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Episode 22: Let the Arm Wrestling Being!

September 7, 2012

Judy and I have always had ‘first luck’—the first thing that comes along is almost always the right selection.

Just after our return from Mendocino, Judy and I crafted an email to Steve informing him that we had selected White Cloud to publish our book.

Steve was excited to receive the news, but replied with a bit of a sobering message:

“…however, I do feel that the book is not ready and that there is a fair amount of work to be done to get it ready. To be totally up front with you guys, the book is not clear in its message and the writing is uneven. There are some great moments but there is too much writing that just is not ready for prime time. For example, you tend to assume that people have more knowledge about all sorts of things, from online dating to psychology. One of the things you tell people as an important thing they need to do is to know themselves and to be clear about who they are. Now, major spiritual, psychological, and philosophical tomes have been written on this topic, and though you are not expected to recapitulate all that wisdom down through the ages, you are going to need to some tips or guidelines on how they might go about it, etc.”

Steve’s message wasn’t a total surprise to us; we had known that the manuscript wasn’t ready for the Publishing King to read when he asked for it at our first meeting. We knew it required work–a lot of work. What we needed was help improving it. Although Steve’s message might have been enough direction for an experienced writer, for me it was like receiving an address without a map. I was lost. I needed detailed directions to the destination.

Steve suggested an editor/ghostwriter in Hawaii whom he had worked in the past. My instincts told me that a far-flung collaboration would be less than optimal. Our material was new, unique, and unconventional. It redefined the last 50 years of thought surrounding relationships. Face-to-face interaction had always been necessary in order for us to effectively transfer the core of our theories and methods. Even though Steve was predisposed to using editors White Cloud had successfully worked with in the past, I knew a long-distance collaboration would make for hard work.

Still, I was loath to argue with the King. He knew everything…had vast experience. I was nothing more than a scribbling hack — a novice author-supplicant petitioning the all-powerful, all-knowing Sovereign. At least that’s what it felt like to me. Who was I to tell Steve that his years of experience didn’t apply to our project?

But I had to. There was one thing I knew in my bones. I needed proximity; a partner I could see and sit down with over the manuscript. I needed a hands-on, face-to-face editor.

The first round of arm wrestling between the Old World and New World had begun…

Click here for Episode 23: Stealth Mode

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