Saturday, May 25, 2013

Revising my books for re-publication

It has been a very interesting exercise for me re-reading my four books as part of the process of revising them for re-publication by Singing Dragon Press (see also my blog of 8 May).  First, I am happy that they are going to keep each other close company in terms of the design of their covers, because all will now have one of Hamish Horsley’s lovely photos on them, as the Handbook now has.  Anybody who came to Mandela Street or comes now to our clinic in Harley Street will recognise another of his photos, that of the students gathering together on the hillside outside their monastery, which is to go on the Simple Guide.  All four covers now have the same house style.

And beside the covers, there is what is inside them, my writing.  Luckily, and to my surprise, I felt that the only book which needed some work on it was the Handbook, a careful reading of the others confirming that they still expressed what I wanted to say.  The Handbook was another matter, and has made me think deeply about its content, particularly as this new edition is going to include my Teach Yourself Self-Help manual as an appendix.

Writing the manual highlighted areas which I felt the Handbook touched on too lightly, and sometimes even in a somewhat confusing way, and these related to points and point selection in general.  Amending one section had a knock-on effect on other sections, and has often led to a change in chapter order and content.  My poor translators, Mei Long for the Mandarin version, and Sylviane Burner for the French version, will have some work to do to bring the Chinese and French editions into line.  I haven’t yet dared tell my Russian translator, Zare Melyan, about the changes (although if she reads this blog, which I think she does, she will now know this!).  In a week or so I fly off to Holland to sit with Mei for a day and go through the new version with her.

But the exercise has been a very productive one, because it made me go back to first principles, and work out exactly the process by which I translate my well-known mantra of “the simpler the better” into point selection.  After many a redraft as I honed my ideas more clearly, I now have a version with which I am pleased.  

The publication date for the new edition of the Handbook will be the end of the year, with the other three books appearing a little earlier.

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