My First Book: Almost Ready for Production

For the last 4 months I’ve been working with Packt Publishing on a book about Redmine plugin extension and development.

Although it likely won’t be ready until February 2014, the book is now available for pre-order on Packt’s site.

Since the book is almost through the first stage of rewrites, I though it might be a good idea to start documenting the process.

What I’m going to write about initially are my first impressions on writing a book, as well as a few notes (which may sound like complaints) about what I did “wrong” and could improve upon in the future.

Originally, I wasn’t sure that I would be a good choice as an author as I didn’t have the community recognition that some other plugin developers had, and I hadn’t been “on the scene” for more than a few years.

After much consideration, I decided to dive in and start writing.

The first step was to provide the publisher with a rough outline that also included the page count. Initially, I just threw together a handful of topics that I wanted to cover, then (very generically) estimated how many pages I would need to completely cover those topics.

Once approved, and I actually started writing, I very quickly realized that meeting my page estimates was almost impossible; some chapters would be way too short, and others WAY too long.

I also had to provide a rough outline as to how long I thought it would take me to write each chapter. This step, in retrospect, I wish I had taken more time to properly prepare.

Writing a technically-oriented book involves a lot more research than you may think (no matter how well you think you know the source material). As such, the further I got into the book, the more time I found myself researching, writing code, testing code, then writing about the code I’d built.

This process took a good 3x longer than I anticipated, and as such, my deadlines tended to slip by. As a result, the tentative release date for the final book of January 2014 is not very likely.

I’m hoping that this blog post will also serve as a motivator to get my ass in gear and finish the final revisions.