Friday, August 26, 2011

Balancing Act.

You can see that over two weeks have passed since I last posted.  I don't think I am going to be able to keep this blog as active as I would like over the next couple of months.  I've got a new blog to support launch and marketing of the new book, Advice From A Risk Detective and that's where my attention will be. 

The book should be out by October 1, at which point I'll be back more often here.  It's hard to let go of something that I've written since 2007, so I'll just say "see you later."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Report from the field.

Annie & Lauren Du Graf --July 2009 Launch Party for ASA
I'm a very lucky woman.  I have the benefit of a learned critical intelligence reading and critiquing my book manuscript.  That would be Lauren Du Graf, ASA's first research associate and my good friend.  She saw early versions of the several chapters of the book last spring -- and she was on the receiving end last weekend when I finished the entire manuscript on the deadline I'd set for an early first cut.  She's the only person to date, in fact, who has read the whole manuscript.

So on Tuesday afternoon she delivered the news -- what I had described as a practical, hands-on manual filled with tips and checklists and titled "Safer, Not Sorry: Taking Reasonable Precautions" had morphed into another type of book, one with a distinctive voice that not only offered advice but also told stories with words and pictures.  She found that three of the four sections could be reworked, but wondered about the fourth which should be dropped if it could not be improved.  I am making it sound less polite than she put it, but that's what I like so much about working with her again -- she tells the truth and has an unerring eye for incongruities and fluff.

The result is that I've rewritten the introduction of the book, providing a better basis for the new title, "Advice from a Risk Detective: At Home, At Work, Online and On the Road."  And I have gutted and reframed the fourth section to an acceptable level, with more rewrite in store of course.  She has challenged me everywhere to be more explicit and state how I came to understand what risk is and how it can be managed.

I have a fair number of close friends, and a wide circle of colleagues.  Since we started working together on constructing the content for the ASA website, Lauren has both supported and challenged me without ever sucking up.  Tomorrow, we'll meet with the book's designer.  I asked her originally to sit in because she often is able to represent my perspective better than I can myself.  This time, though, she'll be sitting as an active partner because she's helped make the book as good as it will be in another week.