Scott Bain has an interested blog entry called Writing and Publishing a Book:
I recently completed the process of getting a book published ("Emergent Design"). It was my first time doing this, and I thought it might be valuable to some of you if I shared some of the things I learned about writing a book, and about the publishing world.
Now, it turns out that I made a bit of a mistake, but got lucky.
The mistake? I wrote the book, then went to the publisher. This can lead to a real disaster. You may have written a beautiful, smart, compelling book for which there is no market whatsoever. Even a great book that nobody wants to read is worthless.
In my case, I knew there was a market because the market had asked me to write the book. Still, if I'd gotten involved with the publisher earlier, several things would have happened:
- They would have kept me on a writing schedule. From time to time I got lackadaisical about getting the book done, and the publisher would have held my feet to the fire a little. That would have been healthy for me.
- They would have reviewed chapters as I wrote them, which would give me early and frequent feedback. In other words, I would have gained all the benefits of using a Lean/Agile approach.
- They would have helped me write. I didn't realize that publishers have extensive support mechanisms to help their authors; access to peer-review, copy editors, technical editors, and so on.
Good to know - thanks Scott! I've been thinking about writing a book again and was actually considering writing first and shopping for a publisher later. I guess that's the wrong approach eh?