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From Idea to Print

From Idea to Print

Author: Roger E. Sanders
Publisher: MC Press Online
Publication Date: October 2011
Subject: Writing

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About this title
In this book, Roger E. Sanders—author of 22 books and a frequent contributor to numerous magazines and trade journals—covers everything you need to know to turn your technical knowledge and expertise into a published article or book. Roger's comprehensive guide walks you through the process from beginning to end, describing in detail the steps required to turn your ideas into printed works.

Drawing on his extensive personal experience, Roger clearly outlines and explains the process of going from idea to print by covering topics such as selling your idea to a publisher; negotiating the terms of a publishing agreement; working with an editor; developing a working outline; writing the first draft; using tables, artwork, and sidebars; avoiding libel, plagiarism, and copyright infringement; revising for perfection; soliciting feedback; submitting the completed manuscript; addressing a copyeditor's comments; reviewing galleys; promoting the finished work; and much more. Each chapter contains real-life examples from Roger's own writing projects that were turned into published articles or books.

Most technical professionals possess a wealth of valuable knowledge but all too often lack the know-how to get published. The process of getting published is involved and often a long and tiring journey. It is not simply a matter of knowing how to write well (although that, too, is covered in this book). It is also knowing how to “sell” your idea to an editor and being able to negotiate your way through the maze of choices you will be faced with once you have received an offer from a publisher. Let Roger answer all your questions about just what it takes to get published and show you how to get started. More important, let him teach you how to become a successful, published author.

With From Idea to Print: How to Write a Technical Article or Book and Get It Published, you will:
  • Gain the knowledge, understanding, and motivation you need to become a successful, published author of technical articles and/or books
  • Become familiar with the basic structure of a typical publishing agreement and the terms and conditions commonly found in this important document
  • See examples from real-world technical writing projects that were ultimately published by McGraw-Hill, Prentice Hall, CMP Media, IBM, and other top publishers
  • Get up-to-date information on the latest article and book idea submission practices
  • Benefit from the expertise of someone who has actually gone through the writing and publishing process repeatedly and successfully
About author
Roger E. Sanders
Roger E. Sanders is the President of Roger Sanders Enterprises, Inc. and a Senior Consultant Corporate Systems Engineer with EMC Corporation. He has been working with DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows since it was first introduced on the IBM PC (as part of OS/2 1.3 Extended Edition) and is the author of 22 books on relational database technology (21 books are on DB2 and one book is on ODBC).

For the past nine years, Roger has authored the Distributed DBA column in IBM Data Management Magazine (formerly DB2 Magazine) and, over a 14-year period, he has written numerous tutorials and articles for IBM's developerWorks Web site as well as for publications such as Certification Magazine and IDUG Solutions Journal (the official magazine of the International DB2 User's Group).

In 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, Roger was recognized as an IBM Champion for his contributions to the IBM Data Management community; in 2010, he was recognized as an IBM developerWorks Contributing Author, and in 2011, he was recognized as an IBM developerWorks Professional Author for his contributions to IBM's developerWorks Web site. He lives in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina (population 39,042).

Contents
CONTENTS
About the Author
Acknowledgments
Foreword by Kim Moutsos
Foreword by Jonathan Gennick
Foreword by Susan Visser
Preface
Introduction

Chapter 1: Before You Begin
Writing Is Hard Work
Obstacles That Get in the Way of Writing
How to Write a Lot
Procrastination
A Word About Writer's Block
“Anything Worthwhile Is Never Easy”

Chapter 2: First Steps – Technical Articles
The Process for Writing a Technical Article
Analyzing Publications
Obtaining Writer's Guidelines
Writing an Effective Query Letter
Following Up
A Word About Rejection
Next Steps

Chapter 3: First Steps – Technical Books
The Process for Writing a Technical Book
Finding a Publisher
Obtaining Submission Guidelines
Crafting a Book Proposal
Writing an Effective Query Letter
Responding to a Request for Your Proposal
A Word About Simultaneous Submissions
Following Up
Handling Rejection
A Word About Literary Agents
How to Tell Good Agents from Bad
Finding a Reputable Agent
Next Steps

Chapter 4: The Publishing Agreement, the Author Questionnaire, and Working with an Editor
The Publishing Agreement
The Structure of a Typical Publishing Agreement for a Book
The Structure of a Typical Publishing Agreement for an Article
Negotiating the Terms of a Publishing Agreement
The Author Questionnaire
Structure of a Typical Author Questionnaire
Working with an Editor
Getting Started with the Writing

