Writing - Geeky - How to Write a Computer Book - Part 1

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Writing - Geeky - How to Write a Computer Book - Part 1

Jun 9, 2002

Writing : Geeky : How to Write a Computer Book - Part 1 Last updated: 6/16/2002; 10:22:16 AM   The FuzzyBlog!

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Writing : Geeky : How to Write a Computer Book - Part 1

Background Credentials:

  • Author of one computer book "The Electronic Publishing Construction Kit" by John Wiley and Sons
  • Author of roughly 1/3 of the forthcoming book "Blogging Essentials" by O'Reilly and Associates
  • Multiple articles published.
  • Used to sell technology to publishing firms for 9 years.
  • Spent 3 1/2 years working at the world's largest CD-ROM company which sold largely to publishers.
  • Daily, successful blogger.

With that out of the way, I think I can say that I know at least a little about writing about technology and even about writing computer books.  I just (about 9 - 10 hours ago) wrapped a book writing project, Blogging Essentials, and, within 4 hours, I was on the phone to Italy discussing a new book project with the founder and editor of www.phpbeginner.com.  I thought that what we discussed would be very useful to new authors and, perhaps, to experienced authors. 

The Computer Book Writing Process - Overview

Here is the basic process that you go thru once you decide "I can write a book about geeky topic X".

  1. Money.  Visions of $$$ dance in your head.  You think, you dream.
  2. Publisher.  You need to find multiple publishers to whom you can sell it.  And then you need to research how they want a proposal done.  You guessed it – everyone is different.  You'll write N proposals all about 15% - 25 % different (think of it as porting code across different *nix versions and you'll do nicely).
  3. Proposal.  You have to write it.
  4. Back and Forth
  5. Picking an Editor.
  6. Contract
  7. Writing
  8. Editing
  9. Writing
  10. Editing
  11. Cover Design
  12. Your Next Book

Step 1: Money.  What Do I Get?

Let's be very, very honest here – not all that much.  It is my opinion that the computer book publishing game is currently rigged against the authors and that we are basically manipulated by publishers who know that the appeal of having your name on a cover or on Amazon is important to us.  This isn't a common opinion and I don't really care.  Agree or disagree – it matters not.  Bear in mind that I have written 2 computer books and I do have some basis for saying this.  I also talked with a literary agent on the computer book writing process as well as a former best selling computer book author (who now is again a tech writer) and their comments included:

Out of respect for both of these individuals and a desire to post this quickly, I have not included their attribution information.  If this article proves popular then I'll see if either is willing to go on record.

Who Can I Write a Computer Book For?

The different publishing companies that product computer books, in the United States, include:

  • O'Reilly and Associates.  Home Page.  Author Submission Info.  Sample Amazon Book.
  • Sams.  Home Page.  Submission Info.  Sample Amazon Book.
  • New Riders.  Home Page.  Submission Info.  Sample Amazon Book.

The Proposal

The Computer Book Writing Process - Overview

The Computer Book Writing Process - Overview

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