5

I write a regular column (of about 800 words) for an industry publication that specialises in management matters. The columns deal with workplace matters and give insights on operational matters such as wages, annual leave etc.

I am now thinking of compiling all my columns (15 in total) in a concise epublication or ebook. The closest comparison I can think of is a collection of short stories.

I am wondering what is an effective way to create this compilation i.e. how do I organised the columns which deal with different matters? (For clarity, I am not asking about the technical aspects of producing an ebook.)

Note: Each column is a "standalone" management article, so complete in itself, hence, there is no "flow" from one to the next, as they have been published in different editions of the industry publication.

4

Treat each column as if it were a separate chapter in a book. Try to organize the order of your "chapters" so that they flow in a logical order based on the order in which the reader is likely to encounter each in a real world situation. For example, a series of columns pertaining to the hiring process in a company might use the following order:

  • Accepting Applications
  • Reviewing Applications
  • Selecting Applicants for Interviews
  • Scheduling Interviews
  • Conducting Interviews
  • Hiring Candidates

You can start off by preparing a Table of Contents using only the titles for the topic of each "chapter", and then review the list to see if they are in a logical order. Move the titles around until you feel like you've accomplished what you want, and then compile the columns into your finished product.

Be sure to include your final Table of Contents, because some readers may be more interested in specific topics. Your readers will truly appreciate that!

2

There's very little you can do to improve the flow of the articles, short of rewriting the articles themselves. A collection of columns will always be a collection of works written separately. However, there are some devices you can use that will help the book.

You can group the articles by subject. This will keep similar articles together, making the subject matter of the articles slightly more cohesive.

Is there any tale to be found in how these pieces were written? You can also write bridging text to go between the articles. This can be a simple matter of you writing a few sentences commenting on the articles: the circumstances they were written under, how one article sparked further thoughts and created another one, etc. I'd keep these brief, as it's a device that can easily become long-winded. (Check out story collections by Isaac Asimov to see this technique used well.)

I would suggest you have the entire manuscript proofread by one person; if the articles were proofread by more than one person, they may have been subjected to different editing conventions. Small things like how ellipses are formatted, whether text after a colon is capitalized or not, consistent use of hyphens and dashes, usage of the serial comma, and so on can detract from the flow of text when not applied consistently.

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