Some of my book writing experience

Louis wrote his pain in book writing. I can feel his pain:) It reminded me of my experience during the writing of our SSIS book. Fellow co-authors Andy Leonard and Kathi Kellenberger also have some interesting blogs on their experience.

Initially, I found 2 things very frustrating. They are all related to screen capturing:

1. It took a while to learn and get used to various macros embedded with the Word file we used. I had to ask around my fellow co-authors how to do certain things, like inserting screen shots, how to add footers for them, etc. Once I got that figured out, it was all right. Thanks Andy for sharing.

2. Another thing is to get the theme of the display right. A lot of publishers have their own standards in capturing screen shots, so they have a consistent look and appear nice on paper. Once again, after it was done and verified by the publisher, it was all right. One tip I have is to save your default display setting as a theme file. And save publisher preferred theme as another file. You can then easily toggle between those 2.

When it comes to actual writing, I didn’t use Word. I wrote everything in VIM, a clone and enhanced version of VI. I would write formatting notes to a section of text if it is supposed to format differently in Word. For example, I would wrote (Header 1) Package Meta Data Storage for a header. When inserting a screen shot, I would write (Screen Shot 5 here). When I am ready to format the document, I would copy and paste everything in Word. I then would look for notes I wrote for myself to get formatting done correctly in one shot. I found this worked pretty well for me and my productivity increased.

For screen shot capturing, I used SnagIt. SnagIt has auto capturing and auto number files, which is real handy. It pays to get that working, because you will save time later on.

Hey Louis, keep me in mind in your next book writing gig:) I’d be glad to co-write a few chapters.

4 responses to “Some of my book writing experience”

  1. I have only like 10 or so screen captures in the entire book, so that wasn’t nearly as big of a problem as it could have been. There are well over a hundred pieces of data models though. Thank goodness that is the artist’s problem. I will be who ever they are, they are really annoyed by all the graphics they have to redo, but no way could I do them, I pasted from ERwin, which has darn good support for pasting code.

    And I will keep you in mind, if ever I find myself feeling the need to give up another 8 months of my life writing another book 🙂

  2. Heh, LOL.

    I just contributed one chapter to the book, so that wasn’t too bad. I can see it will take a lot of time if you write the whole book or many chapters. But hopefully it will be worth it in the end.

  3. Nah, Avin, I wish;)

    So far I’ve only contributed to one book that you will get from bookstores. I have contributed to 3 books that you can get from SqlServerCentral’s web site. They are real books in the sense that they have ISBN numbers and registered throught various publishing groups, like the Library of Congress, etc. But you won’t get them from a traditional bookstore, ASAIK.

    Maybe in the future I will contribute to more books…

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