July 10, 2012
If I had to make a list of the top 10 things I've done in my life that I regret, "writing a book" would definitely be on it. I took on the book project mostly because it was an opportunity to work with a few friends whose company I enjoy. I had no illusions going in about the rapidly diminishing value of technical books in an era of pervasive high speed Internet access, and the book writing process only reinforced those feelings.
In short, do not write a book. You'll put in mountains of effort for precious little reward, tangible or intangible. In the end, all you will have to show for it is an out-of-print dead tree tombstone. The only people who will be impressed by that are the clueless and the irrelevant.
As I see it, for the kind of technical content we're talking about, the online world of bits completely trumps the offline world of atoms:
- It's forever searchable.
- You, not your publisher, will own it.
- It's instantly available to anyone, anywhere in the world.
- It can be cut and pasted; it can be downloaded; it can even be interactive.
- It can potentially generate ad revenue for you in perpetuity.
And here's the best part: you can always opt to create a print version of your online content, and instantly get the best of both worlds. But it only makes sense in that order. Writing a book may seem like a worthy goal, but your time will be better spent channeling the massive effort of a book into creating content online. Every weakness I listed above completely melts away if you redirect your effort away from dead trees and spend it on growing a living, breathing website presence online.
A few weeks ago, Hyperink approached me with a concept of packaging the more popular entries on Coding Horror, its "greatest hits" if you will, into an eBook. They seemed to have a good track record doing this with other established bloggers, and I figured it was time to finally practice what I've been preaching all these years. So you can now download Effective Programming: More Than Writing Code for an introductory price of $2.99. It's available in Kindle, iPad, Nook, and PDF formats.
(As of March 2013, the first book was apparently popular enough to warrant a second volume, How to Stop Sucking and Be Awesome Instead)
I've written about the ongoing tension between bits and atoms recently, and I want to be clear: I am a fan of books. I'm just not necessarily a fan of writing them. I remain deeply cynical about current book publishing models, which feel fundamentally broken to me. No matter the price of the book, outside of J.K. Rowling, you're basically buying the author a drink.
As the author, you can expect to make about a dollar on every copy that sells. The publisher makes several times that, so they make a nice profit with as few as, say, five thousand copies sold. Books that sell ten or fifteen thousand are rare, and considered strong sellers. So let's say you strike gold. After working on your book for a year or more, are you going to be happy with a payday of ten to fifteen grand?
Incidentally, don't expect your royalty check right away. The publisher gets paid first, by the bookstores, and the publisher may then hold on to your money for several months before they part with any of it. Yes, this is legal: it's in the publisher's contract. Not getting paid may be a bummer for you, but it's a great deal for the publisher, since they make interest on the float (all the money they owe to their authors) - which is another profit stream. They'll claim one reason for the delay is the sheer administrative challenge of cutting a check within three months (so many authors to keep track of! so many payments!)... a less ridiculous reason is that they have to wait to see whether bookstores are going to return unsold copies of your book for a full refund.
Tellingly, John's second book seems permanently unfinished. It's been listed as "in progress" since 2008. Can't say I blame him. (Update: John explains.)
When I buy books, I want most of that money to go to the author, not the publishing middlemen. I'd like to see a world where books are distributed electronically for very little cost, and almost all the profits go directly to the author. I'm not optimistic this will happen any time soon.
I admire people willing to write books, but I honestly think you have to be a little bit crazy to sit down and pound out an entire book these days. I believe smaller units of work are more realistic for most folks. I had an epic email discussion with Scott Meyers about the merits of technical book publishing versus blogging in 2008, and I don't think either of us budged from our initial positions. But he did launch a blog to document some of his thoughts on the matter, which ended with this post:
My longer-term goal was to engage in a dialogue with people interested in the production of fast software systems such that I could do a better job with the content of [my upcoming book]. Doing that, however, requires that I write up reasonable initial blog posts to spur discussion, and I've found that this is not something I enjoy. To be honest, I view it as overhead. Given a choice between doing background research to learn more about a topic (typically reading something, but possibly also viewing a technical presentation, listening to a technical podcast, or exchanging email with a technical expert) or writing up a blog entry to open discussion, I find myself almost invariably doing the research. One reason for this is that I feel obliged to have done some research before I post, anyway, and I typically find that once I'm done with the research, writing something up as a standalone blog entry is an enterprise that consumes more time than I'm willing to give it. It's typically easier to write the result up in the form of a technical presentation, then give the presentation and get feedback that way.
