Writing a successful programming book

Chris Sells expounds on What Makes A Book Successful.

Be sure to read the comments for my thoughts on Chris’s points.

Comments (4)

  1. Nick Parker says:

    Did you directly contact your publisher before writing any of your books to set things up or do you start out writing a book and then find the publisher – did they find you? I have written many articles of The Code Project and have considered continuing to other mediums but I’m not sure where to begin.

  2. Anon says:

    From my experience (limited as it’s been) and from talking with other authors, I believe that most publishers want you to work with them to develop the book, rather than you submitting a mostly completed manuscript.

    I’ve written two books, one where I had more control over the content and the way the book was marketed. It did relatively well.

    With my second book, the publisher did a lot of arm twisting to make the book go a certain direction (against my better judgement). Ultimately, the book did very poorly. This is why I’m against publishers that try to plug a hole based on the latest technical buzz.

  3. Matt Pietrek says:

    Nick: I was lucky in that Andrew Schulman found me. At the time, he was working on Undocumented Windows. Subsequently he was the series editor, and he wanted my next book (which became "Windows Internals") for the series.

    After "Windows Internals", the publishing team that did the Andrew Schulman series moved over to IDG. They aggressively recruited me to get me to sign, and gave me a pretty decent advance.

    So far I’ve been lucky. I’ve never written anything without having already having an agreement of who will publish it.