McGraw-Hill Author Workshop, 23rd
August 2014, CBE
How to write your
first (technical) book
Ganesh Samarthyam!
Author, cor...
Can I write a book?
If you can write, you're an author!
Just like Nike’s mission statement - every one is an author!
If she can, you can
If she can
write, you can write
too!
If I can, so you can
If I can, you can
write too!
I am second from left (wearing glasses)
Deep C, S G Ganesh, BPB Publicat...
But “why should I write a book”?
Get known
❖ Visibility!
❖ Credibility!
❖ Respect !
❖ …
Learn & gain expertise
❖ Gain in-depth knowledge !
❖ Become an expert!
❖ Have fun learning new things!
❖ …
Earn some extra income
❖ Regular royalty income !
❖ Tax free returns (up to 3 lakhs)!
❖ Secondary income (i.e., salary++)!...
Get a sense of achievement
❖ Way to express your passion!
❖ Sense of achieving a concrete
result/milestone !
❖ Leave a leg...
The writing process
Hmm, okay, but how to write the book?
'Begin at the beginning, the
King said, very gravely, and
go on till you come to the...
Step #1: Get a book idea
Your !
interests
Your !
skills
Market !
need
Ideal book topic
E.g.: Java, Smalltalk, Ruby,
Python...
Step #2: Develop content
Create training programs
Write articles and blogs
Take notes when experimenting
Give talks or pre...
Step #3: Fill the book proposal form
BPF is sort of an “application”
Helps publishers decide on your
proposal
Iterate over...
Step #4: Contact an editor
Contact editor of the publisher you
are targeting
Check linkedin, publisher website,
etc for co...
Step #5: Sign contract & follow prod. process
Sign the contract
Deliver the draft
Support copyediting
Proof-read pages
Sup...
Step #6: Celebrate the success
May sound cheesy, but
this is the best part of writing
a book - getting it out in the
marke...
Step #7: Aggressively promote the book
Request online reviews (e.g., amazon.com)
Reach out to potential bulk
purchasers (e...
Parts of the book
Anatomy of a book
❖ Title!
❖ Dedication!
❖ Table of contents!
❖ List of illustrations, tables, etc !
❖ Foreword!
❖ Preface...
Title should reflect
the book’s content
Tip: If possible, make it catchy (or
“remarkable”)
Dedication: A way to
say thanks
Tip: It need not be serious
Joseph J. Rotman, ‘An Introduction To Algebraic Topology’
Acknowledgements:
Another way to say thanks
Tip: Make sure you thank each and
everyone who has contributed to the
book (ev...
Front cover is the face of
the book - make sure it
looks good
Collage of diagrams from our book!
Thanks to: Tushar Sharma
...
Book writing: facts and fallacies
Fact or fallacy?
You must be a born writer
to write a book
Of course, anyone can write a
book!
Fact or fallacy?
You can become super
rich by writing a book
There are of course exceptions
(e.g., J K Rowling) !
"
In gen...
Fact or fallacy?
There is NO “one-right-
way” to write a book
Yes, there is no such thing as
“one-right-way” to write a bo...
Different approaches to book writing
Start from the first chapter
Take random notes and later ”stitch” them
together
Work i...
Fact or fallacy?
You need to actively
promote your book
As an author, your work does
not stop with writing !
"
You need to...
Fact or fallacy?
You need to learn to use
specialised writing tools
before you write a book
MS Word is more than enough
fo...
Tips for writing
Tip #1
Plan ahead and allocate
time to write your book
Rule of thumb: it takes 2X
time/effort to complete
writing your boo...
Tip #2
It takes a team to write a
book - so find co-author(s)
It could get lonely to write a book !
"
There are always exc...
Tip #3
Be prepared for rejections
- just move along!
J K Rowlings’ Harry Potter was
rejected by 12 publishers!
"
Agatha Ch...
Tip #4
Choose a topic that you are
good at + passionate about
Just because you are good at
something doesn't mean you shou...
Tip #5
Write a book that is
“useful”, “helps” people,
or makes a contribution
It could be teaching
programming, a cook boo...
Tip #6
Make sure there is an USP
(Unique Selling
Proposition) for the book
It could be the first book in the
market, only b...