Overhead? I find this attitude perplexing; the research step is indeed critical, but no less important than writing up your results as a coherent blog entry. If you can't explain the results of your research to others, in writing, in a way they can understand, you don't understand it. And if you aren't willing to publish your research in the form of a simple web page that anyone in the world can visit and potentially learn from, why did you bother doing that research in the first place? Are you really maximizing the value of your keystrokes?
More selfishly, you should always finish by writing up your results purely for your own self-improvement, if nothing else. As Steve Yegge once said: "I have many of my best ideas and insights while blogging." Then you can take all that published writing, fold in feedback and comments from the community, add some editorial embellishment on top, and voilà – you have a great book.
Of course, there's no getting around the fact that writing is just plain hard. Seth Godin's advice for authors still stands:
Lower your expectations. The happiest authors are the ones that don't expect much.
Which, I think, is also good life advice in general. Maybe the easiest way to lower your expectations as an author is by attempting to write one or two blog entries a week, keep going as long as you can, and see where that takes you.
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Posted by Jeff Atwood
"Lower your expectations..."
Where have I heard that before?
Oh yeah, dating.
Sounds exactly like what the Domino project is doing. They're trying to cut out the middle man and make it easier for anyone to self-publish http://www.thedominoproject.com/
Great post! I have been thinking about writing a book too, but the same facts that you comment (and also the fear that noone would read it!) stopped me.
Some people say "Think big!", what it is clearly the opposite of "lower your expectations". It is hard to find the balance between too low and too big expectations, but you will hardly become a so best-seller author as JK Rowling.
I think that I'm lucky to have The Pragmatic Programmers as a publisher - from the (very little) knowledge I have about these things, I believe that they treat their authors rather better than most.
Nevertheless, I've certainly not made a pile of cash out of Debug It!. If you look at the time it took, then the hourly rate sucks. But money isn't the only reason for writing a book, and I suspect that it's a case of horses for courses. Some people find blogging more natural, others prefer books. Certainly I know that I prefer reading a book to reading a blog.
I'm not sure if this was your intention, but your article reads as a recommendation to blog instead of write a book. If you don't mind me asking, how effectively can one monetise a blog? Does your hourly rate for writing this blog work out any better than it would for writing a book?
I have to say, I think that O'Reilly has been an incredible publisher, and I actually don't begrudge them their share of the sales of my book. I think probably this is also helped by the fact that my royalties are much better on eBook sales than on paper-book sales, and eBooks seem to outsell paper books for my category (software design) by a factor of somewhere around 100. But beyond just the royalties, my editor's contributions were invaluable (and I usually hate editors), the copyeditor was amazing, the various communication and marketing channels they provide are pretty great, and they're overall fantastic people to work with.
I found the book format useful for communicating the entirety of a logically-sequential series of ideas larger than a single blog post and with a flow between them. So I do think there's some value there, although I do agree that blogs are way more useful for communicating medium-sized ideas quickly and usefully.
"When I buy books, I want most of that money to go to the author, not the publishing middlemen. I'd like to see a world where books are distributed electronically for very little cost, and almost all the profits go directly to the author. I'm not optimistic this will happen any time soon."
Publishers don't make massive amounts of money per book, in fact most make a loss. Whereas I also firmly believe that it is the artist who deserves the biggest reward from his work - and this goes for all art forms, for those of you who also use Spotify etc - it is wrong to say that what they don't get goes to the publisher. Electronic distribution, and the process in design and compiling a high quality product, has only slightly less costs per unit, it's just that you can't 'see' them. And Amazon quite often take a fair chunk, too. Apart from that, I think there's plenty of interesting ideas in this piece.
I agree with Mike; most publishers these days don't make a ton of cash off books either. This is mostly due to the deep discounts that stores (physical and virtual) force on the publisher to ensure the book is stocked (I've heard of discounts up to 80%). So that $30 book? The store is paying $15 max, probably nearer $10, possibly less. Add on returns (it's a sale-or-return business), printing costs, etc, and you can see there's not so much revenue for anyone. Royalty percentages from digital media should be way higher and if they aren't, then the contract needs looking at.
