Advice on writing a book ?

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I'm planning on writing a book; the usual woodworking techie stuff. I have a plan for it already, but obviously I don't want to wave that around too openly just yet.
I know a few of the locals have done this in the past. Does anyone have advice they might wish to offer ?
My day job is largely technical writing and I've even worked as a journo in the past, so the actual writing part doesn't faze me - however I've never approached something the size of a whole textbook before. I'm not expecting to make real money from it, but covering the cost of the ink would be nice.
For those who've done it, would you do it again? With hindsight, would you bother the first time? Is a first or second better? I can see that "your first book" has a lot of attraction to it, but presumably the second benefits from experience.
Thanks,
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Andy Dingley asks:

I've done it 40 or 41 times. Beats working for a living, or so I'm told. With hindsight, I'd have kept pumping gas in someone else's service station and made better money.
Don't know the Brit book publishing system, but if you want some words of experience, if not wisdom, give me a yell on the back channel as ol' UA100 calls it. Just drop the nonsense stuff out of my email address.
Charlie Self "When you appeal to force, there's one thing you must never do - lose." Dwight D. Eisenhower
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---------------- For what it's worth I'll give you my tuppence worth.
It's vital you identify with your likely readers and write the book for them, not for yourself.
Determine what your readers can get from your book that they cannot get from any one of the gazillion others available.
Determine if what you currently plan as chapters are not in fact seperate smaller books in their own right.
Determine the optimum selling price then find out what that relates back to in terms of pages and pictures.
Talk to some publishers and find out what they think the market will bear and what they will support.
In my humble opinion I think you possess the skills to write a series of small books on a number of subjects. Your posts here are always interesting and the range of knowledge astounding. That is your strength.
I have a number of woodworking books. None are worth consulting. Yours could be. I would buy your books if I could use them in the workshop rather than clutter up the bookshelf along with the other gifts.
I wish you well Andy and I would like you to keep us posted as to your progress.
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gandalf wrote:<snippage>

<more snippage>
Andy, FWIW, I agree with Gandalf. I purchase quite a few books, and appreciate the offerings which are focused, well-written, and sell for less than US$20. If the book has what I need, I view it almost as a consumable for a project, if the price is right. It needn't be a reference series, although those have their place as well.
Consider also what the physical publishing medium has to offer that the web-based world does not. What does Garrett Hack's 'Handplane Book' offer that Patrick Leach's www.supertool.com does not? They both exist in the 'market', and are well respected sources of information.
Patriarch
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On Fri, 16 Jul 2004 12:48:54 +0100, "gandalf"

I agree with the suggestions above and would add that it is a good idea to take your prospectus around to a few publishers to see if you can even get it published when done. Publishers will let you know real fast if they don't think that what you are doing will sell. BTDT
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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Tim Douglass responds:

Modfy that. Publishers will let you know. Fast ain't got nuttin to do with it.
Charlie Self "When you appeal to force, there's one thing you must never do - lose." Dwight D. Eisenhower
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On 16 Jul 2004 18:14:53 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

Well, I was writing in the high-tech world where the entire life cycle of a book from conception to out of print might only be 6 months. Books about serious stuff like woodworking might take some more thought. We usually got a return from the publisher within a week or so about any prospectus.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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Tim Douglass writes:

Man, I wish. I've got probably 12 ideas out now, some of them since last February, a couple since a year ago February (I've written off chances with that publisher).
Charlie Self "When you appeal to force, there's one thing you must never do - lose." Dwight D. Eisenhower
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote in

So what will happen now is that 10 of them will all come in with due dates required within a three week period. ;-)
Patriarch
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Patriarch responds:

Book contracts don't work quite that way. If you find a book you can write & illustrate in 3 weeks, please let me know. More like a 3 month minimum if most of the research is already done, to well over a year for others.
Charlie Self "When you appeal to force, there's one thing you must never do - lose." Dwight D. Eisenhower
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snipped-for-privacy@codesmiths.com (Andy Dingley) wrote:

Just a thought: given what I've seen from your writing on the wreck, you might consider E-Books, being self-published, and cutting out the middle-monger. Dan Appleman writes good technical stuff and I believe he does well with it. And, because his writing is heads-and-shoulders above much of his competition, I expect people follow the honor system associated with those sales.
Good luck, and let us know what you do. Gary
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On 16 Jul 2004 13:09:43 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gator.net (Gary Greenberg) calmly ranted:

