While I get everything ready to move forward, here’s a quick look at how I’ve put my book(s) together.
Phase 1: The Blog
This is my version of outlining and drafting. The field is broad enough that I spent four years with 16-18 credit hours to get a grasp on exactly how much there is to know in computer science.
Basically, I come up with a unifying theme (CS 101, Linux + C, etc.) first. Then, I try to systematically move through the content that springs to mind.
Finally, I draft the posts and submit them here.
Phase 2: Working in Word
Once I have blog content, I copy it directly into one large Word document. The headings in my posts copy into the document, allowing me to determine what content exists in which order.
I then spend a deal of time on the following things:
- Editing for clarity
- Hyperlinking content (important for glossaries, etc.)
- Rearranging content for better flow
- Adding content to the book which hasn’t appeared on the blog
Before Coding took approximately 10 hours on hyperlinks alone. It took another hour or two to fill the glossary. I probably spent another 10 or so hours formatting and editing content.
It took a few weekends to get it right.
Phase 3: Previews
Once I have a draft I like, I ship it around to the engineers and programmers I know. They read through it for clarity and content.
However, I also endeavour to send drafts to relative novices, so they can determine how effective my delivery method is.
Phase 4: Amazon
I published my last book exclusively through the Amazon KDP program. I considered working with CreateSpace (an Amazon program which produces print copies), but based on current demand I couldn’t justify publishing that way.
KDP is an excellent program. You fill the fields with the basic information on your book (Author, Publisher, Title, etc.) and submit your cover and text. The program formats the book so that you can preview it on your own device(s) or online, which allows you to make changes as easily as possible.
You also have three basic pricing options:
- 0.99 – 9.99 – You can get up to 70% royalty off of your work (so that a $5 book makes you as much as a $10 copy would)
- 10+ – You can only get 35% royalties with a book of this price
- Kindle Select (on top of the other pricing options) – This allows you to earn a share of the Kindle Select Pool and opens up the options for certain promotions
Phase 5: Shilling
Pretty self-explanatory. My blog has had some reasonable traffic (~1500 views in the past month), but views don’t necessarily translate into sales. I do my best to sell my work wherever I go.