Bought a copy because I like the concept and it was very reasonably priced.
Sad but true. I've mostly given up writing books these days in favour of doing a "proper" job as I wasn't making enough to live comfortably on. These days I update my "core technology" books with new versions of .NET and that's all. At least those sell more than a dozen or so.
I remember hearing the best book ever written has never been published, because it would be so short no publisher would ever print it. Thanks for making this available.
What a pitty Amazon does not sell your ebook to European customers :(
Great post, I agree that if you look at writing a book based purely on the economics then you may as well do something else. I have a book about to be published with Apress (Objective-C Recipes) and I anticipate a profit of $15,000 over two years at best (based on data like yours which agrees with what I've found myself). This is for something like 9 months of half-time work on the project.
That works out to something like $20 per hour - of course, consulting or doing almost anything else would be a better investment.
That being said, the reason to write a book is to establish more credibly (perhaps more so in older demographics). So, my hope is that in the "back-end" the effort will pay off by getting more consulting opportunities, more chances to do trainings or maybe a lead for a great partner ship.
It all depends on whether you see a book as a means or an end. As an end, writing a book sucks. As a means to better things my hope is that it's a +.
Now that there is a digital copy, I kind of want a print one.
Unfortunately, the website has a bug when checking out. If you select New customer and paypal as the payment type, then it gives you a validation error asking you to enter your email, but there is not field to enter your email. So I gave up.
I been successful selling roleplaying books using print on demand. Made about $2,000 in one year dealing with a very small niche market.
You have one of the prerequisites to self publish which is a widely read blog/column for advertising your book. However the remaining stumbling block are lining up editing, art, and layout. If a programmer can put it all together (writing, advertising, editing, art, and layout) then self-publish earns as much if not more than going through a traditional publisher. And you retain the full rights to your book along.
It not free money and it is work. It is an reasonable alternative path that authors can now take due to changes in technology.
John sold 166 ebooks based on the invoice. When both electronic and physical media were available, the electronic sales were only 10% of the physical sales. I wonder if that is a typical breakdown for programming books? Had he avoided publishing in the traditional manner, do you think his net would have been better? I prefer atoms when reading on programming subjects particularly those that serve as a reference. It appears others might as well. Traditional publishing models do appear to limit the authors fair share of income but not having atoms available could be more limiting to your reward.
A good publisher is doing a lot more for their authors than acting as a distribution middle man. The publisher should help the author shape and refine their idea, approach, and content. The publisher will make a large investment in technical editing, development editing, copy editing, layout, proofreading, indexing - all things readers find valuable. The publisher will make a large investment in printing books and producing 3 or more digital formats (which also need proofreading and maintenance). The publisher often makes a large investment in sending review copies to instructors or user groups. The publisher often has a translations group who either produces or licenses foreign language translations. The publisher may have a sales group selling to training companies, corporate users, and schools of all types. All of these things cost money. The author is investing time and mostly looking at the opportunity cost of writing versus other investments with that time. The publisher is making a large up-front investment of cash counting on a return from the book. That's the author-publisher partnership. Mike, Dave, and others commenting on this have made some excellent points along these lines.
Jeff's got some very good points that the current publishing model is less than perfect. But it's also going through a lot of changes and improving. I talk to more authors who have self-published and advise against it though from a time investment standpoint than I have talked to who share Jeff's opinion.
Marcher Lord Press, a publisher in the Christian fiction market, has been addressing some of these very issues. One thing when you are selected to publish with them is that you get no advance, but the royalty (once print-out is met which only takes a couple hundred sales on their model) is about 40% last time I checked. If your book sells for $15, then once expenses are met, you get $6 of that. Another just-starting publisher I am talking with is looking at a 60% cut for his authors. No advance, but a great cut.
Have one on me. :)
Your blog is a constant source of entertainment, information, and, at times, inspiration.
Thanks for continuing to suck less!
