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The Book Writing Business, part 3

As you write chapters, you'll turn them in to your editor.  You'll soon discover whether you like your editor's communication style or not!  Remember not to take their criticism personally.  You're there to do a job and so are they - and you both want the book to be as good as possible.  On the other hand, many editors live in the technological equivalent of the 19th century, so expect them to take a lot longer than you think they should.  In all of my years of writing, I've only had one editor (my current one – Jonathan, that's you!) that was technologically savvy.  So don't expect too much from them.  On the other hand, don't let the off too easily either.  Many editors will want to take months and months for editing, which I think is unfair to the author.


In addition, the editors will bring in one or more technical editors to review your content for quality, accuracy, and general technical value.  You'll have to respond to all of their recommendations and usually on a pretty tight schedule.  Sometimes the recommendations from a technical review can be quite expansive and require a big change to the material you've written.  Be sure to discuss any sweeping changes with your editor before you embark on the revisions.  Also, remember not to rely on tech reviewers as if they were QA testers.  You should be completely sure that any code examples, syntax references, and feature descriptions are accurate.  Your tech reviewers will probably catch any mistakes you make – but probably is the operative word here.  Do not expect them to catch everything.  Do your best to ensure accuracy upon origination of the material and you'll be much happier with the end result.


So by this time in the process, the manuscript is finally finished.  Your editor will send it off to their production group, who will do a final round of copy editing, print formatting, and other steps in the process to physically create the book.  Now is the time to throw a party.  Within a few months (usually three), your books should be ready to land on bookshelves.   However, you work is not over.  You should take this opportunity to build a contact database of everyone who can help market your book including influential bloggers, user group leaders, magazines and websites that post reviews, and conferences and local user groups where you could speak (and plug your book).  Now hit up your editor or their marketing manager to send review copies to ALL of these peoples.  Work on friends and colleagues to post positive reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders on line.  Engage in any other marketing activities you can to encourage your book to flourish.  One of the things that I love about writing for O'Reilly & Associates is that they have a very strong marketing arm.  However, many publishers do not have such capabilities and so it will often fall to you to make your book a success.


With any luck, you'll sell hundreds of thousands of copies!


Hope this helps.  Best regards,



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