OT - If you were to write a book...

hardbat

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My day gig is computer science professor, and I've published two textbooks on graphics programming in OpenGL. They sell pretty well around the world.

Advice to potential textbook authors: if your goal is to make money, don't write a book on an advanced topic, because the market is by definition small. For example, there are hundreds of times more customers for algebra book than for a differential equations book. My goal wasn't to make money, but to fill a need in a niche area that I find interesting.
 

WonderMonkey

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My day gig is computer science professor, and I've published two textbooks on graphics programming in OpenGL. They sell pretty well around the world.

Advice to potential textbook authors: if your goal is to make money, don't write a book on an advanced topic, because the market is by definition small. For example, there are hundreds of times more customers for algebra book than for a differential equations book. My goal wasn't to make money, but to fill a need in a niche area that I find interesting.
Very interesting! I helped write an O'Reilly book way way back and contributed to a "Cook Book" on C# also way way back. It was fun for me but exhausting for the primary (by far) author.
 

Dave HCV

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I've written two books, both construction engineering handbooks (I'm a now-retired civil engineer). Due to their very specialized subject matter, they don't sell in large quantities (low thousands), so they aren't providing significant income.

During the last three-fourths of my career, I worked as a self-employed consulting engineer, so this was my way of passing on knowledge since I didn't have much opportunity to mentor young engineers who were starting out.
 

mtarrani

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I've written two books, both construction engineering handbooks (I'm a now-retired civil engineer). Due to their very specialized subject matter, they don't sell in large quantities (low thousands), so they aren't providing significant income.

During the last three-fourths of my career, I worked as a self-employed consulting engineer, so this was my way of passing on knowledge since I didn't have much opportunity to mentor young engineers who were starting out.
Stuff that I have written in the past to sell has a pretty narrow audience. I self-published some of them here:

But those were editable process documents that folks could tailor to their organizations. At one point they were bringing in about $400 a month, but these days I go months without a sale. Still, those pay for the web site hosting, and one of these days I will give the existing docs a facelift and add some more to the collection.
 

hardbat

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It was fun for me but exhausting for the primary (by far) author.
Yes, exhausting is right. One of the hardest parts is layout. The publisher hands it off to a layout team, and they totally mangle all your code. Incorrect spacing, indents, fonts, alignment, word wrap, etc. basically making all your code illegal. So you have to go through character by character and log every little mistake (for example, they've changed all the straight quotes and apostrophes to curved ones because they look prettier). Then they fix it and you repeat this process a couple more times until your code is legal again. In a 600 page book full of code this is very tedious.

I've also written about 35 research articles for conferences and journals. Mostly AI stuff, and now most of it hopelessly outdated.
 

drummer5359

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When I was twenty three years old the national company that I was working for was having issues with lawsuits because of errors in the field. The founder and CEO wrote a fiery internal memo. He was going to have one of the departments in corporate write an extensive manual on the subject, and wanted the employees in the field to offer as much help as they could.

On my way home that night I stopped and bought a legal pad. The subject that he wanted help with happened to correspond with a hobby that I had since I was a young child. It was something that I felt confident that I could help with.

For a couple of months I wrote my version of the manual on my own time. When it was done, I stuck it in an envelope and mailed it to the CEO. Honestly, I didn't think too much about the ramifications of doing this, I was just trying to help.

A few days later I answered the phone at work and it was the CEO calling me directly. He wanted to know how and why I wrote this. I answered honestly. It was a subject that I had a lot of knowledge about, and he had requested help, to me sitting down and writing what I knew seemed like an obvious way to help. He thanked me.

A few minutes later I received a call from the boss of the boss of my boss. (Oops.) It seems that I broke a bunch of corporate taboos. (Oops.) Even though the CEO request my (everybody's) help, writing a manual on my own initiative was just not done.

However...

I was requested to spend the next several weeks on the other side of the country at corporate headquarters. I actually stayed at the CEO's Frank Lloyd Wright designed house with him, and helped develop the official manual. It seems what I had done on my own was more complete and accurate than what they were doing at headquarters. Their work was scrapped in favor of mine. Years later, any time that the CEO was in Florida he would call me and take me to dinner. We had developed a friendship.

In the end, I wrote a book. (A manual.)

I ended up getting a large bonus and promotions came fast after this. I ended up retiring from the company at age fifty, after thirty years of service.

As far as writing a "proper" book, I've considered it.
 

michaelocalypse

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I've already had a post removed for replying to a political topic thread, so I'll leave that book idea alone.

I'd probably make a compilation of internet posts mocking the absurity of life and how some people think they're more important than they really are to everyone else. I'd pick several topics and organize chapters that way. Fun coffee table read, if you like very black, dark coffee.
 

Frank Godiva

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Very interesting! I helped write an O'Reilly book way way back and contributed to a "Cook Book" on C# also way way back. It was fun for me but exhausting for the primary (by far) author.
I can’t believe we still use any form of C; one of my kids had a college class on it last spring; not far removed from its humble beginnings in 1972; guess it’s newer then COBOL from 1959…

C has become QCL Quantum Computing Language and look for Silq to surpass that


 

WonderMonkey

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I can’t believe we still use any form of C; one of my kids had a college class on it last spring; not far removed from its humble beginnings in 1972; guess it’s newer then COBOL from 1959…

C has become QCL Quantum Computing Language and look for Silq to surpass that


This is C#, a .net language. Microsoft's response to java, supposedly.
 

mtarrani

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I'm writing about a book about procrastination....well I should say I'm planning on writing it....someday

edit: dang need to work on my editing I guess as well
I was going to write one on premature spilled , but scrapped the idea early :)

NOTE: The integrated censor changed e j a c u l a t i o n to spilled.
 

BennyK

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I have the title, but no book yet :

" Killing the Messenger " - a history of censorship -
 
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Patrick

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I tried to write on the road through the 70's. It was hard to write on the road and stay sane with all the stuff that went on day to day with a road band. Submitting stuff, I'd be using return addresses three gigs down the road. I never got anything over the transom during that time, but I got a bunch of writing gigs later on. There were so many characters I met along the way, I'd love to write something about all the folks I've met. Picture is of me somewhere in Northern Ontario, 1978, typing on my
Me and Hermes 78.jpeg
Hermes Rocket--the original laptop.
 


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