More Ways to Speed Up the Corporate History Process

Book development usually begins when the approved manuscript is in hand. But sometimes it makes sense to write and design your history chapter-by-chapter. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

The normal process of creating a corporate history anniversary publication is a relay race: research and interviewing, then writing, then design, then production. But when time is short, you may need to overlap these stages. One time-saver is to review and edit the manuscript chapter-by-chapter, rather than at the traditional halfway or 100% mark.

In CorporateHistory.net’s March 2022 blog post, “How to Speed Up When You’re Running Late,” we suggested this: If you’re truly hustling to meet a tight deadline, stick with a booklet that’s basically one chapter. (An example is CorporateHistory.net’s 28-page history of Bel Fuse.) At the same time, be prepared to pay rush charges. But if a booklet won’t fly, keep in mind that editing one chapter at a time complicates the process. Here are three tips to make it easier.

1. Fact-checking speeds things up. Nitpicking slows things down. The potential for rewrites is almost endless. You, the client, have to counteract that by putting a lid on nonessential edits. Your brand, your timeline, your turning points: those are the through-lines.

2. Use the bucket-brigade approach for design. In theory, you can design each chapter as soon as the writing is approved. That’s a good time-saver. Your reviewers will be reacting to actual text and images, not dummy copy. Again, however, they should focus strictly on matters of fact and balance.

3. Zip along on the early chronology. Going piecemeal works well when you’re dealing with a long history. That’s because info about the founders is usually at hand. And late-breaking data about the 19th or early 20th century is unlikely to crop up (LOL). Produce those early chapters fast, and devote the lion’s share of time to recent history and future plans, which are always more contentious.

If your organization’s history could be ordered overnight from Amazon Prime, everyone’s lives would be easier. Until then, allow as much time as possible. Ideally, start a year or two in advance, especially given current supply chain issues at the production end. (There are fewer book printers than ever, and some are not taking new work for a year!) Most vital: Hire a professional who knows the ups and downs of the hybrid genre known as corporate history.