Chapter 5: Developing the First Draft
Create a Working Outline and Write to It
Craft a Strong Opening
Use Headings and Subheadings Appropriately
Adhere to the Basic Rules of Good Writing
Find Your Voice and Set the Proper Tone
Use Transitions Effectively
Finish with a Strong Closing
A Word About Publisher Templates
A Word About Production Notes
Your Work Doesn't End When the First Draft Is Done

Chapter 6: Using Tables, Artwork, and Sidebars
Tables
Creating Tables
Table Titles and Numbers
Referencing Tables
Artwork
Line Drawings
Computer Screenshots
Photographs
Text Figures
Figure Captions and Numbers
Referencing Illustrations and Text Figures
Storing Illustrations
Final Comments on Using Illustrations
Sidebars
Always Consult with Your Editor or Publisher

Chapter 7: Staying Out of Trouble
Bias-Free Text
Guidelines for Writing Bias-Free Text
Final Thoughts on Bias-Free Writing
Defamation, Libel, and Slander
Testing for Libel Statements
Practical Ways to Reduce Liability for Defamation
Plagiarism
A Word About “Common Knowledge”
Final Thoughts About Plagiarism
Copyright Infringement
What Exactly Is a Copyright?
Who Owns a Copyright?
How Long Does a Copyright Last?
The Public Domain
Things That Cannot Be Copyrighted
The Fair Use Doctrine
Obtaining Permission to Use Copyrighted Material
A Word About Self-Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement
If in Doubt, Ask

Chapter 8: Revising for Perfection
The Purpose of Revision
Early Revisions
“Kill Your Darlings”
Add What Is Essential
Polish Your Prose
The Final Draft
Revising as You Develop the First Draft
Final Thoughts on Revision
Getting the Opinions of Others

Chapter 9: Soliciting Feedback
Why Feedback Is Important
Finding the Right Reviewers
You May Be One of Your Best Reviewers
When (and How) to Ask for Feedback
What to Do with Feedback You Receive
Human Nature and Getting Feedback
Addressing Your Editor's Questions and Comments
Rewarding Your Reviewers
Making the Feedback Process Work
Completing the Manuscript and Readying It for Publication

Chapter 10: Last Steps
Preparing the Front Matter and Back Matter
Front Matter
Back Matter
Obtaining Endorsements and Testimonials
Submitting Your Manuscript for Publication
Reviewing Copy Edits
Reviewing Page Proofs (”Galleys”)
Author's Alterations
Handling Mistakes Found After Printing
Responding to Readers Who Point Out Errors
Promoting Your Work
Final Thoughts

Appendix A: Sample Book Proposal
Appendix B: Example of How to Rework Copyrighted Material to Make It Your Own
Appendix C: Tools Every Technical Writer Should Have
Index
Reviews
“As a professor who teaches graduate computer science courses, I stress the importance and need for my students to continually improve their technical writing skills. It's not enough to be brilliant technically; you have to be able to share this brilliance with others, often in a written form. This book provides my students with essential ingredients to develop their technical writing skills. . . . It will be of use to them not only during their studies but also afterward, regardless of whether they stay in academia or enter industry.”
— Franck van Breugel, PhD Professor in Computer Science, Adjunct Professor in Mathematics, York University, Toronto

“There's no guaranteed recipe for getting a technical article published, but Roger has written the closest thing that I've seen yet. If you're serious about technical writing for publication, read this book.”
— Cameron Crotty, Content Director, TDA Group

“Roger provides clear and sound advice on the many topics surrounding getting published. It is hard not to find something valuable in every chapter!”
— Steffan Surdek, Co-Author of A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum

“I wish Roger had written this book 10 years ago. It would have made the whole process of writing my books so much faster and easier.”
— Dwaine Snow, Senior DB2 Technical Evangelist, IBM Corporation, Author of nine books and numerous articles on DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows

“I have known Roger Sanders for many years and have read many of his books. This one is certainly one of the most useful IT books I have ever read. It will be of great help to anyone who is interested in writing an IT-related book or technical article. I heartily recommend it.”
— Jeff Browning, OCP, EMC Corporation, Author of a forthcoming book tentatively titled Virtualizing Oracle Databases Using VMware vSphere 5

 
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