Tip #7
Organise your thoughts using
“mind-map” tools (and other
available tools for writing)
“Mind maps” are especially
ef...
An example
Mind map created for our book “Refactoring for Software Design Smells” !
Thanks to: Tushar Sharma
So, what are you waiting for?
Get, set, …. go!
“Dash Parr” (in the movie Incredibles) started running like crazy once he discovered he could run
That’s how I did too
Once my self-doubt got cleared, I also started running
If you can write, you’re an author!
Just as Remy gets to become a cook by believing in “anyone can cook”
You can write too!
ganesh.samarthyam@gmail.com
@GSamarthyam
http://bit.ly/sgganesh
Ganesh Samarthyam
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How to write your first (technical) book

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Anyone can write and everyone is an author! This presentation gives you an overview of how you can get started and write your first book. This presentation is written with first-time authors in mind with main focus on writing a technical book.

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How to write your first (technical) book

  1. 1. McGraw-Hill Author Workshop, 23rd August 2014, CBE How to write your first (technical) book Ganesh Samarthyam! Author, corporate trainer, and independent consultant
  2. 2. Can I write a book?
  3. 3. If you can write, you're an author! Just like Nike’s mission statement - every one is an author!
  4. 4. If she can, you can If she can write, you can write too!
  5. 5. If I can, so you can If I can, you can write too! I am second from left (wearing glasses) Deep C, S G Ganesh, BPB Publications, 2002! http://amzn.com/8176565016
  6. 6. But “why should I write a book”?
  7. 7. Get known ❖ Visibility! ❖ Credibility! ❖ Respect ! ❖ …
  8. 8. Learn & gain expertise ❖ Gain in-depth knowledge ! ❖ Become an expert! ❖ Have fun learning new things! ❖ …
  9. 9. Earn some extra income ❖ Regular royalty income ! ❖ Tax free returns (up to 3 lakhs)! ❖ Secondary income (i.e., salary++)! ❖ …
  10. 10. Get a sense of achievement ❖ Way to express your passion! ❖ Sense of achieving a concrete result/milestone ! ❖ Leave a legacy (i.e., make your mom proud)! ❖ …
  11. 11. The writing process
  12. 12. Hmm, okay, but how to write the book? 'Begin at the beginning, the King said, very gravely, and go on till you come to the end: then stop.' Quote from “Alice in the Wonderland”
  13. 13. Step #1: Get a book idea Your ! interests Your ! skills Market ! need Ideal book topic E.g.: Java, Smalltalk, Ruby, Python, C, C++, Scala, Swift, Objective-C, … E.g.: Mobile app development, iOS/ Mac OS, Game development, … E.g.: Certifications, Apple products, Job search, … Developing games in Swift
  14. 14. Step #2: Develop content Create training programs Write articles and blogs Take notes when experimenting Give talks or presentations …
  15. 15. Step #3: Fill the book proposal form BPF is sort of an “application” Helps publishers decide on your proposal Iterate over several times to refine it Remember: This is the key step in publication process https://www.mheducation.co.in/downloads/assets/Book%20Proposal%20Form.pdf
  16. 16. Step #4: Contact an editor Contact editor of the publisher you are targeting Check linkedin, publisher website, etc for contact details Send sample chapters + BPF Talk to the editor (over phone/email) to improve the proposal …
  17. 17. Step #5: Sign contract & follow prod. process Sign the contract Deliver the draft Support copyediting Proof-read pages Support production Check the terms before signing the contract Stick to the committed schedule and deliver the draft manuscript “Developmental edit” may happen if writing needs much improvement Check if editorial changes are fine and “sign-off” (next step will be creating “camera ready” copy) Finalise “cover page design”, sign copyright documents, etc.
  18. 18. Step #6: Celebrate the success May sound cheesy, but this is the best part of writing a book - getting it out in the market. Celebrate.
