What’s this blog series going to be about?
It might not have been clear to everyone that my book C# Smorgasbord was self-published. In short self-publish means that I did not have a publisher that backed me up when writing this book.
But if I don’t have a publisher how do I get my book printed? How did I get the book up on Amazon? How do I market my book?
Those are some of the questions that I receive on a daily basis. I’ve had in mind to write this blog series even before those questions arise. So I am going to try to answer as many questions as you might have, I don’t know how many blog posts there will be. Those that have followed this blog before knows that I tend to like lengthy posts, but this time I will try to do more posts that are a bit “shorter”. Because covering all of this in one post will just be too lengthy, I’ve joked about it and said that I can probably write a book about writing a book (bookception!).
If you have any questions just give me a comment, tweet or e-mail, I will try to answer all questions.
Where did the idea come from?
It all began long before I decided to make a book. During 2011, I blogged a lot, had a lot of in-house presentations for co-workers, did screencasts and spent a lot of time on StackOverflow.
So here I was, with all these great raw materials that I didn’t know what to do with. I felt that I wanted to reach out to the people that didn’t attend my presentations, that didn’t read everything in my blog and that didn’t even know about my work in the first place. This started to grow on me, in late November 2011 I started doing some research on how to convert a blog to a book. My initial thought was just to copy and paste everything from my blog into a (what I thought at the time) nice Word template.
This resulted in something looking like this:
At this time, I didn’t have any experience at all with publishing, authoring, type-setting or anything at all like that. Once I had copy and pasted everything from my blog, I had a Word document with about 120 pages.
I showed this to a couple of other developers and got comments like:
This is the worst type-setting I’ve ever seen
This got me thinking, if the first reactions are not even constructive, something must be wrong. I had an idea that I liked, I wanted to take a vast variety of different, interesting and new/old concepts/technologies.
So what now?
Doing it right
I am not the kind of person to give up and once I put my mind into something, I want to make it as good as possible. I decided to contact a bunch of publishers, just to see if they liked my idea. Never ever had I contacted a publisher before so I had no idea on what they expected from me.
My e-mail to the publishers contained an introduction to myself, a Little bit about my ideas and a link to the 120 page PDF with horrible type-setting. It didn’t take long before all the publishers that I contacted responded to my inquiry. Some of them had a more personal touch than others, some of them just felt auto-generated. Basically they (all) asked me to write a proper proposal and attached a quite robust PDF on how to do so. The proposal should be a chapter from the book with about 20 pages. It shouldn’t be the first nor the last chapter, but a chapter somewhere in the middle of the book.
Another thing that they asked was about the name of the project. Instantly when I got that question, I thought to myself:
What is a good Word for “a vast variety” that also is connected to me being Swedish?
Since the programming language in this book was about C# I instantly gave it the name “A C# Smorgasbord” (why “A” was removed is a later story!).
What about the proposal? Let’s go back to that for a second. None of the “chapters” in the PDF that I sent to the publishers contained 20 pages, I didn’t have a 20 page proposal. This gave me an idea of what a publisher expects. If the publisher expects 100%, the reader expects 500% quality.
With that in my hands, I now had a goal.
What kind of goal did I have before me?
You might think now that the goal was to create 20 pages and send a proper proposal to each publisher. On the contrary, I knew that there was a lot of work to do to meet everyones expectations so I wanted to focus on making something that the end-users liked, instead of something that was according to a guideline from a publisher.
I “threw” away the PDF that I had created, never to be looked at again (not entirely true, I just took a screenshot of it). I still had a lot of raw material and what I didn’t get into my first in-proper proposal was my presentations and screencasts, this is something that I wanted to cover as well.
Before I gave the idea up completely on the PDF, I did some research on “print-on-demand”. I found a company in Sweden called “vulkan“, I even created an account and had a dialog with them about how everything worked. There was a lot of problems with them though, one being the integration possibility with foreign stores (Amazon etc.). It was also a pretty expensive process, compared to what I later found.
