How To Get Published, Technically

So, you want to write a technical book and get it published. I have been asked these questions – How do I become a published author? What is the process of getting a book published? How much time does it take to write a book?

In this article, I will share my experience of becoming a published author and what is involved in the entire process.

Background

I’ve been writing technical content; i.e., article, blogs, or tutorials since 1999. Mostly, I’ve written on programming, career advice, and being a good human being. In these past years, I’ve authored several programming books (both print and e-books) and thousands of articles and blogs.

 

As of today, I have over 102 million views on my 3700+ articles, blogs, and new stories on C# Corner.

 

Most of the traffic we get on C# Corner is organic. Over 85% of the traffic comes from Google organic searches. We have never done a paid promotion of C# Corner and its articles.

Get Started

One of the easiest ways to get started is to start small and gain some experience and exposure. This is how I got started. I remember when I wrote one of my first articles, GDI+ Tutorial For Beginners (http://www.c-sharpcorner.com/article/gdi-tutorial-for-beginners/), on C# Corner, one of the publishers contacted me to write a book. In 2000, Karen Watterson from Apress contacted me after reading my article on ADO.NET and this is how I got my first contract. Fifteen months later, I was a published author of A Programmer’s Guide to ADO.NET in C# published by APress.

Publishers love popular trainers, speakers, and bloggers. You can start writing blogs and articles on online communities and your personal blog. You can start speaking at events and conferences. You can join communities and start contributing. You can try to get your hands dirty with technical book reviews. This will not only give you exposure, but you will also get feedback from your readers. Read feedback, accept criticism, and improve from there.

Once you’re ready, you may want to follow these steps

1. Prepare - Choose to topic. Build a Proposal. Submit the Proposal. Sign a deal
2. Write
3. Review
4. Promote
 

Step 1. Prepare

Choose a Topic

When you choose a topic, you must be specific about the topic. For example, if you want to write a book related to database programming using C# programming language and Visual Studio 2008, you need to be specific with the title. Your book title should be "Database Programming using C# 2008."

So now, you have found a topic which you would like to write about. The next step is to find a publisher.

Finding a Publisher

Finding a publisher is pretty simple. APress, Addison Wesley, Microsoft, and Wrox are a few big names in the technical publishing world. If you go to their websites, you will see they all have "Write for Us" or "Contact Us" links to contact them.

Build a Proposal

Before you contact a publisher, you must be ready with some material. Most of the publishers expect you to send them a detailed table of contents and a sample chapter of the book. This material gives the publisher an idea about your writing skills and style and how much you know about that topic.

Sign with a publisher

Before committing to publishing a new book, a publisher goes through a rigorous process of proposal assessment.

Once your proposal is accepted by a publisher, the next step is to agree on numbers. Most of the publishers pay you between 8 - 15% of royalties on net sales. Some publishers may also give you an advance to encourage you to get started right away.

Step 2. Write

Once you sign with a publisher, now you start writing one chapter at a time. During the writing process, the publishing team will help you with technical editing, copy editing, and the final production version of the contents. The publisher will send you a template (usually a Microsoft Word document) with formatting and styles, image capturing, code formatting, and other photos.

It took about 15 months to finish my first book. Once I got used to the process, I took about 6 to 9 months to finish my other books.

Step 3. Review

Most of the software product versions change frequently. As the author of the book, you must be able to learn and include new changes in the software.

While I was writing my book, A Programmer’s Guide to ADO.NET, I started working with the Beta version of .NET 1.0. By the time.NET 1.1 was released, there were at least four revisions of the library. For each revision, I had to go back to retest and update the code and book content to make sure that I covered all the changes.

Step 4. Promote

Even when your book is published, your work is not done. If you want to make the book a successful book, then you need to work on promotions. Mention the book in your blogs and on your websites or the websites you visit often.

Online communities are one of the best ways to promote a book. You may go to several online communities such as C# Corner, Code Project, Code Guru, and DevX, and see that most of them allow you to publish a free chapter from your book. In your chapter, do not forget to mention the link of the book. Also, become a regular author on these websites and at the bottom of your article, you may want to mention your book. This will give you a market larger than 10 million developers.

Regularly visit forums such as C# Corner Forums and Microsoft forums and reply to posts that are related to the topics your book covers. Answer the questions and also mention to go to your book page to get more details on that specific topic.