Some details about the publication process

Pascal asked in the comments to a previous post about the book about how I was going about writing the book and how the publication process works. It’s a good question, and something I meant to cover here anyway, so now seems like a good time.

I’ll start from the beginning with a brief summary of how I got started with this writing thing. I started off by writing a number of articles for IBM DeveloperWorks. DeveloperWorks are actually really good to work with, all I did to start writing from them was fill in the proposal web form within a couple of hours we’d sorted out what was happening, and off we went.

The ImageMagick articles I wrote turned out to be quite popular with the ImageMagick people. I suspect that’s why the editor for Apress, a lovely guy named Matt contacted me. He pitched the book to me, and I was originally hesitant. He spent a fair bit of time (a month?) discussing the project with me, and I ended up deciding that because it’s fairly closely aligned with the imaging work I’m doing for my PhD, I ended up saying yes.

Along the way I wrote a table of contents with Matt’s guidance for the book, which is what the contract with Apress is based on, and wrote a chapter of the book to determine if the timing estimates that Matt had provided were believable. I was also a little less scared of the process given I was on the review team for a Jeremy Wright’s upcoming blog book.

So, no. The book isn’t self published. I have Apress doing that for me.

The book is written in a Microsoft Word template provided by Apress. This has to happen that way because that Word document plugs into Apress’ publication process. I am not aware of a non-Word format option for this at the moment. It’s not a big problem though, as OpenOffice‘s support for the Word format is quite good. The entire manuscript has been written in OpenOffice, with the exceptions being the insertion of images into the document, and the dealing with change tracking and comments from the editorial and technical review team. Both of those tasks I do in Microsoft Word, as the OpenOffice support for image insertion seems to be buggy (I can’t get it to work for me), and the change tracking is significantly nicer in Microsoft Word.

It would be nice to give a presentation at LCA 2006 on what it’s like to write a book in OpenOffice at the OpenOffice mini-conf (if there is one), but we’ll have to wait and see if the papers committee accepts my real talk proposal, and what happens with some personal stuff I am dealing with at the moment (nothing bad, I’ll tell you all more about that when it’s more public).

Anyway, so there’s my book publication brain dump. Any more questions?