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Aug 24, 2011: Thinking of writing a book?

Just got asked for the Nth time by a colleague for advice on whether or not they should write a book. Figured I should share my advice, or at least capture it here so I can point folks to it in the future. Here goes:

  1. First ask yourself if a book is the appropriate package for your content (and its users). 
  2. If it is, ask yourself if you really want to spend at least a year of your precious time and effort to write one.
  3. If you do, ask yourself if you want to publish it yourself, or if you see value in having a publisher work with you. Some people can pull off a book on their own; others like/need to have editorial, production, promotion, and distribution handled by someone else.
  4. If you want a publisher, find the one whose audience most closely matches the one you wish to reach. While I believe that some publishers are far superior to others ;-) ultimately we do much of the same thing: match books with our audiences. 
  5. If you have identified multiple publishers that might be appropriate, figure out which one will actually help promote your book. (You'll still have to do a lot of it yourself, but it'd be swell if your publisher would also shoulder some of the promotional burden.)
  6. If one publisher seems to promise to promote your book more than others, then examine their track record and see if it's covered in bullshit.

That's it! Hope this helps.

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