Episode 150

How to Write a Tech Book

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About this Episode

Katherine Druckman and Doc Searls talk to Kyle Rankin about his new book for aspiring authors, discuss the publishing process, self-discipline, marketing, and share their expertise from their decades as authors.


[00:01:04] Intro to Kyle's new book, "How To Write A Tech Book."

[00:04:52] Vetting your idea and pitching to a publisher

[00:09:24] On self-publishing vs. traditional publishers

[00:12:27] Print on-demand

[00:15:05] Market research and publishers

[00:18:03] Co-authoring vs solo authoring

[00:20:43] The Cluetrain Manifesto and The Intention Economy

[00:24:05] Return from social media to blogging and longer-form writing

[00:27:30] Marketing and promotion

[00:31:19] Find us at Defcon!

[00:44:13] Formatting code and technical content

[00:48:14] LaTeX and layout


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Episode Links

  • Kyle Rankin - Books and Publications Spotlight | Lulu — Buy Kyle's Self-published titles.
  • Sample Chapter - "How To Write A Tech Book"
  • How To Write A Tech Book — Many technical professionals would like to write a book sharing their knowledge and experience, but most haven't. If you ask them why, it's not from lack of ideas or experience with technical subject matter. Instead, they just don't know how turn their idea into an actual published book. Even though there are some guides for publishing nonfiction books, tech books are unique in the publishing world, and there haven't been any guides that tackle the special process that goes into publishing a tech book. This book aims to change that. Rankin has authored and published a dozen books across multiple traditional tech publishers and also through self-publishing. This book distills his experience into an easy-to-follow guide that explains the full book writing and publishing process step-by-step. Topics include vetting ideas, creating an outline, pitching a publisher, writing a draft, editing, formatting, publishing, marketing, and planning future revisions.
  • The Cluetrain Manifesto - Wikipedia — The Cluetrain Manifesto is a work of business literature collaboratively authored by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. It was first posted to the web in 1999 as a set of ninety-five theses, and was published as a book in 2000 with the theses extended by seven essays. The work examines the impact of the Internet on marketing, claiming that conventional marketing techniques are rendered obsolete by the online "conversations" that consumers have and that companies need to join.
  • Intention economy - Wikipedia — The intention economy is an approach to viewing markets and economies focusing on buyers as a scarce commodity. Customers' intention to buy drives the production of goods to meet their specific needs. It is also the title of Doc Searls book: The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge published in May, 2012.
  • Reality 2.0 Episode 144: Self-Publishing a Tech Book — Doc Searls and Katherine Druckman talk to prolific tech author, Kyle Rankin, about how he recently self-published his latest book, and how that differs from his many experiences with traditional publishers.

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