This year has been action packed for us both for good and bad. On the positive side we've gotten more involved in PostGIS and PostgreSQL work on many fronts in writing, consulting, and general project involvement.
On the more somber side, we were stricken with personal tragedies this year.
A little before our PostgreSQL: Up and Running book went to print, my dad died unexpectedly of a brain hemorrage.
My dad was my first hero. In terms of goals, interests, and personality we were very much alike and I owe my excitement and eventual settling on engineering,data analysis, and programming to him.
Although he used his time well, his death was still an ominous reminder of the little time each of us has to make a dent on existence.
More recently my little sis, Vicki, was mugged outside her Brooklyn residence and suffered some broken bones and lacerations when fighting off and then chasing down her assailant.
Luckily she came out fine.
Book writing: PostGIS in Action, Second Edition
On a more positive note we've started to write PostGIS In Action, Second Edition. The experience is vastly
different from last time and is looking to be much smoother. The new model Manning is offering to authors is their Agile Author model which is DocBook/Subversion mix with a chat/annotation interface that allows you and your reviewers/editors to comment on each paragraph of the manuscript online. They call it their LiveBook model.
Hopefully it will come in handy as we get into the review process. The successor to the current LiveBook is supposed to be similar but using Git instead of Subversion and a couple of usablity enhancements to the online interface. This is a way more pleasurable interface to work with than the old Word/OpenOffice model we had to go with in the last edition. It's easier to hyperlink, make mass changes, and because we use our source editor to edit the book, our writing workbench just becomes an extension of our coding workbench.
It's really great to see how technology is impacting the publishing industry. We haven't worked with any publishers besides Manning and O'Reilly yet so not sure how other pulbishers manage their system. For O'Reilly, we wrote a short-book so we didn't fully experience their publishing platform. They too used a DocBook/Subversion model but if they have something similar to LiveBook for interacting with Editors and Reviewers, we weren't exposed to it.
PostgreSQL book, will their be another?
The reviews so far of PostgreSQL: Up and Running of what little reviews there have been, have been fairly positive. We just really wish more people would coment on the book. You can comment here. Many people would have liked a longer book, but liked what they saw. Are we planning on writing another PostgreSQL book. We hope to, but it depends and if we do it will probably be more of a full length book of 500 or so pages, but we'll still focus on the neat things that PostgreSQL offers like how to use full text, PL/V8, JSON, R, a watered down PostGIS intro making your app location aware, etc. and the various other popular extensions. It really helps to have more people reviewing the books and commenting on Amazon and other avenues. As Baron noted in What's your opinion of High Performance MySQL, it's really important that people review and comment on a book whether they liked it or not because:
Potential book buyers consider how many reviewers there are before buying a book. More reviewers means more people are using the techology and thought the book valuable enough to read.
Increase in sales means, if we ask to write a bigger book, O'Reilly and other publishers will see it as less of a risk and sponsor our work.
Then there is the question of why don't you just self-publish? We've always wanted to do that, and perhaps in the future, but right now
we think it's best to go with well-known publishers especialy as we are still getting our feet wet. Because:
People take a technology/Book more seriously if they see a well-known publisher behind it.
A good publishing company really does a lot for you: they proof-edit, they help you focus your style, they keep you on track, they index, they gather the reviewers, they handle the packaging, they provide you a platform, and their brand-name helps you sell more books. So though they take a good chunk of the profit, I think for a good publisher it's well worth the money. More importantly especially if you are writing a new topic, they take on some of the risk, by guaranteeing you at least X amount for your efforts.
Thanks for the condolences. glad you liked our book. Yes reviews are much appreciated. I don't think we are the only authors that appreciate them :)
I almost forgot about the regional Amazon sites. We do check those as well. Some people have provided reviews which helps for targeting the next book (if we write one), and encourages us to write another longer one.
UK and France have provided reviews.