by Dan Poynter
Savvy nonfiction author-publishers take each chapter of their nearly complete manuscript and send it off to at least four experts on that particular chapter's subject. This step in book writing is called "peer review."
Some experts might get two or three chapters but most will get only one. Do not overwhelm them. If you send the whole manuscript, most experts will put it on their desk with the best of intentions and never get back to it.
An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.
--Niels Bohr (1885-1962), Danish physicist and Nobel Laureate
Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One-Minute Manager Library, says "I don't write my books, my friends write them for me." He explains that he josts down soe good ideas and sends them off to friends for comment. They send back lots of good ideas that he puts into his manuscript. Ken is being very generous, of course, and what he is describing is "peer review."
What you get back from your peer reviewers is extremely valuable: They may add two more items to your list; they sometimes delete whole paragraphs where the practice has changed; they occasionally cross out that comment you thought was cute but was potentially embarrassingly stupid, and they sometimes even correct punctuation, grammar and style.
Also send copies of the complete manuscript off to friends, family, literate objective readers, potential buyers and even a Devil's Advocate or two. The more feedback you get the better.
When your book comes out, you will receive far less adverse-reader reaction because the book will be bulletproof. After all, it has be reviewed and accepted by the best.
And, there is another valuable reason for peer review: You have more than two-dozen opinion molders telling everyone about your book -- and how they helped you with it.
Dan Poynter, the Voice of Self-Publishing, has written more than 100 books since 1969 including Writing Nonfiction and the The Self-Publishing Manual. Dan is a past vice-president of the Publishers Marketing Association. For more help on book publishing and promoting, see http://ParaPub.com. (C) 2003