Thanks for putting an an eBook. I run engineering at htttp://benetech.org - a nonprofit software organization tackling global issues on literacy, human rights and the environment. Our largest project is http://bookshare.org - the worlds largest library (>150 titles) for people with print disabilities, such as vision impairments, dyslexia or cerebral palsy. Our books are free to qualified members due to an exemption in copyright law for people with print disabilities in the US and many other countries. We have over 200K qualified members many of which are students whose membership fee is funded by the US Department of Education. We have many software development books thanks to a partnership with O'Reilly. This is fantastic as software development is a great career for people with disabilities. Our prefered ingestion format from authors and publishers is EPUB. Would you release the EPUB to us, so we can add your book to our collection? You can reach me via gerardoc at Benetech (.org).
I face some of the same questions about the book I'm writing (history, not tech)...how do I expect to make any money off of it (I project it'll sell less than a thousand copies)? Why would I spend years of my life and a lot of my own money on something few people will read?
Truth is, I'm not in it for the money. I want to research the topic and write a book on it.
And, as I understand from other authors, any reason other than that for writing is probably the wrong reason.
Buying your eBook! You are a patron saint of so many developers. Your blog seem like the guiding star for so many frustrations I face while writing code. Thanks for the digital copy as I still stop myself from buying the print editions of your reading list. Waiting to buy a tablet to carry my library with me!
Your blog book is definitely like a gist of all those good software principles.
Jeff, even when it's completely contrary to your position reflected in your post, I have a book proposal for you :)
I was very pleased to see this post's title, but while I am happy to have a collection of your greatest hits in an eBook, I am still optimistic that one day you will have the inspiration and the will to document your experiences on StackOverflow and StackExchange. I know there's a collection of podcasts (which I have listened to, and enjoyed), but there's so much more that can be shared, there were several stages in the project, from boostrapping to VC founded, to major success. There are lot's of things that haven't been shared and, those kind of experiences are gold to anyone wanting to start a company.
I hope you will give this a thought.
Thanks for a beautiful blog.
@Bvoytko, thanks so much for the feedback! We'd love to help you get a copy of Jeff's book and are working towards resolving your Paypal issue as we speak! Thank you for alerting us of your problem. We'd love to speak with you and learn more about how we can help you out. At your convenience, please shoot me an email to mekhyperinkpresscom.
I wrote a book on Cheetah 3d (a fairly obscure 3d package) because it needed a decent manual. I did this knowing it had a small potential market. The difference here is that I published it electronically and sold it directly (via lulu.com, amazon, etc.) and it has netted me something like 1/3 my usual contracting rate so far and continues to generate revenue. Not bad, I think. The problem isn't books, but (a) how long it takes you to write them and (b) how much you get paid per copy sold ($12-18 for a $20 ebook in my case).
In short, the problem is using a publisher.
I have to disagree. There are circumstances where writing a tech book is the right thing to do. Not for the money, necessarily. It's a great experience to undergo admittedly is is kinda fun seeing your name on dead trees in a bookstore.
I've written a couple of tech books, mostly on Perl programming back in the early 2000's. Scott Meyers was one of my editors. It took nights and a few weekends over a summer to do the first edition but it's still paying off. I get a royalty check for between $80-160 every month since 2002 -- it doesn't pay the rent, but it's a nice dinner out. The books are also great during interviews as proof that I can express myself well, can work with deadlines, and am willing to take a chance.
> I do think there's some value there, although I do agree that blogs are way more useful for communicating medium-sized ideas quickly and usefully
I'd argue you can weave medium-sized ideas together pretty easily, though. Particularly if they've been vetted and shaped by community feedback.
> This is mostly due to the deep discounts that stores (physical and virtual) force on the publisher
Then we need new stores, or sell directly to me.
> So, my hope is that in the "back-end" the effort [of writing a book] will pay off by getting more consulting opportunities, more chances to do trainings or maybe a lead for a great partner ship.
I still maintain that same effort, if channeled into a series of blog entries, will produce better and longer-lasting results. And you can always package that into a book later, if you must.
> John sold 166 ebooks based on the invoice.
Yes, John's results are from 2007, so we'd get a very different result if he tried today. But you'll notice Mr. Resig has created zero technical books since the 2nd unfinished one in 2008. I'm pretty sure that's intentional.
