Both Shelley and Simon pointed to Baron Schwartz’s What is it like to write a technical book?, so I thought I’d check it out. It’s interesting reading, as is the complementary piece by Andy Oram (his editor), O’Reilly Author and Editor Air Concerns on Industry Pressures.
A big problem I have with these sort of blog posts, though, is that too many of them (John Resig’s Programming Book Profits as another) are written after one book, or one editor, or one publishing company. Not all books, topics, publishers, editors, etc. are created equal, and you really can’t extrapolate anything meaningful from a single data point.
Now, I’m thinking about pitching a session for 2009 SxSW: “So You Wanna Write A Book?”
I need to know: if there is such a panel, would you want to attend? And if so, who would you want to see on the panel?
One issue I have is that I know so many people who really ought to be on this panel (me as moderator, for one!). Just as an off the top of my head list in no particular order, and limiting it to people I’ve seen attend SxSW before, here’s who I’d love to have: John Resig, Wendy Sharp, Michael Nolan, Simon St. Laurent, Kathy Sierra, Stephanie Sullivan, Virginia DeBolt, Julie Melton, and Christian Crumlish. Others I haven’t seen at SxSW, but would want to have on for their particular points of view: Adam or Tonya Engst and Laura Lemay. And then there’s the people I’ve never met, but who I think would be valuable contributors such as Adam Greenfield. And I could go on and on and…
So? Let me know what you think in the comments.
[and in case you’re wondering about my qualifications to moderate this panel: I’ve been a tech book author for over ten years. I’m one of the very few people around who actually lives off their tech book writing. I’ve written for multiple editors and multiple publishers. I’ve had books that were hugely successful, books that were moderately successful, and one book that tanked—so I can speak to a little of everything.]