Becoming an author
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So my dream came true in 1998 when my first book was published: Teach Yourself DB2 Universal Database in 21 Days. My second one was an update of this TY book and was published in 2003 (htt
I think everyone has the potential to write a book and I recently did a presentation to my son's grade 1 class and encouraged each of them to consider writing a book. As a witness to my son's very active imagination, I'm sure a book written by a child would be much more imaginative than a technical book! The most important characteristic necessary is that the author be passionate, both about the topic and about writing about the topic.
Writing isn't easy for anyone, but what is even harder is re-reading the manuscript multiple times to make sure that it says what you want it to say. I don't think anyone is able to write a sentence without needing to revise it 20 times before it is perfect. Another thing that many authors find tough is accepting comments on the book. Let's face it, hearing someone criticize your hard work isn't fun, but if you look at it as a way to get the text closer to perfection, then it is easier to take.
After you've determined that you have the passion to write about something, you should attempt to write an outline or table of contents for the book. Also figure out who the intended audience will be. It is very important that you imagine the person who would want or need to read your book. Once you've defined the audience and thought about what should be in the book, search online to find books that may be similar. There are tons of books about almost every subject, so do the research to figure out if you have a unique topic or not. If there are books written about the topic, figure out what will make your book different than the others. Does it give more examples? Does it use case studies? Is it part of a recognized series? Does it go into more depth than existing books? Whatever, just make sure you make a list of all the competitive books and determine if you should write the book or not.
Next you'll need to put the details about your book into a proposal. For IBM Press books, you can find a proposal template on http
What is being looked for? Well, first of all, can you write? Make sure that there are no typos or grammar errors in your proposal. You may be asked to provide a sample chapter as well so the publisher can determine if your writing style is good enough. You don't have to be the best writer in the world as you will be getting help from editors and graphics designers, but your writing style will be judged based on both the proposal and the sample chapter.
You don't have to be the foremost expert on your chosen topic to be an author; however, you may want to ask the experts to help you by reviewing the proposal, the chapters, and possibly providing the foreword or a quote for the book.
I have much more to say on this topic, but I'll save it for another day. What I have so far will help anyone who is keen to get started right away so I think it's a good place to stop.
I on vacation for the next week, so you won't see any new posts from me until the week of July 11.
Have a great Canada Day and Independence Day Long Weekend!
IBM Press Program Manager
The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM positions, strategies or opinions.