Book Update 3/15/2010

And now the latest update on the Fan To Pro Book:

  • It's done and available at
  • It'll be available internationally through other stores in about 5-7 weeks.

 . . . and that's about it.  I'll be bringing copies to Chibi-Con for sale if anyone wants to buy an autographed copy.

Now what did I learn?

  • There really is a point to stop editing.  There are five errors I found in the latest copy of the book, one an arguable use of plurals, another an appendix subheading sizing, and three where I violated some of my preferred header punctuation rules.  I looked at this, realized that I'll be editing this thing forever, and just pushed the button to publish it.
  • In editing for style, I recommend going in "sweeps" – pick a style issue and spend time troubleshooting it throughout the book.  If it's headers sizes or formatting questions, etc. pick a subject and if possible do it in one go.  It's easier to focus on one thing.
  • In formatting and setting up a book know your word processor and take advantage of every time saving tool especially styles (for the non-word processing, styles lets you assign a style to parts of a book then with one go change that style and thus alter every part of the document using that style).  By using styles in Microsoft Word I was able to do all sorts of experiments with formatting fast.
  • Always assume a second edition – I did.  I even have a to-edit version ready to go and will probably do a second edition early 2011 to correct any errors and add any new information.
  • is overall easy to use – it reminds me of with some seriously impressive formatting and publishing tools.  It's practical, actually simple in many cases, and is focused on doing whats important over flash in most cases.  In a few cases some of the workflow seemed clunky and the design philosophies didn't seem consistent, but that's a minor argument – the company, to put it simply, built an entire web-based publishing system, and when you see it work, it's impressive.
  • Covers are still a pain.
  • Again as I harp on the fear that self-publishing will produce a wave of lousy stuff (well more lousy than some of the stuff out there) is an illusion.  It takes a lot of effort and commitment and knowledge to get a book out there.  That's a filter for both quality AND dedication right there.
  • I need to start buying more small press books.  There's all sorts of neat stuff out there.

So there you go.  Now will I continue this update series?  Probably intermittently, ramping it up for the next books.

Books?  You got it.  Stay tuned . . .

– Steven Savage