When I left you in Find a Book in Your Archives the Way a Publisher Would, Phil Gerbyshak and I had agreed on two “working” book titles that can be built from posts in his archives and one “working” title that we’re going to write from scratch.
Phil and I chose one of the two “working” titles that drew from his archives. We made our choice based on these criteria.
- the amount of content he felt sure was there
- the success of his current book
- what his readers would feel was a natural next step
With the working title in my head, I wrote a subtitle — the 25 words or less definition/premise of what the book would be about. That definition would be my tool for deciding what content to keep. Some folks call that statement the “elevator pitch.”
Armed with the premise as my tool, I could effectively mine Phil’s archives for relevant content.
Rough Cut Content Strategy
Rough cut mining for relevant content is what it sounds like, a systematic process of gathering the content that might be useful. Rough cut is the key term. I went to the archives to make a yes/no choice and move on. I used this criteria to gather the content to form the rough cut of the book-to-be.
1. The content is original.
2. The content ties to the premise of the book.
3. The content is of a size worth picking up.
4. The links are few and superficial (not integral to the point of the text.)
5. Quoted text is secondary to original content.
6. Link lists belong in an appendix, if anywhere. They are probably best left behind at this juncture.
The value of each point above changes depending on the type of book being built. The size of content chunk needed in Point 3 is larger, if the book will be running text and smaller, if the book will be a write-in work text. Point 4 changes completely, when my only goal is an ebook. Point 5 takes on new meaning, if the plan is to start each page with a meaningful quotation.
Rough Cut Content Tactics
I went right for the date archives and read them in order. I read to see whether each post meets the premise and the criteria set. Standard operating procedure for dealing with raw content is to get all content in pages of similar size and moveable form. So I also followed these procedures.
Print each post separately.
Make sure every print out carries the reference from where it came — in this case, the post date. If necessary, write it by hand. Captured keystrokes are valuable when the time comes to assemble the book.
The pile of pages on my desk is 140-150 pages deep. I’ll guess high and say that 30% won’t work. That would leave me with about 100 pages to play with. I can do plenty with that.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you’d like Liz to help you find or make a book from your archives, click on the Work with Liz!! page in the sidebar.
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Bookcraft 2.0: Find a Book in Your Archives the Way a Publisher Would
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ann michael says
Hey Liz – In some cases where the links are not superficial (are integral to the point of the text) – can’t Phil rework the page if the concept included is something you want in the book?
It sounds like Phil is still going to have to write some to pull this all together and fill in the gaps. Or are you giving him some topic for his blog so that he can start “gap-filling” simultaneously with your effort?
ME Strauss says
I’m still looking over what’s to be sure, but it seems inevitable that on any blog there would be some gaps to fill — unless the plan was to write a book from the start.
Yeah, you could rework around links, but usually it’s not work the work to redo any content that isn’t already 90% where you want it. You might as well write fresh content then.
Thanks for asking. Those were really good questions.