When I was approached to write the WordPress For Dummies book back in 2006, I was excited.. and scared. WordPress is a platform that I love…and, even more, I enjoy sharing the joys of WordPress to those who are new to the platform. Whether you’re making the move from another blogging platform to WordPress.. or just starting a blog for the very first time – - people that I work with are always amazed and excited with all the possibilities that WordPress holds for their site. It’s really a phenomenal tool. The fact that it is free — and the people behind the WordPress project are fantastic people, makes it even better.
I’m overwhelmed by the response I’ve received since writing it:
- WordPress For Dummies remains the #1 book on blogging at Amazon.com – - it’s been #1 almost since the week it was released in November, and has remained there ever since.
- The books’ overall Amazon ranking has lately fallen somewhere between 800 -1500. That is the rank based on sales and the rank is updated hourly – - so it changes – and the sales are compared to every single other book available on Amazon.. which means it is the 800th best selling book out of several hundred thousand books for sale at Amazon (or so… depending on the sales rank any given hour of the day).
- Wiley Publishing has completely sold out its stock after only 3 months of it being on the market – - they are completely OUT and have to print more!
- I have been asked, and have accepted, to speak at the SXSW Conference in Austin Texas in March on the book, as well as do a book signing
- I have also been asked to speak at WordCamp Dallas in March …
which, right now, is a bit tenative, but I will know for sure within the week whether or not I will do this. (@Charles, I have gotten your message and will be back with you by the end of the weekend – I’ve been crazy swamped!!)Update 2/1/08 – I will not be speaking at WordCamp Dallas, unfortuantely. Too many other committments at the moment to make the trip! Boo!
- I have been contacted about several other public appearances throughout the year…to speak on various topics ranging from design to WordPress to my experience with blogging and how it has opened doors of opportunity, like writing a book. All of the sudden I have to create a travel budget and try and decide which opportunities I can commit to, and which ones I cannot
It’s seriously sureal! I am deeply grateful for the opportunities and for all the people who have taken the time to contact me about the book.
I also have to say that I am SO far behind in responding to all of the people that have emailed about the book. At first, right after the book was released… I was really good about responding to each of the emails that started trickling in from people who have read it. Then, after about a month of it being on the market — my email exploded. I was downloading hundreds of email per day from people who have read the book. Some just wanted to say thanks! Others wanted to share their review of the book and their thoughts. Others have questions about certain parts of the book – - or questions about WordPress, in general.
I did actually have one marriage proposal haha!
It didn’t take very long for me to start doing what I said I wouldn’t do — not responding to my readers.
I had this lofty goal of vowing to respond to each and every single email I recieved from readers of the book. I really want to know and hear how helpful it is, and love hearing from people who have read it. I’m tickled to pieces that people take the time to write an email to let me know how it has helped them and how much they liked and appreciate the book! It kills me that I’m having such a difficult time getting through all the email and trying to respond to them all. Got any e-mail handling advice/ideas you care to share??
So.. onto the future…
I have gotten quite a few emails asking about the future of the book — and it’s a GOOD question! Obviously, WordPress is a platform in motion and one of the biggest challenges in writing this book was keeping up with the fast-paced, ever-evolving development surrounding the project. The book covered the three different versions of the software (WordPress.Com, WordPress.Org and WordPress MU) – so you can only imagine the scrabbling I did over here just keeping up with updates during the 9 months I was writing the book.
WordPress changes – - the book will try to keep up. What does that mean for people who have purchased the book…and future purchases of the book?
For right now… the book is current and up to date
The book, as it stands right now, is current and up to date. It gives all WordPress users a very good introduction to the software and its various different options. Options and features get enhanced and built upon in planned future releases.. and one of the biggest changes coming in WordPress 2.5 (the .Org self-hosted version) is the Administration Panel design changes.
As WordPress evolves.. so does the book. As a matter of fact, as I sit here and write this blog post – I have the WordPress.Org chapters open on my computer and am in the process of updating that part of the book so that it reflects the upcoming release of WordPress.Org 2.5.
What if I already bought the book…do I need to buy it again when you updated it??
That is a strong and resounding NO.
Every 18 – 24 months, or so, Wiley will have me write a revision to the book that will be printed and released in paperback form. Wiley is not planning a revision on the book until somewhere around August – November 2009.
In the meantime, I will give my readers access to free updates as I put them out….and, of course, as Wiley approves them.
Small updates with reprints
As it happened in January of ’08 – Wiley ran out of their printed stock of the book and had to go to a second re-print in order to continue to fill orders. When that happens, my editor does contact me and asks me if there are any revisions or changes that I’d like to submit before it goes to reprint. At this point, I am allowed to change up to 5% of the content…and that’s it.
This time around – I changed a few things for the reprinting. No major changes.. there were small itty bitty mistakes in the original printing… nothing major, just a caption on a screenshot that was incorrect (if you have the book, it is Figure 2-2 in Chapter Two – if you look at the caption and then look at the image, you’ll see that it does really coincide). I also had them change the details in the WordPress.Com chapters regarding the amount of disk space available with your free WordPress.Com account (it used to be 50MB – - but very recently, Matt Mullenweg announced that Automattic made the VERY generous gesture of providing 3Gigabytes of free disk space with each account!)
I KNEW this would happen…
Back when I was still in the negotiating stages for this book – I did forewarn the folks at Wiley that the WordPress For Dummies book would be the ‘Never Ending Story’ in the world of blog platform books…probably moreso than any other book they’ve released on software – I could be wrong, but WordPress development moves pretty darned fast!
They understood and moved forward with the project, with the plan to provide free updates to readers on the authors (that’s me!) website, and their own Dummies.com website, in between publishing new editions of the book.
I have also started the blog: WPAssist that I try to keep up to date with information about the various versions of WordPress… news, updates, resources, etc,etc.
WordPress For Dummies has taken on a life of its own – - and, along with the various WordPress projects, will continue to evolve as a resource for people who are new to WordPress, in all it’s different forms.
Will Lisa Sabin-Wilson always be the author of future editions??
This is a good question and right now, for the foreseeable future – the answer is yes.
There are at least a few dozen people I could name, off the top of my head, who are MORE than qualified to author this book. People have asked how I came to be the one? I made a contact at the SXSW Conference in 2006 that lead to the eventual contact with Wiley Publishing and the subsequent contract. It was a ‘Right place.. Right time’ kind of situation.
My contract has a ‘right of first refusal’ clause written into it that gives me first rights to authoring future editions of the book whenever Wiley decides it’s time (as stated, every 18-24 months, or so). If there comes a time where I am unable to continue with the project, we will look for a suitable replacement to continue with the project as time goes on…. or, if it gets to be too big of a project for me to continue handling on my own — we’ll be looking for a co-author.
Have you gone crazy yet??
Not yet… that is because my kung foo is strong.
Again with the thanks!
I can’t say it often enough – but a HUGE thanks to those of you who have purchased and read the book… and to those of you who have taken the time to write a review on Amazon.com about it, written a review on your own blog or have written privately to me about it!
And, again – if you have emailed me.. please know that my email box seriously overfloweth! If you have not heard back from me, it is not because I have not read your email…. or, worse, that I don’t care. I’m facing a bit of a challenge trying to manage all the email that has come in…this mini internet fame thing is sorta newish, so please bare with me as I work to try and develop a better system of responding to the overwhelming amount of mail that I’ve been getting in the past month or two.
Ok..moving on, then!