I paid the same price as a flat white for a copy of your book. eBooks have put me off in the past, as their prices tend to be as much as, if not more than a print copy. Purchasing a book through Hyperlink was a nice experience - it was simple, requiring just my name and PayPal email address and the email notifications were friendly.
Don't make this eBook your first and last.
Intermediate and advanced books are a waste of time and trees. Beginner-level books, though, are a whole different ballgame.
Ebooks are great. I can put them in my phone, my Kindle. I can read them on my computer, search inside them... But I like to have printed books too. It's more comfortable, in some ways.
In fact, when the ebook version is cheap enough (and surely your one is), I prefer to buy both.
So, please, take a look at printing on demand services like Lulu.com.
I second the call for epub, but expect "buy you a beer" fairly soon.
I like the idea and wish you as many sales as possible, but I wonder what added value the book has that goes beyond the blog posts that one can read for free, including the comments that often bring additional insight as well?
Does it contain new, previously unpublished material? Or is purchasing the eBook simply a way for dedicated readers of the blog to show their appreciation?
@Mek - I got my issue resolved. I now have a copy of the book. Thanks. I look forward to reading it.
Shut up and take my money!
I've bought a lot of books. Never bought a blog. I don't pay $40+ a copy just so I can make sure the author get's a buck. If you don't think its worth $10, why should I waste my time reading it? As a professional, I should save that much time/money in Google searches alone.
This has nothing to do with whether technical paper books are still viable (although for non-references, I still prefer something I can browse at bed-time), but if you putting out a printed book, the publishers earn their keep.
I want most of that money to go to the author, not the publishing middlemen.
I have to say, this statement rankles me. The "middleman" is the one responsible for editing, typesetting, covers, cover quotes, publicity, selling into bookstores, accounting, printing, legal, distribution, and, of course, returns. More to the point, the author fronts his time, it's the publisher that fronts the 20-50K to actually get the book out the door and into hands of buyers that is taking the real risk. As a lover of books, you slight the people who make actual books possible.
However, despite the economic flaws there is some value to print that has to do with the permanence factor. Long form works are important and need to continue in some medium. That form forces a certain rigor and sustained thought missing from many shorter efforts (not so much yours which is why I love each post). Print publishers with their gamble of paper was quite useful for a long time. One publisher described the book process as "...a loan of production and promotion of your ideas." Given that view they needed to vet the author, the work, etc. to reduce risk and this often helped improve content quality greatly.
Unfortunately the speed of informational change, trying to be like the Web in paper, and simple economics have ended much of that. Today we are still transitioning between eras. The Web / ePub world simply lacks some of those useful controls of older print efforts, but I believe they will come eventually.
The future is still a bit murky on this topic of content, consumption and compensation. There are plenty of people within information publishing from newspapers to academic journals struggling with this. Tech book authors are just one part of a larger challenge to compensate and respect the toils of content experts for all their hard efforts with at least beer money!
Signing off with a simple thanks for your well considered thoughts in this post and many others. They are always welcome food for my brain!
@Tom West: by and large, "publishers" don't do any of those things. They hire them done. No major publisher does its own printing, as far as I know. Cover art (and sometimes even editing) is contracted out. Distribution is irrelevant for ebooks. You can upload a book to the Kindle store, the Nook store, and the iBookstore in 15 minutes.
WRT author advances, that's always struck me as being akin to a super-skeevy payday loan scheme -- one that demands the bulk of your paycheck in perpetuity.
It sounds like writing a book didn't work for you. But if you were to write the book yourself and sell it yourself to the people who know want it, then the story would be different.
Personally, I've sold a few hundred copies of Clean Ruby and I'm still working on it. I have no middleman aside from getdpd.com and that's just for the download service.
Hyperink approached you about this, but how much will you make? Couldn't you have done this yourself and had all the profits of your writing hit your own pocket?
How good is your Spanish? Check this project out: http://editorialorsai.com/ Orsai, sin nadie en el medio (Orsai, no one in the middle - no intermediates).
A great project aimed to connect both ends of the same string, producers and consumers. This case is about literature but I think could be easily ported to any other field depending only on the size of it's community.
Lulu.com currently gives another way for authors to publish their work, but is not quite the solution.
