On November 15th, I posted about a potential… thing … that may drastically change my life for the next several months. I also stated that I didn’t want to mention it publicly until the contract was a sure thing. For any of you who crossed your fingers and thunk good thoughts, as I asked – I thank you. The contract is now, officially, a sure thing – and I’ve word from the Powers-That-Be™ that I can now make it public and official.
Back in March of this year, I was asked to attend the SXSWi conference in Austin, Texas to participate as a speaker for a panel called “How to make $$ with your blog design skills” (for anyone interested – you can listen to the podcast of that presentation by downloading it here. Proceed with caution and do NOT listen and drive – it has been known to put listeners to sleep!) At that conference, I had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to meet some very talented colleagues of mine who work in the same niche as I – designers who design blogs. Colleagues whose work I have both admired and been inspired by over the years. One of those people was Susie Gardner, author of “Buzz Marketing With Blogs for Dummies” and owner of Hop Studios. Susie must have caught on to my obvious passion for WordPress, because she asked me if I would be interested in assisting in writing a reference book on WordPress. At the time, I said yes – but then didn’t hear anything about it again.. until last month.
Last month, I heard from Melody Layne, an Acquisitions Editor for Wiley Publishing. She wrote to inquire about my interest in being the lead author on the soon-to-be-released “WordPress for Dummies” book. Wiley Publishing does all the “..for Dummies” books – and they were looking for an author for the latest WordPress edition. Did I say the lead author – - what I mean is the single, solitary author for WordPress for Dummies.
At first, my feelings were mixed. On one hand, I’m thrilled to be able to write about a topic that I both enjoy, and am very passionate about. In addition, it does feel rather good to be recognized, on such a level, for the work I have done with WordPress, and the knowledge and experience I have gained by providing technical support and design solutions to several hundreds of WordPress users over the past several years. It is also a very humbling sensation because I know so many folks out there today who are literal experts on Wordress, so to be asked to write this book is a pretty awesome feeling. Keeping in mind that a Dummies book is not meant to be overly technical – for instance, from a developers standpoint. A Dummies book is meant to be a reference guide for users new to the platform, or those users who want to learn more about it. I know quite a few developers who are PHP gurus and plugin developers – - many of whom have works that I will probably highlight in this book when I touch on “must have” plugins and themes that can vastly extend the possibilities of your WordPress blog.
On the other hand – - I’m saying to myself – “What on earth have I gotten myself into???” Can I really do this? I’ve never written a book before. Me? An author?
Let me just say, if my high school English teacher ever comes across this blog post – she may suffer a stroke brought upon by non-stop laughter and giggles. Never, in a million years, would I, or anyone who has known me, ever thought it was in my stars to author a book of any kind. And yet, the contract with Wiley Publishing is a done deal.
People I have spoken to have cautioned: “A WordPress for Dummies book will be obsolete the moment it hits the shelves” – due to the strong and active development behind the WordPress machine. While I do, very much, understand that sentiment, I also disagree, because there are some very fundamental elements to blogging with the WordPress platform that do not change, or have changed somewhat – but the basic concepts remain the same. I know by the time this edition is published – we will have experienced WordPress 2.1 and quite possibly even version 2.5. I’m excited to see the evolution of WordPress and its growth from the great platform that it already is today.
Who really knows what the future brings for WordPress and its vast community of developers and users. What I do know is that almost all technical ‘Dummies’ books come under review at least every 12 – 18 months for potential revisions and future editions. As the original author, I do have the right of first refusal on those future editions – - so this could become a regular gig for me – one that I would happily welcome.
Over the next several months, I will be hard at work clicking away on this keyboard, writing WordPress for Dummies, due to be in stores by August 2007. I’m very excited .. and very nervous, all at the same time. I thank Wiley for putting their faith in me as their author of choice for this book – - and I thank Susie Gardner for believing in me, and my passion, enough to recommend me for the job. And of course, I need to thank my family, in advance, for what is to be several months of writing, deadlines, editing and an exorbitant amount of coffee.
My daughter went to school today and proudly announced, “My Mom is a Dummies author!“, to anyone willing to listen. That, alone, is worth the price of admission.
Wish me luck, will ya?