Everything You Never Wanted To Know About the Book-Writing Process

So many of you have dropped kind emails and comments, asking about the progress of the TypePad book. Sometimes I forget that I haven't blogged more about the process–instead, I've been unloading it all on my ever-patient husband and real-life friends who are thinking, I'm sure, yes, please unload this on your blog friends for a while.

So here's the scoop, in numbered list format, because now that I'm writing a technical book I think in numbered and bulleted lists only

1. We're almost finished.

As of this week, the book is now officially, 100% written. If you heard shrieks of joy coming from the general vicinity of Oklahoma, that was Melanie and me, clicking the send button on our last manuscript deadline. A happy, happy day.

Even though the manuscript is written, we're by no means done. There's about a month of rigorous editing left, so we're still at this task full time. You TypePad users know how many changes have been rolling out this fall, so we'll be doing some rewrites and updates, to be sure the book covers the absolutely most recent versions of the platform. We hope (pretty please? fingers crossed?) that the entire project should be put to bed by late November or early December.

2. The book is going to be really good.

Why yes, I believe I'll toot our horn for a minute, thanks. Melanie and I feel so good about what we've been writing. This book will have an audience with wide-ranging experience levels–some readers will only just now be understanding what a blog is, while others are moderately experienced TypePad users who want to take their blog to a more sophisticated level. Walking that line has occasionally been tricky, but we feel like we're doing it really well. There is a lot of information in this book for true beginners at TypePad, including an impressive number of easy-to-follow tutorials (the kind Melanie is known for–she's the Tutorial Queen).

For bloggers with a little more experience, there's plenty of good stuff, too. There's a whole section on the book called "Taking Your Blog To the Next Level"–it's all about monetization, domain mapping, advanced templates, custom CSS, etc.

And for long-time TypePad users who are a little befuddled by all the changes to the platform, this book should be a really helpful tool.  We're writing it to the new version of the TypePad, documenting all the latest and greatest features.

When we're closer to publication date, I'll post a more complete summary.

3. It will be on bookshelves in late February.

But you can preorder it at Amazon right now.

(Well that sounded like an infomercial. Maybe I should offer you a can opener if you call in the next 15 minutes.)

(I'm kidding. I only have one can opener, and it's crusted over with Spaghettios, which is all I've had time to feed my family for the last two months. Which brings me to my last point…)

4. This has been really hard.

Much of this project has been great. Working on a day-in, day-out basis with Melanie, of course, is just like a big party. Or, at least, the kind of party where you sit around with your nose in a laptop and drink copious amounts of Diet Coke and talk about capitalization and hyphens. Which is, come to think of it, my kind of party. It will embarrass her if I say this (though you'll notice that's not stopping me)–Melanie's technical writing skills absolutely blow me away. I have learned so much from her. Our editor Susan is my new hero–Melanie and I count our lucky stars that we were assigned such a patient and informative editor for our first book project.

And, of course, it's great fun to write about TypePad, a product I've loved and used for so long. I know so much about it now that (I'm not kidding) I dream about the TypePad dashboard when I sleep, and I can't wait to have enough time to walk some TypePad buddies through all the new updates personally.

But yes, it's been hard. Melanie and I entered this project with our eyes wide open–we knew the deadlines were fast and furious, and that many software changes were afoot, even as we wrote. The hard part has been balancing this with family. This is the first time I've worked a solid 40-hour (or more) week in over 12 years, and integrating that with an extraordinarily busy family life has been really, really, really, really (I'll say it again) really hard. I know, women do it every day, for many long years at a time–if you're one of them, my hat is absolutely off to you.

So that's it, in a nutshell. Thanks for your patience as posting as been so sparse (fair warning that it will continue that way for a while, especially once the book is officially finished and I crawl in a cave to nap for three weeks).

16 thoughts on “Everything You Never Wanted To Know About the Book-Writing Process

  1. Paula says:

    Well, I have enjoyed your blog for a couple of years now and as I was trying to find the right “blog place” (do I need a little techy help?), I decided on Typepad – thanks to you! :o)
    I’m looking forward to getting the book when it comes out. Thanks!

  2. Blue Castle says:

    Like I said before, I picked Typepad to host my blog on after I found your blog and liked the layout you were able to have with it.
    I am excited for you and look forward to reading your book. πŸ™‚

  3. Ann Voskamp @ Holy Experience says:

    Clap, clap, Clap, Clap, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP!!!!!!!
    (That’s me in the front row finding my feet for the thunderous applause.)
    Can’t. stop. smiling.
    Going to bed a happy woman.
    Spaghettios have done their job, Typepad has been demystified, and it’s all been done with aplomb, Shannon-humor, and a good measure of prayer. This world is a beautiful place.
    Like you, my friend….
    WELL DONE, WELL DONE!
    Sleep well, sweet Shannon…
    All’s grace,
    Ann

  4. John says:

    That is awesome! After proof reading Mary’s book about three times last year I know firsthand what a huge accomplishment this is. Congratulations!

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