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It takes a Village to Birth a Book

I have an outstanding team supporting me at Ocean Reeve Publishing for my book to be published first quarter 2022; a team exemplifying the power of communication, of redesigning our conversations.

My first meeting with Ocean Reeve went for 90 minutes, ticking all my boxes. Three questions by Ocean informed the book cover:

Do I have any illustrations?

I answer, No, that quickly went to, Not yet, maybe 5 to 10.

It’s amazing how many of us do not ask ourselves a simple question, too focussed on the detail of what we are doing, in my case writing words, though knowing the power of the visual.

A quick call to one of my children (a designer) led me to a family friend Steve Bachmayer. From the moment he answered the phone, I knew it was a right fit. When Steve produced his first drawings, I realised Steve is amazing at absorbing an idea and then letting the idea leap off the page with his virtual back pen, bringing humour and a cheeky through line.

My brief to Steve went to over 20 drawings, including for the cover. Thanks Steve.

Have I wandered through bookshops looking at book covers?

I answer, Yes, though alas nothing had hit me in the eyes. Maybe I was not in the mood, too distracted by the mass of books.

A few weeks later, I was having a chat with Sarah Kate Hill my fabulous publishing coordinator at ORP. My eyes were drawn to one of the ORP published books on display. BOOM, there was my book cover, simple, with a colour to draw you in, by Joshua Clifton, ORP’s marketing guru: though, adopting the same colour would be a bit much.

Shortly after, back in my home office, I glanced at my bookshelves. One book stood out, one that I have had in my hands many times, the orange of Volume II of Alan Sieler’s Coaching to the Human Soul, Ontological Coaching and Deep Change. I had the colour.

To test my choice, ORP did four versions: Yellow (happiness, optimism, youth: I understood Joshua Clifton’s choice); Light Blue (loyalty, stability, tranquillity); Green (healing, success, hope); Orange (energy, fun, warmth). I asked my family and Orange won by a whisker, a book to foster energy, fun, and warmth.

I needed an illustration for the book cover. I thought of one of Steve's drawings (below, with a border) I use for my website. Steve agreed, though he took out the border, bringing simplicity, just two figures chatting.

Do I plan to ask for endorsements?

I answer, Yes, with some trepidation.

Before the book was fully edited, Alan Sieler provided the Foreword and included were words to complete the cover, a generous endorsement.

If you are committed to improving the quality of your communication and relationships, I highly recommend you read this book carefully.

I am very grateful to Alan for supporting me in my journey and writing the Foreword.

The cover was born, with further crafting by Ocean Reeve.

Do you believe in serendipity?

Why was I drawn to Joshua Clifton’s The Hospitality Survival Guide and Alan Sieler’s Volume II of his Coaching to the Human Soul? Two themes of my book are the importance of ‘hosting’ and the importance of noticing, managing, and learning from our emotions, what Susan David calls ‘emotional agility’.

When we go to dinner at another’s home, we often come away thinking, ‘What a great host they were.’ We felt comfortable as their guest. Harlene Anderson uses the host-guest metaphor to describe how, in our conversations, each person acts as a temporary host and guest in each other’s life. This allows us to create a relationship in which we each feel valued and worth being listened to, rather than seeking to show our brilliance by being the expert, shutting the other down, and closing ourselves to learning from the other. And we often do this over a cup of tea. Yes, Joshua Clifton’s book cover engaged me.

Alan Sieler’s Volume II is sub-titled Emotional Learning and Ontological Coaching. Two themes of my book are ‘Emotional Learning’ and ‘Coaching’. As I note in the Introduction to my book:

The questions in case studies and exercises are tools to help you develop a coaching culture in your family and workplace, engage in relational coaching, and self-coach.

If this is not serendipity, what is?

I would love to hear how supporting teams have impacted your journey. You can contact me through my website.

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