I keep getting emails with offers to write a book, or to help contribute in writing a book. While I’ve entertained the idea of doing a chapter (or 3) on Cairngorm, that’s just what it is, and will always be; an idea that I have no intentions of bringing to fruition.
From my experience and talking to others in the Flash community, books pay jack both in lump sum payout and royalties. This is compounded with insane amount of time and energy it takes to write a good technical programming book, especially in a hot market right now. I could spend 4 months making shit money on a book that has a shelf life of 1 year with pathetic royalties NOT improving my skill set… or I could spend 4 months making hundreds of dollars an hour writing code improving my skill set.
Gee, hard decision.
Not only that, but finding technical editors, good ones who know ActionScript AND have time to proof read your chapters and test your code, is impossible. I know from personal experience, I was a technical editor for 2 books in 2005 and 2006, saw the challenge to get chapters checked even with a good amount of technical editors. I sucked at it, and felt horrible after words. Did I mention I didn’t get paid as a technical editor either? Not that I deserved it. Oh wait, a free book… um… I make that in 10 minutes of coding. Ungrateful bastard, I know. Seriously, who do you know that is good at ActionScript and is NOT busy as hell? Thought so. How do you make them not busy? Offer a higher rate than their next gig or just get lucky that they somehow feel the need to add technical editor to their resume.
If you are a publisher reading my blog thinking that I’m a decent “candidate” to consider for authoring a book, while I appreciate your consideration, move on. The only book I want to write is only half technical, and have no clue if it would sell.
…then again, I did get burnt out pretty bad at the beginning of 2007, quit consulting, and played Gears of War on my XBox for 3 months straight unemployed… I don’t recall that positively affecting my skillset although I did meet a lot of cool whacko’s on XBox Live. *ahem*.
Ok, in that case, if someone can justify why it’s career advisable (…yet another resume bullet point does NOT count), how to get these publishers to front decent bling (aka, I can make $85 to $120 an hour contracting/consulting independently, non-firm associated right now for reference), and how to sell them on my whacky ideas I think would sell, then I might consider it.
I mean, just because someone wrote a book doesn’t make them impressive to me. I’ve read some really bad Flash and programming books as well as some bad ass ones. There seems to be this benefit that if you write a book, you’re immediately perceived as an expert, even if you really aren’t, which is complete bs. Then again, there is something insanely pimp and philanthropic, and therefore self-fullfilling, about pouring your heart, soul, and knowledge into a writ for the pure goal of helping your fellows. Seriously, on the fence big time. Guy Watson and I think alike on this (at least he and did 3 years ago :: shrugs :: ).
I’d argue spending one’s time coding, working on open source, and blogging, even if aforementioned tasks are done independently, are worth booku’s more to your personal career in both time, less stress, and money, both short and long term. Am I wrong? Naive?