I’m still pinching myself as I realize that Panos and I managed to win an award for our book, Panos: My Life, My Odyssey, on our first go.
Ketan Makwana, who has a mutual friend, commented on my Linkedin: ‘congratulations Jack and Panos—your book really grew on us … my fellow judges in the category all agreed that it was a surprising and refreshing read’. And now, the judges’ official statement has come out:
Panos is the rags-to-riches story of a man from a small village in Greece whose entrepreneurial drive led him to build a multi-million-dollar luxury swimwear empire. The book is a real page-turner, with Panos & Jack expertly building anticipation to what happens next as the story gains momentum. What the judges felt made Panos particularity [sic] special is that it doesn’t preach to the reader but provides subtle lessons of success that can be applied to sectors beyond fashion. The judges loved reading Panos but will leave the Speedos to the authors!
I’ll pass on those Speedos, mind!
I associate ‘page-turner’ with thrillers but I have to admit that when I re-read the book, I get engrossed in it—even though I ghost-wrote it and know what happens!
That is down to Panos’s rich life history, and I owe a debt to all those autobiographies I had read before. I had a sense of what I wanted and what I didn’t—one famous actor’s autobiography starts generations before into his genealogy and that was something I wanted to avoid. It was important to start with Panos’s parents and the values they imparted to him. Another was too simple and left me wanting. We had to get it right.
As for the flow, that’s very much both of us. Panos knew what he wanted to emphasize, and I knew what we had to omit! There are still some stories we didn’t have the space to include. I knew enough of his work to be able to prompt him for certain stories that I thought would have strong reader interest, based on what I had covered in Lucire. Between us, I think we got the mixture right.
Our publisher at LID, Martin Liu, pointed out one thing we had omitted, which we remedied the next day; while Aiyana Curtis, one of LID’s editors, pointed out that one of the stories needed to be re-evaluated in a modern context and couldn’t be told with a 1990s lens on. All this additional work made for an even stronger book, and one we can all be proud of. What gets me is how quickly both read the book as their feedback was very detailed!
There’s got to be a second book somewhere in here … or maybe I should tackle another autobiography?!