I was back to square one, with only my raw material. But the hope was not gone, I now had a goal; I am going to publish a book — but how?
Check out the other parts in the series
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Congratulations to the winners!
It was so hard to decide just one winner, so I decided that I will give away 5 books to those that gave me the best reason to!
Here are the lucky winners:
I should be the lucky winner because I will use the book to spread your knowledge to other developers that really need it.
You know I love questions, and I have many,- and I often look to good books for answers. I hope, and believe, that this book will do just that.
So send me a book, and let me spread some answers! I’ll make sure of course that when the book is used for answers I will provide a link to the book for purchase.
So it’s a win for you, for me, and even more important, for the developers that we can reach
I always love different perspectives on programming and do own quite a lot of books on C# already. I would love to add your book to the list and it received fantastic reviews!
I’m a young student just looking to learn more and if you did happen to choose me as a winner this book wouldn’t go to waste. It’d go right on my desk with the rest of my references after I’ve polished through every page.
Also sharing on Twitter and FB!
The book is among not many ones that can show how can i use the primary programming language in a more effective way. From the “about book” section i guess that the book is a mix of Skeet’s “C# in depth” and Wagner’s “Effective C#”. Im willing to constantly improve skills in all and im not going to save money on this book, because using advices from it i will make much more money from work(im sure :)) But why not try to win a free copy of the book from its author?..So im in, participating! By the way, thank you for the work. I know that its really difficult to write reasonable tech book.
After reading the content of this book, I think it’s a great book of C#. I can’t wait to reading it.
I’m a tech book translator from China. I translated several C# books into Chinese, including Jon Skeet’s C# in Depth and Andrew Troelsen’s Pro C# 2010 and the .NET 4 Platform. If the publishing house would introducing this book, I will be happy to be the translator.
Hoping to be the lucky one.:)
While I’m going into embedded systems next semester, the introduction courses used C# and I’d like to keep using it for desktop-ish things. Lacking the courses a good book like this – especially when it covers more general subjects as well – would be wonderful
All the comments have been published, thank you all for participating!
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C# Smorgasbord is getting great reviews, specially on Amazon UK and to celebrate this I want to give a away a free copy of C# Smorgasbord!
Best of all, it’s the printed copy (which also includes the ebook bundle)!
What you need to do to participate:
- Leave a comment down below with the reason as to why you should be the lucky winner
- Share this post with your friends on twitter:
The best motivation wins and the winner will be notified via e-mail, so be sure to leave your e-mail address when you’re commenting below.
That’s it! Good Luck to you all!
The draw ends
September 20 August 26 (6pm CEST) and all comments will be published after that.
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As mentioned in my previous post “C# Smorgasbord will soon be available!” I have been working on a C# programming book.
I am now happy to announce that this book is published and available on CreateSpace and Amazon.com!
Grab a copy and let me know what you think!
It is also available on the following other Amazon sites:
James Sugrue from DZone was able to get early access to C# Smorgasbord and has written an article about it. He also had the opportunity to do an interview with me.
I have gotten a lot of questions regarding the digital copy/ebook, I’m happy to share that the PDF, epub and mobi versions of the book are free if you purchase a printed copy!
If you’ve purchased C# Smorgasbord and are looking to retreive the digital copies, just fill out this form.
The Foreword to the book is written by Kevin Pilch-Bisson who works as a Development — Visual Studio IDE Services for C# and VB.Net. The Foreword is available online and can be read here.
C# Smorgasbord covers a vast variety of different technologies, patterns and best practices that any C# developer should master.
Looking at everything from testing strategies to compilation as a service and how to do really advance things in runtime; you get a great sense of what you as a developer can do. By taking his personal views and his personal experience, Filip digs into each subject with a personal touch and by having real world problems at hand; we can look at how these problems could be tackled.
No matter if you are an experienced .NET developer, or a beginner, you will most certainly find a lot of interesting things in this book. The book covers important patterns and technologies that any developer would benefit from mastering.
Explore your possibilities
Improve your skills
Be Inspired to challenge yourself
Enjoy the read!
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