly told Pearson not to publish the book. So, I was in two minds on whether this would actually happen or not. But I persisted through those days. I responded to every comment by the reviewers. Once it was done, Pearson gave me a go-ahead for the book publishing and sent across the contract. I assume they had internal discussions as well before giving me the go ahead.
There is but a very small distinction between elation and relief. If your days are spent in anxious wait, a positive outcome results only in relief. I had a contract in hand for a book to be published. I had three sketchy chapters and one year to get this published. From friends I understood that there would be further reviews along the way. So, I did not have a full year really. I worked with a running assumption of six months.
I had heard about writer’s block before. I used to be amused by the term and used to think that literary types are rather foppish. But in these six months I got intimately acclimatised to the stark realities of the term. It’s basically a situation where you have a chapter title but have absolutely nothing to write below the title. You keep staring at the blank space under the title. I sat down to write and in the end browsed the Internet or watched youtube videos. I had to find different ways to push myself forward. I spoke with other folks who had already published. Each conversation egged me to write more. I set-up meetings with different people in the office to get more insights on various themes.
At one point I realised that I should reach out to a larger set of people outside of my organisation. Staying in a large apartment community gave me ample opportunities to reach out to many friends who worked in different organisations. They were more than happy to spend time discussing their views on knowledge transfer and their challenges with it. I then went one step further and organised focus group discussions at my home. We had good long discussions over water melon juice. At the end of every discussion, I wrote out copious notes on the takeaways. The best part of such discussions were the innumerable personal stories that I could gather. I was desperately looking to add more meat to the chapters. These personal stories narrated by my friends helped reinforce tenets and themes significantly.
In the course of writing the book I ended up working with two different clients. Over there, I met with several client personnel as well as members from other vendor organisations. At the first available opportunity I told them about the book. The moment people hear about a book, they want to contribute. Many were happy to spend time and discuss more on the topic. It embellished several chapters on the discipline of Software Ownership Transfer. It was also gratifying to get several perspectives and stories from young professionals of other vendor organisations. Many of them narrated very interesting stories on how IT mergers and buy-outs had impacted them professionally and personally. These stories have substantially enlivened the book’s script. Given it a lot of soul and character.
I will put out another blog on the review and publishing process in a further blog.