Nuala Walsh’s Non-Fiction Debut TUNE IN – Jericho Writers
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Nuala Walsh’s Non-Fiction Debut TUNE IN

Nuala Walsh’s Non-Fiction Debut TUNE IN

With an impressive background in the finance world, Nuala’s TUNE IN is a practical guide on how to make decisions in an increasingly chaotic world. We caught up with Nuala to chat all about her writing journey from first draft through to becoming a bestseller. Complete with new directions, lessons learned along the way and a little help along the way from one of our editors, this is the story of how TUNE IN was published…

Hi Nuala, thanks for joining us! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey that led up to the publication of your book TUNE IN: How to Make Smarter Decisions In a Noisy World?

As a former Chief Marketing Officer in the investment industry, I went back to school after 30 years and did a MSc in Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics. Although I always thought I would write a book, being able to make sense of the psychology of decision-making and apply it to real-world situations was the catalyst.

I think it’s easier to get decisions right and avoid regret than we think – and when we hold power, it’s an obligation to do so. As I sit on boards that span sport and non-profits, I see misjudgement impact people’s lives, I wanted to apply behavioural insights to set people up for success and provide a simple framework to prevent error.

What is TUNE IN about and why is it different?

Despite popular opinion, the most underestimated risk isn’t economic, technology or climate risk. It’s human decision risk, triggered by our tendency to tune out what really matters especially in high-stakes political or emotional situations – i.e. when we feel under pressure, crisis, conflict or uncertainty.  I draw attention to a neglected source of misinformation which is ironically a source of opportunity.

I make the case that human decision risk is an underestimated source of misinformation but also a source of advantage and opportunity. Every day we hear less and misjudge more. TUNE IN explores the rising threat of misjudgement and explains why so many feel unheard and tune out who or what really matters. I introduce a practical framework of ten traps to avoid regret and prevent error.

Can you tell us a little bit about the process your book went through from writing the first draft, through to publication?

I wrote the first draft of TUNE IN initially and looked for an agent and publisher. The final product was vastly different of course as the idea took a slightly different direction. I think this is the case whether fiction or non-fiction.  The agent search was tough as mostly focused on fiction rather than non-fiction so I engaged Jericho Writers to help refine the pitch. I eventually went direct to a publisher and secured a deal with Harriman House, an imprint of Macmillan. Then, I worked with a wonderful Jericho Writers manuscript editor. This was helpful before I submitted my first version to the publishers. From there, I had three different editors. I found all varied in terms of their focus, interest and attention to detail but together the product was enhanced. My final editor was especially patient interested in the topic, allowing more last-minute changes than I thought possible. Finally I pressed the send button in Dubai. And TUNE IN was born!

Is there anything you found particularly useful on your journey?

The process is a lot harder than it looks and can be really off-putting. I had read a book on how to make a pitch and found that incredibly useful as full of samples. I also scoured existing books to find agents from other authors. I found that made little difference as psychologically they compared you. The fact that I was in the Jericho Writers community was terrific for a debut non-fiction author. Scribes was also a very good resource for first-time authors which helped TUNE IN. By far the resource I valued most at this early stage was an editor who gave excellent directional feedback and confidence to keep going.

Were there any surprises along the way? Or perhaps anything you wished you had known earlier, or been prepared for?

I underestimated how much marketing the author needs to do for launch and thereafter; and how you can’t rely on publishers alone. It also costs. Part of this process requires securing endorsements which is very time-consuming. For TUNE IN, I secured 14 phenomenal endorsements from across business, sport, academia and even an FBI Investigator, including some well-known individuals who were extremely generous in their praise. I think it’s worth the effort to do this even though you’re getting tired, and it feels like a luxury.

What advice would you give to writers working on their first draft?

I had surprises throughout! I don’t think my idea was articulated sharply enough when I first approached agents. Now I think I know what they want. I tried to cover too much in an area people think they’re good at already. For the first draft, I would structure it better and also write the elevator speech. It focuses the mind better. I think it’s important to write the PR pitch in the beginning. If its not strong enough, don’t write at all as it will go nowhere.

After having spent years working on your book – how did you know it was time to submit?

I had a deadline, so I had no choice about when to submit. That said, once I was excited about the message and the fantastic breadth of stories, that was a signal that TUNE IN was good enough to submit. I had incorporated a lot of real-life characters that made it interesting, pacy and relevant. Most people now comment on the vast range of examples and are pleasantly surprised at the number of current industries and professions covered. I think I will enjoy listening to this again  – with so many facts and stories to make a serious point, I need to remember them all now too!

Can you let us know what are you working on now?

Within the first few days, TUNE IN was an Amazon #1 new release in six different categories, the most wished for and a top three bestseller in three categories. Of course, this changes regularly and can still get better or worse. I am now having a holiday then focusing on gathering reviews and spreading the word – this is the next stage of the journey!