As most of you already know, I am writing a book for Packt Publishing. Although it’s not finished yet, I am working on chapter 10/11, so I think I made some experience about writing, and I want to share something with you.
As you can imagine, writing a book it’s way different than writing a blog, and although the topic is the same (Flash game programming), there are quite a lot of things you should consider.
The following is a list of some big differences between writing for a blog and writing a book:
1) Nothing other than text and images allowed
This probably does not matter if you write topics which don’t need much more than a photo to be explained. For instance, if you write a history book, you can explain everything just with text and photos. When you write about programming, unfortunately you haven’t the “click to see the working example” and the “download button”. Obviously in the electronic version you can provide all these nice features, but what about people reading the printed book, or the pdf version on an ebook reader device?
You have to provide clear images for every step, clearly showing what’s moving and why it’s moving, what’s happening and why it’s happening.
2) No immediate feedback
When you publish a post, if you have a good traffic, in a couple of hours you’ll have some technical feedback. Readers will comment the post. This means you can quickly edit and update it following readers’ suggestions, that in some cases are most interesting than the post itself. When you send a draft chapter, only a couple of technical reviewers will read it, and this will take from three to five days. Moreover, there are technical times such as editorial approval. In the end, you’ll receive the feedback on a chapter several days after you submitted it (at the moment I am writing chapter 10 and got only first 4 chapters reviewed), giving you a little headache to focus on a topic you aren’t working on for several days.
3) No updates
Unlike a blog post that can be updated anytime and how many times you need, once a chapter is submitted you have one of two more times to update it before it’s ready to be printed. From that moment on, the chapter is to be considered “as is”.
4) You’re not at home
When you write a post, basically you are inviting readers to your house. Imagine them in your living room, listening to you. When people buy your book, you are invited into readers’ houses, in their living room. You have to be more polite and formal, without being too different than the guy readers know from the blog. You don’t want people think you aren’t the real author of the blog.
5) There’s a strict timeline
When you blog, although you should post at a constant interval such as every two or three days, there’s nothing bad if you take one more day to refine the post. When you write a chapter, normally there’s a timeline to respect, so you aren’t free to take your time to improve the chapter as many times as you want. Unlike a site which is always “under construction”, a chapter must be definitively completed.
I am learning a lot from the making of this book, and I will share my experiences as much as I can.
I hope this can help all bloggers willing to write a book or an ebook.