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how many take exam?

 
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I am interested in knowing how big the SCJP community is. I am not just talking about JavaRanchers, but about anyone who takes Java-related exams.

Are there any statistics about how many people take the SCJP 1.4 per year? Any educated guesses?

How many books does Bert Bates sell in a year? :-)
 
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Sun has never made this information available. Kathy and Bert have not made any figures available so far to my knowledge, possibly to avoid other authors feeling envious
 
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Even though our publishers tell us our books are selling well for 2006, they also tell us that if this was like 1999 or 2000 they'd be selling 6 times as much

Sun won't say how many candidates they get each year, but it's thousands and thousands for sure.

hth,

Bert
 
Douglas Chorpita
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Bert Bates, Marcus Green and I sharing the same thread.

What an honor!

Let's be honest, Bert, ...

Are first names OK at the ranch?

...you must know something about exactly how well your books are selling.

With so many SCJPiers, you must be living pretty well these days.

Do you earn per book? or how does this work?

Am I allowed to ask these questions?
 
Marcus Green
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Woah I mis read that as horror rather than honour for a moment ...

Now I suspect (and hope) that Bert and Kathy have a far better book deal than I have ever had, but even on a good publishing deal nobody would call it a "Get Quick Rich" scheme.
 
Douglas Chorpita
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Marcus,

Do you sell Java books and make tests for your full time job?

Can you do well from this income? Or is it just a hobby?

Should I be asking this?

Should I use a private message?
 
Bert Bates
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Hey Douglas,

Sure it's fair to ask these questions, and it's fair for me to be a bit cagey

There is a lot about author royalties that's pretty common knowledge...

A typical tech book contract gives the author a 10% royalty, of course that can vary a bit up or down. In addition, most authors get an "advance", these can also vary greatly, but they are typically $7k to $10k. But the key word here is "advance". These advances are accounted against the author's royalties, so that the royalties associated with the first chunk of books that are sold go directly back to the publisher to pay off the author's advance. In many cases the advance is a nice, interest-free loan from the publisher to the author.

The sad truth is that a lot of tech books never sell enough copies to "earn out" their advance. For example, let's say that an author gets a $10k advance, and that her royalty works out to $2 / book. The first 5k books sold will be enough to "earn out" the $10k advance, and from there, the author will get royalties for any additional books that are sold. But again, a lot of technical books never sell enough copies to earn out their advance. In fact, we know of many authors who write books only for the advance and for whatever credibility being an author might bring them.

BTW, $2 / book is a fairly reasonable estimate for books sold in the U.S. Of course, many foreign editions sell for much less than the U.S. versions, and royalties are adjusted downward to match the sales price of books in those countries.

Kathy and i have been VERY lucky with our books! (As anyone who has ever read one of our books knows, we're not very good writers! :roll: ) We decided early on that we'd focus on writing "learning" books rather than "reference" books. We both have a passion for brain science, learning theory, and teaching, so we've tried to leverage those interests into how we write our books. But the thing is that we're kind of slow - every book we write takes us about 9 to 12 person-months to create. So, for instance, if the SCJP book takes 12 months to write, then if we sell 30,000 copies, we might be making what an experienced U.S. software developer might make - but the developer probably has a more secure paycheck

On the other hand, if a book sells 60,000 copies, then we've done well with our time investment. Of course not all of our books sell equally well. If every book sold as well as Head First Java, then we would probably upgrade from our Subaru . Some books, like Head First EJB, sell really well in comparison to most tech books, but will never get to a number like 30,000. We think the EJB book is a pretty good book, but the market just isn't that big

There are some books that we'd write if we won the lottery! For instance, we both really like J2ME, and we'd love to write about it, but we can't afford to spend 9 months on a book that will probably only sell 10,000 copies.

Again, Kathy and I have been VERY lucky, and we are making a living at being authors, but as most tech book authors would tell you, you have to be lucky to pull it off. We subscribe to several author's forums, and most tech book authors view writing books as only a portion of their job. Most authors supplement books with articles, consulting, etc.

I know I've been a bit vague, but maybe you'll find some clues in there.

Bert
 
Marcus Green
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Hmm, yes Kathy & Bert definitly got better deals than me . Plus they took the precaution of not signing up with a publisher about to go out of business (Coriolis).

Quote
Kathy and i have been VERY lucky with our books!
/Quote

Sarcasm
Yea, I notice all those reviews at Amazon and here that say Kathy and Bert are lucky rather than good
/Sarcasm

In my view Kathy and Bert both came up with a good idea and took risks (and pursuaded others to take risks). They ran a danger that people would avoid their books because of the humour, rather than appreciating that the humour and distractions are actually an aid to learning. But because of the underlying quality of the material and the fact that the "distractions" actually support the learning they get very good reviews. This is something that interests me as I recently completed a 2 year post graduate teaching qualification, which of course covered a lot of ideas and theories about learning.

Another factor is the good quality control as well, it is very, very hard to get technical books accurate, partly because stuff easily gets mangled in the production process. Which reminds me of a question for K & B, do you do your own indexing?

I make a modest living by combining selling access to certification question databases, runnning online courses and selling PDF files. If you buy one of my pdf's for US$15 I get US12 but I am more likely to sell hundreds per year than thousands.
[ July 14, 2006: Message edited by: Marcus Green ]
 
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Thanks Bert and Marcus, for your honest views.

And, I hope, Cathy and Bert, get to write the J2ME book soon.
 
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Originally posted by Bert Bates:


There are some books that we'd write if we won the lottery! For instance, we both really like J2ME, and we'd love to write about it, but we can't afford to spend 9 months on a book that will probably only sell 10,000 copies.



I'll pray for you to win
 
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