Dear Leanpub first-time author

I've only written a book, enough to know how much work it is. Before writing it, I used to think that writing was going to be the most time-consuming task. However, it turned out that I spent more time fixing mistakes, reading again and again what I wrote and, specially, applying changes based on my dear reviewers' feedback. The first draft I wrote had nothing to do with the final version. The reviewers where friends as the book was self-published. And reviewing was hard to them. Some of them stopped following revisions as the chapters were mutating.

As a reader and also as a reviewer of other books, I like to give feedback to the author once the book is in a very advanced stage. Once the author has read his book so many times that she is tired, and she thinks it is ready to be published. At that point feedback is more precise and changes are easier to apply. Less work and better experience for everyone.

Guess what my advise is?
Do not invite your reviewers to read your book when you consider it is 50% done. Wait until you think it is pretty much done. When you consider you've got all the chapters in and you are happy with the content. At this point is when you really got 50% of the job done, but you believed you were 90% 🙂
Well, if you have been writing for many months and the book is going to be huge, then you need feedback sooner. But for the average 200-300 pages book, I would rather wait.

You can ask your reviewers about the general table of contents, or maybe about some technology your are talking about, but going through the whole book soon is not a good idea in my opinion. As the book evolve, your reviewers will be tired. And worse than that, some of them might have a wrong idea about the final version, just because they left the project too early.

Care about your reviewers' and readers' time as much as you care about your own time 🙂

And remember, never write a book for money. Write it because you feel like sharing with others. If the book is good, the reward will come, but not in the form of direct money from the sales.

 

 

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  • http://twitter.com/antonio_albala Antonio Martínez

    I give the same advice to people writing a PhD Thesis or a Master Thesis. The text must be reviewed by yourself as long as possible then when you think is ready to publish, send it to the reviewers. The feedback will be better and easy to apply. And I encourage to make inceptions with your advisors in order to clarify objetives, style and contents.

  • http://twitter.com/YvesHanoulle Yves Hanoulle

    I disagree. The faster you get feedback the better. yes you will loose some reviewers along the way. so I would change the advice to: don’t invite everyone at once.

  • carlosble

    Well, If it’s possible to invite just a few people to the early versions, that sounds like a good idea to me

  • carlosble

    Thanks for your opinion Antonio

  • Rafael Gomez

    Good to hear these advices; I’ve recently started to publish chapters of a book I started in summer 2012 about all those factors affecting good clean code development. I plan to review all chapters already done and publish it once a week in the web (www.ellibronegrodelprogramador.com). So far, I’ve received very good feedback. Thanks for your advices.

  • carlosble

    Congratulations for the book. Let me know when you finish it, I’ll be happy to read it 🙂