I am thinking of writing technical books (e.g. java books).
I think there are a lot of topnotch authors here.
Can you give me an advice on where to start?
I am an expert technically on the subject matter, but has never written anything, not even a blog or a school article. What I have is the 'drive' and 'dedication' to do it now (I hope that is enough ).
Are those books on 'technical wrting' of different species from technical books that we are talking about here?
What books are competitors to it and how will yours be better.
You need a fully detailed TOC [needs estimated page count for each section]
you should do a sample chapter.
After that you need to fill out forms for publishers so they can rip you a new one.
Anyone can be an author, it is hard to be a good author.
Your drive and dedication will screech to a halt once you realize it is not as easy as just opening up word and typing.
It also gets you known in the author community so they can recommend you when a need arises (thanks yet again, Eric).
Bear, do you have any other blogs or sites you would recommend writting to that would generate publisher attention?
So I agree that you need to take a look at what's already out there and figure out what you'll be offering that's significantly new.
I think I will do reach that 'screetch to a halt' thing, but I will pursue.
At the worst, I wont lose anything (other than idle time), by continuing with this project, with or without a publisher (self-publish at the worst), for obvious reasons, to name a few:
1. the book can be used for future reference to publishers
2. it will make me learn how to write better.
Nothing beats self resolution I guess ('I can do it').
Jesus Angeles wrote: (btw I saw a lot of you acknowledged by Scott there).
I'd like to thank Bert Bates, William Brogden, Ernest Friedman-Hill, Andrew Monkhouse, Ilja Preuss, Pramod Sadalage, and Henry Wong for their input into helping me improve this article.
Wow. Did he have a discussion here? All moderators except Pramod Sadalage.
Bert Bates wrote:
Also, I know from personal experience that ranchers make really great technical reviewers, and for sure it's a good thing to get reviewers involved early and often.
That will be nice (if the book gets reviewed here), Bert.
Can I ask you dear authors on any advice on how to get into technical book writing, in the view of taking it as a long-term interest (career)?
Did you just grow into it, as you wrote for school, technical websites, etc.? Or including to that, you took or read some training/school course/book? Is there any step that you think is vital, in addition to getting exposed by writing for websites, and journals (e.g. a school course)?
I will appreciate it.
Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:Them editor folks kin help you out with stringin' together high-falutin' words, too.
As well as reeling you in when you use too many of them!
Seriously, an English degree is hardly necessary. I did embarrassingly poor on the Verbal section of the SATs (yes, they had SATs back when I was a yung'on), but people still seem to like my writing style.
Clarity is what is most important.
How many books have you read that were grammatically correct, but peas-poor when it comes to explaining stuff? I've read far too many myself!
Nothing is more annoying that technical material written in "sloppy", but correct grammar and style, in my opinion.
Do I detect hackles? No need.
James Clark wrote:Nothing is more annoying that technical material written in "sloppy", but correct grammar and style, in my opinion.
I said nothing about "sloppy". Just pointing out that one does not need a degree in English grammar to write well.
Again, it's all about clarity. "Sloppy" is rarely clear.
English degree's cover more than just "grammar" however. They include writing style, analytical thinking, and language skills needed to communicate effectively.
Clarity is good, accuracy essential, grammar useful...
All of that assumes an interested brain, and IMHO that's a huge and inappropriate assumption. Our dear readers' minds might be interested in our topic, but their brains are almost certainly not. So, in addition to all the standard stuff you might expect to hear about authoring, I want to add...
write for their brains!
Bert Bates wrote:arrant?
Yeah... I figured I'd partake in some meta-pedantry.
"Errant" means "guilty" or "unruly" etc., "arrant" means "blatant", "total", etc. Lots of people say "errant pedantry" when they mean "arrant pedantry"; there's even a blog
I'm going to go put on my Battlestar Grammatica shirt now.
Dave "bad grammar makes me [sic]" Newton