Hello, this is Jan Lehnardt and you're visiting my blog. Thanks for stopping by.
plok — It reads like a blog, but it sounds harder!
Update 04.12.2008: The Book
I am writing a book and I thought it’d be nice to document the process. Here we go.
The book will be self-published. Its first incarnation will be an electronic book, a PDF you can download to be precise. I will create at least one printed version, for myself, but if it proves popular I might look into a books-on-demand type of thing or a real publisher.
It is a book about CouchDb, a technical book. There are tons of technical books out there and most of them suck, sorry, in one way or another. One reason is often that technical people are not good at writing, but that we have to deal with to a certain extent. Who else should write about some amazing new technology but the ones who created it. And I do not yet know how well I will do in comparison.
Then there are these massive disclaimers that make up the first fifty pages or so. Who should read this book, Why you should read this book, What to expect from this book, Conventions used in this book, Do not try this at home with this book AND SO ON…Thank you! I’ve read enough technical books to quickly realize what a certain usage of type is meant to convey. If that is not the case, your book is not properly designed to begin with. If it is, on the other hand, it doesn’t need fifteen pages of introduction on how to read it.
There are books that get it though. They jump right into the matter with little ado. A dedication perhaps and some acknowledgements, but then they are off. My book, The Couch Book, will be like that. It will also look good. You will want to read by just looking at it. Or maybe you are interested in CouchDb a lot.
The Couch Book will be a definite guide. Everything CouchDb will be in. Likely not in the first edition, but I plan to go along with the software and its ecosystem while it evolves. Keeping the book up to date.
I want my readers to get free updates for a certain period while the book evolves after its first release. So there will be minor editions.When I think another major edition is due, that is, when I put in enough new stuff or reworked the old contents that I can justify selling it again, you will be able to upgrade for a small fee if you have the first edition.
All this sounds fun and all so I might get back working on it. How far am I? Not yet ready, of course (neither is CouchDb) but too far to put it away as a stupid idea.
You have to deal with technical people’s deficiencies as writers to a certain extent, not a certain extend.
That’s a somewhat loud place to make such an error.
Fixed, thanks. As I said, I don’t yet know, how well I manage as a writer, I’m a technical person after all :-)
"There are books that get it though."
Which books fit your opinion of "get it"?
Aaron Hillegass’ Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X and Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style come to mind.
Jan- I’d be happy to review your writing. Not necessarily for technical content, but to comment on the writing and content/organization.
Hi, I’m looking forward to reading your book. Would you be willing to share what you’ve got so far? I’d be happy to give feedback as well (content/style/grammar/etc.)