I Think This Makes Me a Professional Dummy


I'm writing a book.

Yes, really.

This has all happened very suddenly, and I didn't want to spill the beans until things were absolutely official.  They are official now, and I can finally tell you the scoop.

Wiley Publishing produces the best-selling Dummies books–you've probably seen them around your bookstore or library.  They've actually made quite a name for themselves in the technical category, publishing titles such as WordPress for Dummies and Google Blogger for Dummies. Wiley contacted Melanie and me a few weeks ago to ask if we'd be interested in writing TypePad for Dummies (TypePad, if you're a blogging newbie, is the name of the blogging platform I use to write and manage my blog).  I'm not a technical writer by trade, but I have a long history (in blog years) with TypePad, not to mention a deep, possibly fanatical affection for their service. 

(A funny aside:  When I taught a beginning blogging class at SheSpeaks last year, I frequently referred to my fondness for TypePad.  There was a lot of "TypePad this," and "TypePad that", etc. Finally someone raised her hand and asked, "What is this Top Hat you keep talking about?"  The moral of the story is that the word TypePad, while an excellent blogging platform, may not translate well to an Arkansas accent.  Thankfully, this isn't an audio book.)   

But back to the story:  Between my freakish TypePad love and Melanie's expert technical writing skills, we were really excited to take on this project.  We've already started, in fact, and it's going great.

Here's the kicker. 

By the time Wiley hired us, the TypePad book already had the green light from their editorial people.  Unlike many book projects, which can sometimes take months to get rolling, this one is already barreling down the tracks.  It's a tight deadline–(roughly) 14 weeks to write (roughly) 18 chapters.  I only bring that up to explain why things may be a little sparse around here for the next couple of months–posting may be even lighter than normal, and you may see a few re-runs from the archives.  Now if I can just figure out a way to serve old blog posts to my family for dinner, we'll be all set.

More updates to follow…

78 thoughts on “I Think This Makes Me a Professional Dummy

  1. Trisha says:

    Congrats! You can make the deadline in spades. Let me know if you need help editing. That Technical Writing degree has to be good for something!

  2. edj says:

    Woo-hoo! That’s awesome! Congrats!
    Hey, I’m writing a book too! Except I have no publisher/agent/etc, and I’m really lazy. Will I ever finish? Time will tell. I have been working on it again lately though, after taking a several-month-long hiatus.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Congratulations on your new, awesome project!! Good luck as you chase that deadline.
    And as for the archived blog posts as dinner? Just throw some chocolate chips and sprinkles on them…they’ll never know!

  4. Jo@Mylestones says:

    Hurray!! I’m sure you’re as excited as you are stressed, right? 🙂 I laughed at the “Top Hat” reference. That was a question I might have asked. Perhaps for your next book, you can target folks like me for your audience–The Southern Accent for Dummies/ Yankees! 🙂

  5. Megan@SortaCrunchy says:

    This is extraordinarily exciting news! CONGRATS! And as a fellow Typepad fan, I can see how your enthusiasm would bubble over into general blogging chatter. LOVE this platform so much. I look forward to the book!

  6. Anil Dash says:

    Congratulations! It’s really inspiring to all of us who work at Six Apart to see anybody in the TypePad community who’s not just super-passionate, but also willing to share their expertise with the world. Thanks for sharing your announcement, and we can’t wait to see the end result. 🙂

  7. jeanstockdale says:

    How exciting. I am a Typepad user but there is so much I cannot decipher or understand and do not have time to do the research needed. I will look forward to reading more about the project and seeing the finished book. Blessings.

  8. sondra says:

    Congratulations! I know I will want to get that book! If someone with an Arkansas accent wrote it ( maybe you are from there?) maybe, just maybe, I can understand it as I am from AR! Really, I just enjoy your writing.

  9. linda sue says:

    Woo hoo – signed a “book deal” – this is very cool. Maybe all your loyal following needs to bring over meals for the next few weeks? Afraid my chicken and dumplings might be a tad toxic by the time I got there from Texas – but the spirit is willing if the flesh – well you know. Impressed and excited for you –

  10. Kristen says:

    Congrats! I have a friend who just finished writing a “Dummy” book. It was a really good deal for him but it definitely took over his life for a few months! Intense schedule.
    I’m hoping you shed more light on Typepad. Should I switch from Blogger? How is Typepad the best?
    (Guess I need to buy your book!)

  11. April says:

    How exciting! Check out the book Dream Dinners. It’s great b/c you can feeze meals w/o having to do a lot of actual cooking. My family loved the meals. Especially the swiss chicken. Hope that helps with your meal challenge.

  12. Carolina Mama says:

    Congratulations! How awesome! I have been wondering about TypePad, so now it will be available to all from the experts. You are as hilarious as ever – “serving up old blog posts on a platter! 😉 Do write that book when you figure it out.

  13. Lisa Sabin-Wilson says:

    Congratulations! Wiley is a great bunch of folks to work with and I’m really happy to see they’ve found an excellent, and passionate, author for TypePad For Dummies. Have fun with it!

  14. Hannah says:

    Congrats, Shannon and Melanie! Praise God, that’s totally awesome. Especially since y’all already love TypePad — now you can make other people love it too.

  15. Shannon says:

    Thanks, Anil–we're really excited about the book project.  I feel like I'm on a learning curve myself (especially with the new version rolling out!), but I'm eager to share what I'm learning.  You guys are doing a GREAT job at Six Apart–I'm a huge fan.


  16. Shannon says:

    You would love TypePad.  If you want to dig into coding, you can, but if you don't (and I don't, myself), you never have to deal with the headache of it.  You can do a really polished blog without all the technical hoops to jump through–I love it!

  17. Angie @ Just Like The Number says:

    I was so excited when I saw the news over at Melanie’s blog! I’m a huge fan of Top Hat, er, Type Pad, as well. I’ve used them as my blogging platform since 2006 and they’ve been so helpful every step of the way. As I’ve gotten more comfortable with blogging, I’ve wanted to get a little more creative with the layout of my blog. This is the area where I’ve needed a little more hand-holding than the TypePad knowledge base has been able to offer, so I’m hoping a dummy book will be helpful in that area. Congratulations! Can’t wait to see the finished project.

  18. BlueCastle says:

    Congratulations! Although, I have to say, I do think you could write another kind of book. I love reading your blog – it’s one of the few that I still read daily.
    And a random fact – it’s because of you that I switched over to TypePad last year. I liked your layout and got frustrated with Blogger and so I made the switch. I’m not pro, for sure, but I do enjoy blogging with TypePad and look forward to reading your book to learn more. 🙂
    Best Wishes!

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