Just a quick post from another night where the sleep doesn’t come so easily. I am really happy to finally having gotten my sh-t together enough so that I can spread the news: I’ll be writing another book. The first one was definitely an interesting experience - It’s definitely worth a lot to be able to mention that you are actually the co-author of one of the first books on a subject when you are applying for a job.
That being said, financially, writing a technical book with a traditional publisher is a complete desaster. I knew this beforehand and since I was writing the book while being employed, this was not a huge problem in terms of financial risk.
This time, things will be a bit different.
First of all, I’ll be writing in english. I’m writing a lot, most of it in this place I call my blog, and I do think my writing isn’t that bad - But still, it’s a risk. I’m thinking about getting a proofreader, but that’s not decided. The main reason for an english book obviously is the much larger target market.
The second change will be that I’ll take the risk and try to publish it on my own. A lot of people in my surroundings are doing self-publishing experiments, and with Mathias Meyer I have a pretty prominent example in my contact list. Why self-publishing? Well, let me put it this way: The risk is actually not that big (tech book publishers don’t pay advances, so it’s not like the situation moneywise would be any different, at least for the time spent writing) and the benefits of having a publisher are getting smaller and smaller.
It’s relatively easy to put together a nice publishing toolchain that produces relatively good looking pdf’s and ePub/Kindle formats. Plus, you obviously make a much better cut. To put this in perspective: From the 29 EUR that my first book was sold for at a bookstore (Keep in mind that book prices are fixed in Germany), less than 10% of that went into my pocket (We wrote that book with two people, so writing it alone would have doubled that, but still).
What you are losing, of course, is the publishers marketing, but, while this will be hard work, I hope to be able to learn my own lessons on online marketing here.
Also, I have not yet decided on form (one large book or a collection of small books on single subjects, for example) and, obviously, pricing. They say pricing is hard, but so is writing a book.
What’s the timeline on that?
Glad you asked, here’s what I have in mind: I would love to have some form of test chapter online by mid-november, which incidentally will be when I’ll be giving my next talks at RailsIsrael and Codebits. I’m currently not totally sure if this is realistic because it’s been a while since I’ve had to crank out that much text. The next step will be a very rough beta release so that I can confidently start charging money for it, and my current plan says “end of this year”, but I’ll probably have to adjust that date at some point.
If you want me to keep you up to date on the progess, the best way will be to subscribe to “The Single Page App Newsletter” (yes, a mouth full). I will try to come up with some nice goodies and some tips and tricks for the subscribers.
The official page will be thesinglepageapp.com, but I am the first one to admit that it’s largely placeholder content for now.
You can also expect some more blogging activity here, and I’ll try to follow Mathias’ example and will share my experience as much as I’ll be able to.