What about a Book?

In an ongoing effort to help get YOUR expertise out to other people who haven’t learned it yet, I’ve been spewing meaningless advice over the last few weeks….such as write a magazine article for Technet or the Architecture Journal (there are more you could submit articles to….MSDN, Redmond Magazine, etc, etc). In addition to those common ways to get your knowledge out there, I of course recomend blogging (but most of you already blog or have considered it)….so you I recommended speaking at a conference like the Connections conferences. Of course if presenting isn’t your thing, you could hook up with an unconference group of people and simply participate in the conversation (I’ll be hosting one of these at the Exchange Connections Conference in April if your interested)….

So what do you do if you’ve done these things, or you just have too much information to get out? Maybe you’ve considered writing a book? If that has crossed your mind, I’ve talked to several authors about their experiences in the past and Eric Gunnerson sums it up very well in his blog post about book authoring. You should check it out and see if turning yourself into a lowly author makes sense for your work/life balance and your goals in life….

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6 Responses to “What about a Book?”

  1. Marc Farley Says:

    Josh, Are you thinking about writing a book? If so, I’d be happy to discuss my experiences with you and give you my insights. A few things that I can think of are: The most important element to success in book writing is being a first-mover in some niche. The hard part of doing that is convincing the acquisitions editors that your topic has relevance because they haven’t heard about it yet. The second most important element is finding hard working editors who care about the project as much as you do. The third most important element is having no fear and no ego when those hard working editors turn your manuscripts into hash. As a newbie blogger the thing I miss the most (as someone who has written successful books) is the feedback from editors about the clarity or lack thereof of the text passages. The rapid frequency and context switching needed for successful blogging doesn’t correlate very well to the slow-twitch structural “build up” that book writing mandates. In book authoring, each sentence in each paragraph in each section in each chapter has its place and figuring out that extended puzzle is a whole different rhythm than blogging. The last thing to worry about in book authoring is the publisher. When you least expect it, they will introduce random acts of recklessness into the process, threatening the integrity of the work, or your sanity.

    Maybe you could help me just a little with this blogging stuff. I’ve started writing a blog for EqualLogic, which is forcing me to get a lot more serious about blogging than I ever was about my own blog prior to working for them. We’ve had some problems with our blogging tool (Ektron CMS system) but the biggest adjustment for me is figuring out the voice and rhythm of the postings. In many respects, I find it easier to comment on somebody else’s posting than to write my own. Any insights you have would be appreciated. I’ll look for them here.

  2. Compelled to Write « And now for something completely different… Says:

    […] suggestions on what sort of things to consider when conteplating becoming an author – “What about a Book.”  He references another post by MSDN author Eric Gunnerson.  Eric suggests a few […]

  3. joshmaher Says:

    Marc, here is the test then, are you still listening after responding on this post?

    Your response is quite valuable and I am interested in exploring your knowledge further. The blogging thing comes naturally for me, perhaps it is the young blood that makes me want to post lots of random semi-related messages that are still static for people to read……it is very different from a book, a magazine article, or even a presentation, but a lot of the same skills are utilized/developed.

    What are you trying to accomplish with your blog? Is there a message, an audience, or a desire to speak? Are there points to make or ideas to convey? Are there streaming thoughts, or planned ideas? Would you like to guest blog? What things make you want to comment?

  4. Marc Farley Says:

    Hey Josh, believe it or not I am listening (I also got your email – so thanks). I thought you might have been ignoring my comments because I work for a competitor. I have the same thing going on right now with Dave Hitz – I responded to his last post and he either hasn’t had the time to review it (very good possibility) or he is ignoring it because I work for a competitor.

    The fact is, I’ve done a very poor job in the past responding to comments and carrying on conversations. I have an older blog on blogger (google) that I don’t post often to and never really undestood how comments worked and annoyed others that posted comments. It wasn’t intentional, I just blew it because I didn’t know what I was doing. So now, I think I’m getting up to speed, but I have some paranoia about it. Unfortunately, we’ve been having problems with our blogging tool and posts and comments have been getting lost and reappearing. People that have bene watching our blog probably think its a game of hide and seek. ARRGGHH.

    My blog at EqualLogic is intended primarily for people working with enterprise storage – so some of the same people that you have in your audience. As a new company in storage we face a lot of questions about our credibility and ability to compete with established vendors. My job is primarily to help people understand how well our stuff works and to help them figure out how to deploy it. Along the way, I find things of interest that are a bit outside this scope and post on them. For instance, I posted on a couple Youtube rock videos because I thought they had a slight storage tie-in and liked them. I don’t know if posting this kind of stuff is counter productive or not, but its what I wanted to do – so I did it. So far, most of my postings have been stream of the moment (I don’t think there is much real stream of consciousness going on in the blogosphere) which means I react, write and edit and edit and then post. That said, I am working on a plan that will drive some of the content but I don’t want a plan to interfere with my voice and make things sterile. So I’m trying to observe other blogs and see what I can from the browser end of the telescope.

    I like commenting because I feel its part of the role – maybe I can lend a hand here and there, maybe I can add a little humor from time to time and sometimes I just want to brainstorm. The other posting I responded to on your blog about sociological imagination was one of those. I was stimulated by the concept and just wanted to add my 2 cents.

    -marc

  5. joshmaher Says:

    Hey Marc, late reply….

    That is a great strategy. In fact commenting on other peoples blogs is inspiring for me. A little too much some times. I comment on one or two blogs and then find my thoughts and am back into writing my own entries. It’s a very cyclical thing and without participating in the conversation with other people, the blogosphere seems to deflate quickly.

    On the other hand, just commenting is huge. especially if the conversation is maintained….in fact it shows involvement and interest in what is happening so is where most of the value is.

  6. Alex Says:

    Thank You

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