  19. 19. Step #7: Aggressively promote the book Request online reviews (e.g., amazon.com) Reach out to potential bulk purchasers (e.g., libraries, training institutes) Reach out to your readers (e.g., write articles, speak in conferences) Promote your book online (e.g., search engine optimisation, create website, blog, tweet, …) Relax: Its okay to “blow your own horn” once in a while
  20. 20. Parts of the book
  21. 21. Anatomy of a book ❖ Title! ❖ Dedication! ❖ Table of contents! ❖ List of illustrations, tables, etc ! ❖ Foreword! ❖ Preface! ❖ Acknowledgements! ❖ Chapters! ❖ Appendices! ❖ Bibliography/references! ❖ Index ⎬Frontmatter ⎬ Backmatter
  22. 22. Title should reflect the book’s content Tip: If possible, make it catchy (or “remarkable”)
  23. 23. Dedication: A way to say thanks Tip: It need not be serious Joseph J. Rotman, ‘An Introduction To Algebraic Topology’
  24. 24. Acknowledgements: Another way to say thanks Tip: Make sure you thank each and everyone who has contributed to the book (even in a small way) C.S. Lewis, ‘The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe’
  25. 25. Front cover is the face of the book - make sure it looks good Collage of diagrams from our book! Thanks to: Tushar Sharma Tip: See if you can add a “personal touch” to it
  26. 26. Book writing: facts and fallacies
  27. 27. Fact or fallacy? You must be a born writer to write a book Of course, anyone can write a book!
  28. 28. Fact or fallacy? You can become super rich by writing a book There are of course exceptions (e.g., J K Rowling) ! " In general: Yes, you can make money, but not get rich by writing a book
  29. 29. Fact or fallacy? There is NO “one-right- way” to write a book Yes, there is no such thing as “one-right-way” to write a book! " There are different ways to write a book - find what works for you and stick to it
  30. 30. Different approaches to book writing Start from the first chapter Take random notes and later ”stitch” them together Work in a quite place for days together No dedicated time - write whenever there is some free time Directly type in a word processor Write it in a notebook and then type it in a word processor Directly write it in the book format Create presentations or write articles and later convert into book Get acceptance from publisher and then start working on the contents Complete the draft and then reach out to the publishers There is no “one way” to develop content - find what works for you and stick to it
  31. 31. Fact or fallacy? You need to actively promote your book As an author, your work does not stop with writing ! " You need to aggressively promote and market your book
  32. 32. Fact or fallacy? You need to learn to use specialised writing tools before you write a book MS Word is more than enough for writing ! " [You can learn to use specialised tools as you gain more experience]
  33. 33. Tips for writing
  34. 34. Tip #1 Plan ahead and allocate time to write your book Rule of thumb: it takes 2X time/effort to complete writing your book ! " [given X is your initial estimate for completing the book]
  35. 35. Tip #2 It takes a team to write a book - so find co-author(s) It could get lonely to write a book ! " There are always exceptions (e.g., D. Knuth) who can write tomes on their own, but in general, partner with right one(s)
  36. 36. Tip #3 Be prepared for rejections - just move along! J K Rowlings’ Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers! " Agatha Christie struggled for 5 years before landing her first publishing deal
  37. 37. Tip #4 Choose a topic that you are good at + passionate about Just because you are good at something doesn't mean you should write a book on that. ! " If you are not passionate about the topic, the challenging task of writing the book will wear you out!
  38. 38. Tip #5 Write a book that is “useful”, “helps” people, or makes a contribution It could be teaching programming, a cook book, or just a bunch of tips and techniques
  39. 39. Tip #6 Make sure there is an USP (Unique Selling Proposition) for the book It could be the first book in the market, only book for the subject, a novel approach to the topic, …
  40. 40. Tip #7 Organise your thoughts using “mind-map” tools (and other available tools for writing) “Mind maps” are especially effective in organising and stream-lining your thoughts ! " Find and use such tools (if it works for you)
  41. 41. An example Mind map created for our book “Refactoring for Software Design Smells” ! Thanks to: Tushar Sharma
  42. 42. So, what are you waiting for?
  43. 43. Get, set, …. go! “Dash Parr” (in the movie Incredibles) started running like crazy once he discovered he could run
  44. 44. That’s how I did too Once my self-doubt got cleared, I also started running
  45. 45. If you can write, you’re an author! Just as Remy gets to become a cook by believing in “anyone can cook”
  46. 46. You can write too!
  47. 47. ganesh.samarthyam@gmail.com @GSamarthyam http://bit.ly/sgganesh Ganesh Samarthyam

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