Questions for editors

hi my name is Dikran Iskenderian. For the last 2 years I have been busy writing a book about restaurant marketing, which along the way transitioned into a book that is also about restaurant management (and also leadership, how to open and run a restaurant, etc). I have been working in my family business for over 25 years. We run Zankou Chicken, a small chain of restaurants in Los Angeles and Orange County here in sunny southern California. It’s been in business for over 50 years, and in the United States since 1984 (in Hollywood).

I am in the process of transitioning from just owning/ operating restaurants into public speaking, teaching, and networking primarily in the business and marketing world. The reason for this is simple. I love having a book written ( I can’t say I love writing because that’s like saying I love going to the dentist). Although the process has been difficult my hope is that the results will be rewarding. With myself and my coauthor we researched all of the things a prospective restaurateur would like to know and wrote papers on it week after week (for 18 months straight).  This included everything from leases to where to open, how to hire and fire the right people, food prep, kitchen maintenance, and restaurant industry protocol. Basically I wrote about everything I’ve learned (the best of it at least) for the last 25 years.

What I did not know, I went out and sought. I interviewed my family members and business associates. For example my cousin Jack Nasher in Germany wrote a best-selling book on negotiation so I interviewed him on how restaurant owners should negotiate with vendors. I interviewed a professional lease preparer who calls himself the Lease Doctor. I interviewed my mom and brothers on the best that they have learned. I interviewed the best catering business in LA, a 5 star chef, etc

So I am not sure how to put this book together. Primarily it will be used as my own teaching material for a future class and/or seminars I wish to conduct. But I also want it to be easy to read and fun. I want it to be as entertaining as it is educational.

I wondered about structuring the interviews into one narrative, but I don’t think that would be right because these people would lose their own voice. So I think the best solution is to possibly split the work in two, the narratives coming first followed by the interviews in the 2nd half of the book.

Then again that’s just my opinion. I want a professional, third party to take all of this and make it flow in a beautiful, cohesive book (or 2 books).

I also want help in determining how I should do all of this. Most of the people I spoke with have told me to simply cut the fat and put it into one book, even if that means it’s a 600 page book. I am OK with this because I would feel much more comfortable asking students to buy one book versus two books. It’s also a better long term strategy because one book would garner a greater number of reviews (hopefully positive reviews) on Amazon then if I split it into two.

My latest idea is to make it all one book, and make the stuff that is boring (like the health grades chapter and the chapter on ADA, into a free PDF I can pass out. In other words I would keep the top 70-80% of the book, cut the fat and make it better, and make the remaining 20-30% that is boring available for free.

We can talk more later about what is best to do obviously. But I am really curious as to who is the best person to help me do all of this. I came up with the following questions to help me determine that. Please answer them if you want to help me with this project:

1) How much time and money do you estimate a 200,000-word manuscript to be? Can you edit a sample chapter or at least 3-5 pages so I can see the quality of your work?

2) Why are you the best person qualified to help me edit this material? Blaise Pascal sad “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” Are you confident that you can scale down a 200,000+ word book into one with about 175,000 words or less that is to the point?

3) Are you open to telephone AND email communication throughout the process?

4) Can you send me any references of your published work and any third party recommendations?

5) Will you be using anyone else to edit my material or outsourcing any of your work ? If so can you please list their education, past history of edited works, and recommendations from others about them here.

6) Can you help re-write some of the material such that the chapters flow better ? Specifically can you help in the process of ordering the chapters into a better sequence so it’s easier for the reader to breeze through the material?

7) Since I have so much material I am considering putting some of it aside for a second book or at the minimum a free download “report” on the industry I can give away as a promotion. Can you help me choose which material is best for publication and which I should give away?

8) If the material is divided in two books (one on restaurant management and the other on restaurant marketing…) would you be able to help with that? One would be a Restaurant Management book and one would be a Restaurant Marketing book. Do you have any experience splitting works into two separate books?

9) Do you have any experience editing text books? This book will be used for my future classes/ seminars I will conduct on this subject and any academic background or professional published materials can be mentioned here. Please list any works you have edited that have been used on the college and/or university level.

10) Finally, your expertise is in editing and not writing and I appreciate that. However, in this case, I may need someone to help write a little bit just to help link the chapters and make the book flow smoothly. Are you able to do that?


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