In one of the groups I read on Facebook, a person stated that they wanted to write a book and were looking for advice. In response, a few people commented that they would like to coach him or be a reviewer. My response was a little different and a little more detailed, even though quickly written. I thought I’d share what I wrote here:
My Facebook post:
Having published 20+ editions and having helped publish dozens+ of authors get published, let me ask the first question and most important question…..
Why do you want to write a book?
The advice that you get differs depending on the answer to this question.
If you are writing to make money, then put the pencil down and step away from the keyboard. If money is your motivating factor, then you would be better off applying your technical skills in another way. This is not to say you can’t make money writing a book – many have, but more have made substantially lower amounts of money than they would have made working at Taco Bell.
If you are writing to share your knowledge on a topics then my advice would be to talk to a publisher such as WROX, APress, etc. They have people that can work with you and they will do the grunt work such as copy-editing, layout, indexing, proofing, distribution, etc. They will, however, want you to write on a topic that they agree with, and they will give you deadlines. If you go this route, people in this group can connect you with Acquisitions editors (the people that sign authors for publishers).
If you are writing simply because you want a book with your name on it, then you can still go the route of a publisher, or you can take on more of the work and self-publish. This can be done fairly easily with online systems such as KDP through Amazon. As has been stated, self-publishing means you take on all of the work.
If you are going to publish on your own, recommended steps to make sure you include are:
- Get a copy editor. (someone to check grammar, etc.)
- Get a technical editor (someone to run through what you write and say it works.
- Index the book if it is a technology book
- Make sure you honor copyright and IP.
- Set a deadline for getting things done.
- Don’t try to be perfect with the writing (code does need to be correct). Many authors get stuck in perpetual revisions and never complete a book.
This is a quick answer.