Over the last several months much of my time has gone into writing my first book; tentatively titled AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required. You can look for it in bookstores in June of this year (2010). Those who follow me on twitter have heard me talk about what it’s like to write a book. While I’ve never climbed Everest, I’d compare writing a book to climbing Everest. It’s an experience fellow authors (climbers) will tell you is incredibly tough, but just how tough isn’t truly known until you begin writing (or climbing in the case of Everest). Of course getting to the summit makes the entire journey worth it in the end.
Before becoming an author I certainly knew books went through an editorial process, what I didn’t know was how extensive that process was. To summarize, there are five stages to every chapter I write; initial manuscript submission, developmental and technical edit, a copyedit, and then first and second proofs. Oftentimes I’m writing one chapter, reviewing the comments from a copyedit of one chapter, and reviewing comments from the developmental and technical edit for another chapter. Needless to say, keeping track of which chapters need my attention can get a little confusing at times.
My solution has been to develop a project dashboard using MindManager. A colored icon represents each editorial phase; M for manuscript submission, D for Technical/Developmental edit, C for Copyedit, and 1 and 2 for first and second page proofs. Gray means not started, yellow in progress and/or pending, and red for overdue. I’ve certainly used my share of project dashboards created in products such as Microsoft Excel, but for me the visual nature of MindManager makes it easy to know what’s happening with every one of my chapters in a single glance. Likewise, using a series of custom icons, updating the status of an editorial process is as simple as clicking on the icon, and just like that the status changes.