Couldn't agree more. I wrote a book and people seem amazed by it. I tell them all the time, the thing I learned from writing a book is "writing a book sucks."
Bought your book!
I recently finished a book on Fiddler (http://fiddlerbook.com); I ended up starting it years later that I might have but for your 2007 post "Don't buy this book." Sales have been slow but steady, and while it took 9 months of work, I'm glad I did it. A few "pluses" to book-writing:
First, it's something parents and other folks (your "clueless and irrelevant" category?) can tangibly hold and appreciate. It's probably the only way my grandmother will ever have any idea what the heck a "Fiddler Web Debugger" is and why someone might use one.
Second, it's tangible. Many people have contributed to Fiddler over the years, and I can inscribe a paperback copy and send it to them as a "Thank you." The fact that many of my recipients already bought the ebook is nice, but so far they've all been happy to get the inscribed "Dead Trees" version.
Third, writing a book makes you think very very hard about what you're writing about, and with a different mindset. The Fiddler book took quite a bit longer to write because I made hundreds of improvements to Fiddler while I was writing the book, *because* I was writing the book. Every time I thought of something interesting to explain, I began to explain it, then realized that whatever it was shouldn't have been so complicated in the first place, and I'd go fix Fiddler itself to avoid the problem. In other cases, explicitly writing out everything you can do with Fiddler made me recognize some important (and in hindsight, obvious) gaps, and go implement those features.
Fourth, I got to choose what to write about. Fiddler is insanely powerful, but after watching people "in the field" use it, it was plain that most of its functionality is completely unknown to the vast majority of users. While some users watch the videos and read the blog posts, it was clear that there are some number of folks for which a complete book with an end-to-end explanation of the tool is the best way to learn it.
Fifth, it gives you an appreciation for other authors that you may never get otherwise. Marathon runners probably have more respect for other marathon runners than the general public ever will, simply because they know how grueling it is to run 26.2 in a way that someone who hasn't never will. I think the same is probably true for book-writers.
From the financial point-of-view, it's true that authoring it wasn't a great use of my time. Having read a bunch of posts like yours and Resig's, I realized that going the traditional publisher route was a bad deal for both the reader and for me-- the Fiddler book would have been ~$30 and I'd see maybe two or three of that. Instead, I self-published on CreateSpace.com and Lulu.com. It's a better deal for the reader (the paperback is $18 and the ebook is $10) and it's a better deal for me (I get about $6 and $8 respectively). While a traditional publisher would have probably netted me an advance of a few thousand bucks (perhaps more than I'll make) I frankly prefer the "honesty" of being solely responsible for my book's sales, and the often happy feeling I get when I (obsessively?) check sales stats and found that I sold a handful more copies overnight.
@Tony Hursh: by and large, "publishers" don't do any of those things. They hire them done. What's the difference? Either they're doing it in-house or they're contracting out, and managing to ensure it's done right. Either way, it's paying out.
A paper book is an investment of perhaps $20+K on the part of the publisher with very little guarantee that it will pay out. Jeff's book cost him time with very little return, as is typical for most books. Think about how he'd feel if he'd been the publisher and lost $20-40K...
Now, the mechanics for e-books are quite different. There, the problem is that if you aren't already "famous" (for whatever value of famous is relevant to your book), you're probably looking at double digit sales of your e-book for presumably more work (writing the book as you would for the paper version + management) plus whatever it cost you for cover design, line editing, copy-editing, etc.
Distribution is irrelevant for ebooks. You can upload a book to the Kindle store, the Nook store, and the iBookstore in 15 minutes.
Gaah. I *hope* it's taking you 5-10 times longer and you're ensuring that each type of download works on a variety of platforms. Speaking from personal experience, if you don't buy your own book from each platform and try it on both Mac & PC & tablets, you're risking a horrible experience for your customers.
On behalf of e-book readers, please consider some level of professionalism. If your book isn't worth *you* spending a few thousand dollars of your time (and perhaps money), why inflict it on the rest of us?
WRT author advances, that's always struck me as being akin to a super-skeevy payday loan scheme -- one that demands the bulk of your paycheck in perpetuity.