I agree about an Ebook being a second medium, but print is still the top seller for almost everything. I abhor long files on the computer even though I have a crystal-clear 19" CRT. I positively will not read an entire several-hundred-page -book- on it, and it's very inconvenient. I like to lie down to read, spending hours at a time doing so. Some people like 'em and some sales will result, but most don't and most sales will be in print format.
Try 'War and Peace' on a PDA reading a whole 2 sentences at a time on a full screen. In a few years (once you've finished it) let me know what you think about Ebooks. I believe you'll feel about them like I do now. ;)
- DANCING: The vertical frustration of a horizontal desire. --------------------------------------------------------- http://diversify.com Full Service Web Programming
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On Fri, 16 Jul 2004 16:03:29 -0700, Larry Jaques

That's good!
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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On 16 Jul 2004 03:41:00 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@codesmiths.com (Andy Dingley) calmly ranted:

Old Charlie Self just MIGHT have a tip or 2 for you. I think he's close to having fifty books in print now. ;)

Charlie might have a line on someone who does limited instant printing (I can't recall the actual name for that) vs. a 5k or 20k book run.
One thing is for sure: SAVE YOUR FILES ALL THE TIME. Make multiple copies of the chapters and put them on various types of media. Losing a week's worth of work is exceedingly harmful to the spirit. I've seen it happen time and again. BAKC UP YOUR WORK, Andy. Put a second drive in your computer and save copies to both disks, then burn CDs and floppies. Get a thumb (new 128MB ram drive the size of a human thumb which plugs into the USB port) and save a copy to that, too.

I've written short (5 or fewer pages) articles for newsletters and such and it's a lot more fun in the planning stage than it is in the publication stage, and I haven't even had to deal with an editor. ;)
G'luck in the offing, mate.
- DANCING: The vertical frustration of a horizontal desire. --------------------------------------------------------- http://diversify.com Full Service Web Programming
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Larry Jaques wrote:

I back up to the internet several times a day. Our company has an account here. http://www.ibackup.com / It is easy "offsite" backup in case the house or office burns down.
It's a piece of cake to drag a .zip from Windows Explorer to an ibackup WebFolder.
Just an ibackup customer...
Offsite backup for free: - Yahoo briefcase - Send email to an account you set for that purpose.
-- Mark
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Larry Jaques writes:

With a good editor, it is much more pleasant. With a bad editor, you wonder why anyone ever bothers.
Charlie Self "When you appeal to force, there's one thing you must never do - lose." Dwight D. Eisenhower
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On 17 Jul 2004 00:12:23 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) calmly ranted:

Yeah, I've heard the horror stories from clients who did copywriting/authoring and had to deal with those Eds from Hell.
- This product cruelly tested on defenseless furry animals - -------------------------------------------------------- http://diversify.com Web App & Database Programming
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Andy Dingley wrote:

I proofread a C++ book prior to its publication. If you're looking for proofreading / feedback take the garf out of my address & send me an email.
-- Mark
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On 16 Jul 2004 03:41:00 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@codesmiths.com (Andy Dingley) wrote:

1. Publish the book yourself. Create a web site...sell it there. Just investigate the best way(s) to distribute and publicize it.
2. Make it simple to read...good sized print for the older folks...and short, simple sentences. Don't use 50 words.
3. Gear your book toward the fairer sex. There's a large, untapped market out there...for our spouses. If you go this route, get a woman to edit it for you. Women think and speak differently.
4. Use a lot of graphics and pictures.
5. Set up a PayPal account. Don't forget to sell on Ebay.

You'll probably need Word, WordPerfect, and/or Paint Shop Pro.
Good luck.
Have a nice week...
Trent
What do you call a smart blonde? A golden retriever.
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Have done it x 4. Would not do it again. Reason: I don't have time anymore. A good woodworking book takes lots of pix, dwgs, and fun text to read. For me that is 4 - 6 month venture. A noble thing for you to entertain, (spreading the word), not necessarily a profitable one tho. http://www.patwarner.com (Routers) **************************************************************

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