How my book structure got temporarily derailed

One longer-term objective of Upstarta has been to bring out a book. Having done previous analysis of the publishing industry and its effective benefits to authors (or the lack thereof – I might do a post on that some time!) I decided to self-publish. After all, shelf space is rare anyway but you can get your Lulu book to Amazon without hassle. What an expiring writer also needs is some project management to keep an eye on time, progress and structure: in summary, a good editor!

In April I had a rare opportunity to meet face-to-face with an editor-friend (we literally live on opposite sides of the planet), and while reviewing content is easy to do online, discussing structure is much easier in-person. We came up with this rough section layout:

  1. product development
  2. funding
  3. sales
  4. physical environment / ecology… people: clients & staff
  5. case studies

This looked entirely sensible. But then somehow I got stuck fitting the content in to there, and worked out only months later that the above had something to do with it. This is not how disruptive non-funded businesses start! Instead it follows the flow of traditional businesses; and it’s exactly that process causing problems which Upstarta addresses…

The actual Upstarta process is not quite linear, but it can be described in chunks and some concepts should be dealt with before others. So while I love my wiki (it’s the visual-spatial thinker in me), it can be molded into a book.

The lesson is that it’s very easy to fall back in to “classic” thinking patterns, and you may not realise for quite a while that you actually did – meanwhile several layers of decisions get built on top. It can really mess with things, and in essence waste valuable time and often also money. In some cases, it might not even be fixable any more. The “getting stuck” was a pattern I should have questioned in more detail straight when it occurred. In this case it’ll be ok, just cost some time.