I’ve vaguely mentioned a big project in other blog posts, but here it is in cleartext: I’m on contract to write a book for O’Reilly! This has been in the works for several months and things finally got to the Sign-The-Contract phase a few weeks back. It’s a pretty amazing thing for me, none the least because I’m co-authoring it with my good friend James Avery, author of a couple pretty darn good books himself.
We can’t discuss the focus of the book yet because we’re sneaky SOBs. Actually, we’re not sure how far we can go into details yet, so we’ll just be talking about general authoring things from time to time. You may be able to figure bits and pieces out from the content of some of my previous posts over the last several months. (Hint: It will not cover rose gardening or gnocchi. I don’t think.)
One of the neatest things is that we’ll hopefully get our book into O’Reilly’s Rough Cuts program. This lets folks buy a pre-publication version of the book and read through chapters as they’re being reviewed and finalized. Folks who get the Rough Cuts version get a chance to pass feedback to us, which will help improve the final version of the book.
37signals talked about early book feedback in their Getting Real book and offered up a couple books which used this same approach. The authors were all very, very happy to have gotten feedback early in their writing process. Gee, kind of like Agile software development, no?
James had the terrific idea to get a Basecamp site up to manage the project. That’s been a blessing so far and has given us a great medium to work on chapter contents, track deadlines, and toss general communication back and forth.
We had our first milestone delivery of two chapters a couple weeks ago. Much of that content went by a couple good reviewers and all were happy with the general aproach and focus of the book. We’ve got what I think is an absolutely killer list of technical reviewers built up and their input will be invaluable for polishing the final product. (Steve McConnell declined, but he was very nice about it.)
I’ve been seriously twitterpated about all this, alternating between Danger Mouse mode (“Panic!!”) and giddy enthusiasm. Enthusiasm trumps most every time, although I’m sure there will be a few grumpy evenings and weekends to come.
I look forward to being able to pass on more details about the project before too long. Hopefully we’ll have some content up on Rough Cuts before too many more months — I would love to get feedback from any and all readers.
So there you have it. The latest big news from around here, and it doesn’t even concern my coffee roasting habits, rose garden, or son’s diapers.