What Diligence Means: A Book Writing Blog By Sandra Powers Murphy

By: Lynn Newsome

I set out to write a book about institutional investment management business development, marketing and sales as an acknowledgement of 10 years in the outsourced marketing and sales business. I found nothing on the market to help organizations with this mission critical series of tasks.  The research  and initial writing process was enjoyable. The project was done ‘on the side’ of my day job which added an interesting element of time management, but the outcome would surely be worth it. What I had not anticipated was how challenging sealing the deal would be on the publication of the book. The little details are mind-numbing. As the book, The Road to AUM: Driving Assets Under Management through Effective Marketing and Sales, is all about having a thoroughly vetted game plan, paying attention to the details, and following through, it stood to reason that the book itself would need to follow this protocol. This took shape rather quickly and seemed like it would be a smooth process right through the production phase. It was not. In front of me are 15 bound copies of the manuscript representing 15 different versions. I have friends at Staples print centers all over the Boston area as a result of the constant production of versions to review, color covers to compare, and document settings to confirm. The book typesetter, Mr. Bruce Jones, was fantastically patient. His final file indicated version 10, however there we multiple iterations as we checked, and checked, and checked again for punctuation, spelling, word placement, etc.  This is impossible to appreciate if you have not been tasked with both final proofing and layout of a document in print form. Knowing what I know now, I have a whole new respect for publications and publishing. It is hard work and as my editor, Sheryl Mayette, noted more than once, “you can take any single book of the shelf and you will find something not quite right.”  What the world doesn’t tell you is that there are  magical gremlins in the book file–when you adjust a word in paragraph one, or change spacing in paragraph two, something gets thrown off in paragraph four?  Sections can go ‘behind the curtain’ and disappear without notice.  In short, the final stages of book production are a beast. It reminded me what diligence means. One good friend kept saying, “perfection is the enemy of good“.   In all we do, lets get as close to perfection as we can, while remembering that getting something out the door so that others can benefit from it is ‘good’ enough.