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How To Get Published    Technical Subjects    Isaca Presentation July 2009

How To Get Published Technical Subjects Isaca Presentation July 2009



Practical Advice for would-be authors who want to publish technical material. The examples relate to IT and auditing but could be applied to any non-fiction topic.

Practical Advice for would-be authors who want to publish technical material. The examples relate to IT and auditing but could be applied to any non-fiction topic.



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    How To Get Published    Technical Subjects    Isaca Presentation July 2009 How To Get Published Technical Subjects Isaca Presentation July 2009 Presentation Transcript

    • Getting Published It’s not as hard as you think …..
    • Why your chances of getting published are good • Success in fiction is more or less like winning the lottery • Non-fiction is not as sexy but is the mainstay of publishers like Wiley, CRC Press, McGraw-Hill, etc. • Publishers need SMEs who will deliver readable, organized text
    • Qualifications • Have you written a report intended for senior (non-IT) management? • Can you write an outline? • Can you envision a reader who is – Interested but tired? – Low on energy? – Reading in an easy chair after a stressful day? • Can you envision a reader who is completely NEW to your subject?
    • Misconceptions • Ever look at a huge book and think “That writer must be incredibly smart …..”? • After writing a book, you know the truth …. he or she may be smart, but did not start out with that much knowledge • The ‘smarts’ of a book are developed as you go!!!
    • Starting small • Articles are a good way to get started, build confidence and show potential publishers you can deliver a finished product. • Aim narrow. Use facts, figures, tables • Journals do not have to be specifically targeted towards IT Audit
    • Pick a topic, develop a quick outline & then get started …
    • Book proposal
    • Example timeline
    • A few paragraphs from a publishing contract
    • Royalties & cash advance • Most publishers provide a cash advance after receipt of final manuscript • Royalties vary from 10% to 15% if sales are very high • Some publishers, such as CRC Press, provide statements twice a year • Technical books sell well when new, decline exponentially over time • A typical cash advance would be $2-$4K but can vary by publisher
    • Co-authoring • A co-author is still an author • Every co-authored book needs to have a “style dictator” – avoid multiple writing styles in same book • Co-authoring is a great way to get a true SME published and help yourself at the same time • The one who does the most work should get the most money (specified in the contract)
    • How to make editors love you • Do their work for them – polish, condense, organize, check references, make sure art work (and text for that matter) fits the STYLE of the publication • Think of editors/publishers as harassed people: underpaid, overworked. Keep emails short, always positive • Assume things will go wrong – follow-up, send two copies of DVD, etc.
    • Correctness • Technical books are sold internationally (about 1/3 of sales for my books) • Watch colloquialisms, regional phrases and slang • Avoid anything, anything at all, that smacks of racism, sexism, politics and generalizations about people • Example: Draft of book cover had two men in front, two women in back. Dumb. Not only gives the wrong impression, but hurts sales
    • How to look like an amateur • Write Copyright © John Doe on draft submissions to a publisher • Use a lot of fancy graphics/fonts in your MS Word document (it all gets reformatted!) • Bug your editor about timelines, sales, etc.
    • Mechanics • Sentence length < 20 words on average • Learn Word 2007 reference features – saves time • Use Word’s H1, H2, H3 heading structure • Sympathy for the reader: bullets, headings, pictures, quotes, side notes. Pure, unbroken and lengthy text is tedious, old timey and shouts “I don’t care”
    • More mechanics – Excel 2007
    • Do little things matter? Eats Shoots and Leaves vs. Eats, Shoots and Leaves
    • Get a high speed scanner
    • Mind maps (example: PMO chapter)
    • Permissions • You can quote somewhere between 50 & 400 words without permission (get guidelines from your editor) • Use of copied graphics must be by permission. Sometimes owners can be GREEDY • Pure ideas cannot be copyrighted. (e.g., who owns the idea that users need to be involved in the SDLC?). But footnote as professional courtesy
    • Interviews • Great way to get high caliber people into your book • Record the conversation (ask first) • Send questions/topics well in advance • Polish the text and let them review the transcript • Ask for their resume/bio and put short form in book
    • Miscellaneous techniques to get to the finish line • Keep notebook – write down every idea, scan every article, jot down every comment (no one can keep a book’s contents in wetware memory) • Use “pseudo book” technique to get up to speed in topical areas • Write when you feel good, write when you feel bad. You cannot afford to stop and then make up time when you feel like writing • Never underestimate the power of our friend Mr. Google
    • Self publishing • Pros – No barriers to publication – Higher royalties per book – Freedom to be “creative” – Modern self publishing requires virtually no upfront investment (e.g., Amazon’s createspace, lulu.com) – Finally gaining acceptance (well, maybe grudging acceptance) in professional circles
    • Self publishing • Cons – Your fine prose gets comingled with some pretty crummy stuff (remember, there is no gatekeeper) – No hard nosed editor to ask you why you said something that does not make sense – Marketing is on your nickel – May miss the academic market (some universities will buy a copy of every new book in a technical area, so long as it is published by a mainstream publisher
    • Conclusion • You can write a book or article • It is more fun to talk about doing it than actually doing it • It will help your career by showing that you can write, you have ideas and you have initiative • With all your earnings, you can visit two flags over Humble
    • Thank you for your time (and again …. You can do it!) Bill Yarberry ICCM Consulting byarberry@iccmconsulting.net