Another book that will publish just in time to be launched at the IBM Information on Demand 2011 Conference is
By Roger Sanders
Roger will be at IBM’s Information on Demand Conference this year and will be available for two book signings at the Conference bookstore:
Monday October 24 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Tuesday October 25 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm
Soon you’ll be able to add this signing to your Smart Site Schedule. This book and another of Roger’s books (DB2 9.7 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Database Administration: Certification Study Notes)that will also launch at the conference will be sold at the Conference Bookstore for a 20% discount.
About the book:
I’ve already read the book and highly recommend it. It covers everything that you need to know & do in order to get an article or book published. What makes this book so different than others of the same sort is first of all Roger’s extensive experience in writing technical books and articles and second his explanation of an author contract. I personally find legal contracts to be very difficult to understand and I have little interest in putting in the effort to understand all the terms that appear in an author contract. Roger put the effort in, and it shows. He goes through each clause and term that you’ll encounter and explains it in a very understandable way. In addition, Roger gives examples of what he’s encountered throughout his career and how the various clauses in the contract affected the situation.
Getting the skills to write well isn’t nearly as hard as you think. Here are the basics that Roger covers in his book:
1. Schedule time to write. If you wait until you’re “in the mood to write”, you’ll never get anything done! Set goals for how much you want to accomplish and move to another section if one is causing you grief. Reward yourself as targets are reached.
2. Have a strong outline before you start to write. I know it sounds cliché, but the more up front planning you do, the easier the writing will be. Even for technical documents, you should “tell a story”. Have a beginning, say a problem that needs to be solved; a middle, the search for a solution; and an end, a strong conclusion.
3. Let some personality show through in the writing. There are some cases where dry, factual writing is required, but where it’s not, let the writing be conversational or slightly casual to be of interest to the reader. Always think of your reader. Even if the writing is just for a school paper, the last thing you want to do is to bore the reader so that the ending is never reached.
4. Diagrams and tables are useful, but ONLY if they are tied tightly with the text. Don’t put them there just for filler because they’ll never be looked at. The best idea is to add reference numbers to the diagrams and have text to lead the reader from one point to the next. If that sounds like too much work, maybe the diagram isn’t really needed.
5. No one’s writing is perfect… every author needs to review and revise their work many times. Most authors get quite tired of reading what they’ve written by the time it is “finished”.
To make revision as easy as possible, Roger suggests that each time you go through your draft, look for one specific thing at a time. For instance, the first time through, check that you are using the active voice instead of passive. Next, go through and look to make sure headings and lists use parallel wording. Next, look for words that are commonly spelled incorrectly that will not be caught by a spell checker. And so on.
6. For everyone, but especially if you are English-second language, consider reading the text out loud or have the computer read it to you. You may be able to hear problems in the wording easier than you can read them. Also, look at past comments you’ve received on writing assignments. Likely you often make the same errors every time you write, so pay close attention to how your previous errors were corrected, and go through your document to specifically focus on improving these problem areas.
8. One last piece of advice. If you’re writing a technical document, your goal is not to make it “beautiful”… your goal is clarity. You want to ensure that anyone who reads what you’ve written understands your technical messages.
There are a lot more details that will help you, so I encourage you to get a copy of Roger’s book.
Roger is also attending the IOD conference to share his expertise on DB2 Certification. He was an exam developer of many DB2 exams and is the instructor at a highly rated Pre-Conference Certification Crammer Course: (9Q020) DB2 9.7 for Linux, UNIX and Windows DBA Certification Crammer for Exam 541 . His other book, DB2 9.7 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Database Administration: Certification Study Notes will help you pass one of the free exams that are being offered to attendees.
Other blog entries about IOD Events:
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- Meet Data Warehouse expert & author: Bob Laberge
- Meet author Tony Giordano, “Data Integration Blueprint and Modeling”
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- It’s time to start planning for IBM’s Information on Demand (IOD) Conference
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