Content Always Wins
When I left you on Friday, an editor friend and I were on our way to Milwaukee to meet with Phil to make a bookmap from the rough cut of his book. The rough cut had been built on a set of criteria that made choosing content from his archives an easy decision-making process. I outlined those criteria in Archive Mining: How to Get From Working Book Title to Rough Cut Content. Now, it was time for a finer cut. Armed with 5 categories of pages, I was sure that we’d sort them into 7 or 8 chapters and make a bookmap. That was the plan.
Because our topic is timeless, we can be flexible about schedule. That gives us even more room to focus on what’s best for the book. Here’s what happened.
We didn’t make a bookmap.
I was wrong about 7 or 8 chapters.
The plan went out the door early on
To make a great book, the content must win. Always.
Making the Finer Cut
In order to make that finer cut, we needed a finer set of criteria. Again, we turned to black and white rules — that crucial tool for sorting intellectual gray questions efficiently.
We made two black and white “gating rules.”
A simple definition of what the book would do — Every entry, story, or example would offer a practical application for the reader.
Every written bit of content had to meet the 90% Rule of Repurposing Content.
We read aloud each piece, if it failed on either point, without question it was out.
What is the 90% Rule of Repurposing Content? It’s a rule that I made up.