As Scott Mitchell points out, the royalties from a technical book shouldn’t figure into your retirement plans. Nevertheless, I went down this road (again) and co-authored a book featuring the ASP.NET Community Starter Kit.
Last summer I was debating if I should take on this assignment or not and looking at the CSK code. I’d have to say the CSK kept growing on me. Unlike the other starter kits the CSK implements advanced features, and it took a bit of tinkering and spelunking to grok all the concepts. I also grew fond of the code because in 1999 I was working on an application doing URL-rewriting and “themeing” the hard way (using C++ ISAPI filters), and I was truly appreciating the elegance .NET was bringing to the application.
When the “A-ha!” moments started to happen and all of the CSK code started to click, I decided I wanted to write the book. While I was knee deep in weekend writing, I decided I not only wanted to write a book about the CSK, I wanted to launch a website using the CSK. Although there are already 1,001 great technical sites on the web, this one would have my stamp on it (for better or worse). With the help of a great friend and colleague, the CSK (with some customizations) became the software for OdeToCode.
The site made it online well before the book did. I just received my copies last week. Even now after I’ve read Scott’s blog about the soft market, and DonXML’s post about the advantages of self-publishing, I’m still happy with the decision. I learned quite a bit during the experience and now have two pieces of work to show for it.
Funny aside: when trying to come up with a name for the site we used the Internet Anagram Server to produce words from the letters in our names (Poonam and Scott). One phrase it kept spitting back was Potomac Snot, which was tempting being as we are near the Potomac river, but she (ok, we) decided it wasn’t the best name for a technical web site. We reserve the right to use this name as a company name for local consulting gigs.