BIG difference. If your book doesn't pay out, you're not on the hook for the rest of the advance. A publishing deal is a co-investment. The publisher is investing the thousands and you are investing your time. In this world, money is worth a lot more than time.
Given that publishers aren't making money hand over fist, I'd say that it likely that the balance is roughly right. (And yes, there are terrible publishers who do rip off authors. There are also authors who take the advance, but never produce a book. Neither define the industry.)
The best technical e-books are the ones that release corrections (updates) to the buyer for free. Unfortunately not many do that, but the ones that do have my loyalty and my money. Who wants to refer to an errata page? Not me.
Jeff you have my money. The format, content, and price of your book are just right. The only way it could be better is if HyperLink books would download directly to my Kindle instead of making me take extra manual steps to get it there. They should offer that option for all their .mobi books (and no, the books don't have to be sold through Amazon).
yes very true, it will be good if all the purchase money goes authors rather than publishers and middle men
I don't think any new author should "keep score" by the money he or she makes from writing. You don't make money from blogging either, so why do it? You do it for the fame, of course. I'm not talking about the ego rush you get when you realize that people are reading your stuff. If it's money you're after, then you do it to become known far and wide as "an expert" and to position yourself at or near the center of your chosen field. That's where the money comes into the equation. You write because you enjoy it and you want to gain credibility. The more people who think you're someone who knows something, the more you'll be invited to give talks, and the more jobs you'll be offered, because some clients prefer to send contracts only to the best in the business, and that usually means someone who writes about what they know. Napoleon once said, "Glory may be fleeting, but obscurity is forever."
The science fiction writer Cory Doctorow has some interesting things to say about writing for money, copyright, DRM and the shift of paper books to e-books were going through in this decade in his collection of essays (the old word for blog) called "Content." You can get it free in just about every e-book format in existence, and boy, will it make you think! You can get it at Doctorow's website URL: http://craphound.com/content/download/.
Dude - you're cool. Congratulations! Please take care of my boy, Jarrod.
Selecting some best posts and organizing them in chapters/sections and preparing a PDF out of them does worth $3 or even more. That's why I bought a copy. And I've read some really nice post that most probably I wouldn't encounter on the web site, since I'm a new follower of your blog. However I didn't like the PDF quality. Also the quoted passages which are in gray background on the blog are not even between double-quotes in the PDF. Since it is just copying and pasting, they could do a better job.
I just bought your book and it's pretty good. It starts with some cliches but becomes increasingly interesting. Thanks, it's a good read.
Nice to see you made a post about this, along with linking your previous "Books: Bits vs. Atoms" post.
The other week I had sent you a tweet asking you if you had any plans on selling your book in print in which you responded "not that I know of". I completely understand your reasoning for doing so. I love seeing content creators make the most from their work. Many forms of media (music, video, etc) are going through a transition where the middle man is starting to be cut out and creators are able to directly interact with the users, which is fantastic.
I spend hours on the computer everyday doing work, games, everything but reading. For some reason I can't sit and stare at my screen to read a book. I don't have a Kindle/iPad or anything similar (although I'm tempted more and more to buy one). Sometimes I just prefer the physical copy.
Others have suggestions printing the book. Maybe do a limited number of prints? I don't have any experience so I can't say how much profit you would make, if any.
Anyway, congratulations and good luck with your upcoming book.
Great initiative! I just bought a copy.
> I want most of that money to go to the author, not the publishing middlemen.
This is exactly what Amazon does through its Kindle Direct Publishing platform. You may want to check this out kdp.amazon.com.
They claim to pay as much as 70% Royalty.
Looks like converting Blog to Book is next big thing going to happen in online world. if fact regarding royalty is true, combined with low volume of technical title, not alternative. By the way title is nice Effective programming, similar to Josh's Big hit Effective Java, on Java programming.
That John Resig Example is enough to put anybody off going into publishing 3D
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It not free money and it is work. It is an reasonable alternative path that authors can now take due to changes in technology. モンクレール ダウン
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no more desktops, no more PC's. They want tablets that they can bring with them, that are completely wireless with a touch-screen and a nice bag to carry it in. So yeah, I can see how the PC is disappearing, becoming less and less interesting for the mundanes while the experts still need them. get facebook fans