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Thread: Book Publishing

  1. #1
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    Book Publishing

    Howdy,
    I am looking to see if anyone here can give me some great guidance (hint hint - Woody and Ed). I have written a book and am looking for a publisher. I have researched several "self" publishing opportunities and am not confident in them. My mother-in-law is a writer but she and her agent only do fiction. This book is (tentatively) "The Non-Overclockers Handbook: A Beginners' guide to Tweaking and Optimizing Your PC". I have had it reviewed (edited) by several people and I am pretty confident with this version.
    I decided to look into the "Dummies" and "Idiots" series but they require agents, "O'Reilly" said that the book was not technical enough, they want books for the technically minded, and not beginner books for non techies. (I spoke with Tim er, Mr. O

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    Re: Book Publishing

    I'm not Woody or Ed but I will chime in here. You need to find some research sources for the computer book publishing industry--I write fiction and use the annual Writer's Handbook. There are others. Whether these mainstream resources cover technical publishing, I'm not sure. That would be a good first step to acquaint yourself a little more with how the publishing industry works.

    I think you will find with this kind of publishing that most of these books are sold before they're written. Before writing the entire book, you probably should've shopped around a proposal with a few sample chapters, maybe a prototype of the particular style or format of the book. There's no point in writing a specialist title if you can't sell it, really. While there is room for innovation in that niche, something tells me most of these authors are writing to a strict brief.

    Something else you might try before writing an entire book as well is trying to raise your profile in your chosen niche industry--this could be done with a web blog targeted toward the audience you're trying to reach, by getting some articles commissioned by publications--either in print or on the web--that would draw your intended audience, etc. Even some writing for local or metropolitan newspapers would be a great way to raise your profile as a technical guru of sorts.

    Woody and Ed can probably offer some advice about agents, etc., but I'm sure these resources are out there if you're truly serious about it. Also, you should get much more acquainted with the market--not only, is there a need for this title (your inclination to pitch to both Idiots and Dummies should tell you it's a little overcrowded--I mean, how many of those books do idiots and dummies actually buy? Do idiots and dummies really care about tweaking and optimising their PCs? I think they are more concerned with opening attachments--they are much more task oriented, with very little interest in the PC itself) but also, what publishers would consider such a title? O'Reilly is a very technical, hardcore, language-oriented publisher--so that was just a lack of research on your part. They're not going to publish idiot-proof manuals. Know you're market--though your proposal could be based purely on subject matter that you're passionate about (and that's certainly part of it), in commercial publishing, it also needs to be based on market need. What void is your book/proposal filling? In that niche, there's more to it than just the writing. It's about what sells. What user group is waiting for your book? What user group will part with their cash to buy your title? Writing the book is the last thing you should do. Sell it first.

    Hope that helps.

    S.O.

    P.S. If all else fails, get on the phone to the editor of your favourite computer book and ask them for advice. Don't be coy, try being direct, brief and to the point. You might get some ideas from them--don't ask them for the whole story, just a list of useful resources for your further research will do. Maybe ask them about whether representation is necessary (a lawyer most certainly would be). Also, these books are full of e-mail addresses for authors and publishers--maybe send a brief e-mail to them and ask for advice but save the bio and get to the point. You stand a better chance of a response that way, if any. Good luck. S.O.

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    Re: Book Publishing

    Yes, I understand the "getting your name out". I currently write a weekly column on optimizing your computer and the occasional virus/worm warning. I do also go around town giving lectures at different places as well as teach on computer topics (and what I have written the book on) at a local college.
    I did shop around for publishers, that is where O'Riellys and several "self publishing" companies came in, all expressed interest up front.
    The Writers Handbook that you refer too may be the type of source I am looking for. I have searched the internet and scanned dozens of web sites looking for direction, guidance and help only to find shameless self promotion or "blah blah blah".
    The Dummies and Idiots series are for beginners and not true Dummies or Idiots, just like the Sam's Teach Yourself xxx in 24 hours books.

    The niche may or may not be there, I wrote this book because literally everyone I have lectured in front of over the last 2 years has requested just such a book (part of all of my lectures is in the book).
    I don't cover "Optimizing XP" in an entire book, I cover Window 95 to XP in different sections and Chapters, I cover hardware, software, freeware, cleaning et al. The books on "marinating" or "optimizing" that I have seen cover only one of these topics, that is where I feel my book would excel.
    I am going to give your advice to call the publisher of my favorite books a call (Que by the way), so I really appreciate that bit of advice.

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    Re: Book Publishing

    This National Writers Union sponsored seminar report on self-publishing is posted at http://www.WriterAsPublisher-Florida.com/ . The site will be removed in a few days because it has been up "long enough for anyone interested to access it." The site offers free templates for web sites "to Build Your Own Publishing Site!". Here is some info:

    "Learn how to publish and distribute your books, articles, essays, poems, music, software, and more...

    " Self-publishing: Book + 4-CD Set
    "Fourteen experts in self-publishing talk about the state of the industry, the opportunities for self-publishing, the reality of publishing your own books, how to write and publish your books, and how to distribute your book online. Two additional panels with nationally recognized poets and award-winning writers debate their experiences in self-publishing. Selected questions-and-answers with the audience are included. Read more about the speakers.

    "The book includes a step-by-step guide to building your website to sell your books online and accept credit card payments. Read more about the book and CDs.

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