Overdue Update on Windows Phone Book

I'm not giving up on Windows Phone Book, but I'm going to do things a bit differently

Note: This post was cross-posted from my Windows Phone Book web site. I’m going to start publishing book and chapter updates here as well. --Paul

Sorry for the lack of updates on Windows Phone Book. Work did temporarily stop on that title, but I’m ready to pick it back up again. There have been a number of changes, however.

I assume that most people who visit this site also visit the SuperSite for Windows. If not, I floated the idea of doing shorter books there late last year and presented a short “mini-book” (or chapter of a short book) about Amazon Cloud Player, the online retailer’s cloud-based music service. This wasn’t of huge interest to readers of the site, though I’m still personally interested in the topic, so I foisted a second mini-book idea, this time for Xbox Music.

That was better received, and I’ve been working on that in lieu of Windows Phone Book for the past few weeks. That mini-book is why there’s been no progress recently on Windows Phone Book. But Xbox Music Book will impact Windows Phone Book in a second, perhaps more important, way.

As I noted in Xbox Music Book: Another Small Update, a Move to Task-Based Organization, I was originally writing that mini-book in the same way I’d written Windows Phone Book, and most of my previous books, as a narrative. But I tend to overwrite, and one of the things that’s gotten me worried over the first several chapters of Windows Phone Book is the length: This thing is going to be over 1000 pages long—and take a year to write—if I keep doing things as I’ve been doing them.

The point behind the shorter books, however, was to more easily accomplish one of the key goals for this book, which is to not just write another book, but rather to do it differently. And in order to experiment with different with different ways of “publishing” a book—getting it out into the world, and into the hands of readers—I of course need to finish it first.


Thanks to these two side-projects, I’ve come up with a plan that I think makes sense for Windows Phone Book, and will help me better accomplish all of the original goals for this project.

First, I’m going to finish Xbox Music Book first. This shouldn’t take too long, and I will actually be working on Windows Phone Book on the side since I intend to reuse much of the Windows Phone-based content from the mini-book in this book. (I’m currently working on the Music, Video, and Podcasts chapter, not coincidentally.)

Second, I’m going to re-organize Windows Phone Book in two key ways. First, I’m going to use the same task-based approach I’ve changed to for Xbox Music Book, which will make the book shorter, easier to write, and more goal/task-oriented. I won’t abandon narrative completely, of course. There needs to be some “glue” discussions.

Third, I’m examining whether I can finish chunks of this book and maybe publish them separately (Windows Phone Book Part 1, Part 2, and so on) to make it more manageable. Any thoughts on this organization are appreciated.

With regard to the existing, semi-complete/first draft chapters I’ve already written, they will need to be re-written for this new scheme. I will do that over time, not all upfront or all later. I’m curious to see how that looks, to be honest.

And now that Nokia Drive+ Beta is available for non-Nokia Windows Phone 8 handsets for free, I will be adding content about that to the Search and Maps chapter and dropping plans for writing about other Nokia apps.

For the very short term, I want to finish Xbox Music Book. But I’ll be posting some very early versions of the Music, Video, and Podcasts chapter of Windows Phone Book soon as well.

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