WordPress for Dummies

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? :)

87 Responses to “WordPress for Dummies”

  1. Lindsey says:

    Oh my goodness, that is so incredibly awesome!!! Congratulations, I am so proud of you!!! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Lisa, you ROCK!!!!!!

  2. Lisa says:

    Thank you, Linds! I’m pretty excited :d

  3. UKStevieB says:

    As a legitemate and full fledged “Dummy” I look forward to reading your book! At the moment I am plowing my way through “Blogging For Dummies” by Brad Hill, and whilst it does have a good section on WordPress I will definetely be purchasing your book too. :)

  4. Leanne says:

    Dang – haven’t even written the first page and already sold a copy. Ain’t that how it always goes for you? :d



  5. Amy says:

    Wooooo Hoooooo! How very cool! I am very excited for you. Where can we pre-order? :d

  6. Congrats and Good Luck. I am sure it will be great!!!

  7. Lisa says:

    UKStevieB – I read Brad’s book, as well . . I bought it to kind of catch that “Dummies” groove :) He did such a good job with it, too.

    Amy thanks! As soon as I have pre-ordering information, I shall post it. :)

    Leanne: – – Thank youuuuuu :) Haven’t even put pen to paper yet and already sold a copy?? No pressure, eh? lol

    soapbox – – thank you. I know I’m ready for it… but are YOU ready for the next several months??? Mmmmmwwwwhahahaha :p

  8. Heather says:

    Congratulations on your book contract. You’ll do a great job at the writing — even for us dummies!

  9. Michael says:

    Congratulations! How exciting… I’m going to want a copy too, autographed even! ;-)

  10. […] WordPress for Dummies Due out in August 2007. Though I share in her apprehension that the books will become obsolete the minute it comes out, it will also bring a lot of attention to WordPress and it would surely be used to some capacity by many people. Congratulations Lisa! (No Ratings Yet)  Loading … tagged Blogging News, Business of Blogging, linkyloo, lisa sabin and wordpress for dummies If you enjoyed this post from Weblog Tools Collection please Subscribe to the RSS feed. Related Posts from the Past: […]

  11. Dave says:

    I’ll be sure to pick up a copy, since this thing is probably meant for people like me.

  12. Lisa says:

    Heather: Thank you so much! I’m planning on learning a few things along the way, myself ;)

    Michael: You’ve got yourself a deal on that.

    Dave: I wonder if the term “Dummies” is considered politically in correct in this day and age? Heh.

    Diamond dog: Thank you :D

  13. WOOOO HOOOO! I want a signed copy!

    Way to go!

  14. Lisa says:

    You got it, Peter – thanks!

  15. Scoop0901 says:

    How do the rest of us dummies get a signed copy?

  16. Lisa says:

    I’m sure there will be arrangements made at the time of release for signed copies :) I’ll surely see what I can do for that, Scoop – thanks :D

  17. Astro says:

    Very nice to see that the Dummies know you’re a perfect match for them. :d

    I’m sure you’ll do fine, and I know what you mean about never considering yourself as an author until it happens. I still look back from time and time going “how did this happen?” and then laugh my butt off!

  18. Jeremy says:

    Do you realise that WordPress actually capitalises the P? It’s CamelCase.


  19. Lisa says:

    I do know that, yes! :) I’ve been known to write it both ways – – however I suppose NOW I’ll need to pay more attention, eh? ;)

    Thanks, Jeremy!

  20. Count me in for a signed copy!

    Plus, I don’t want to buy from Amazon or B&N; they take a slice off the top of your revenue, so make sure I can either paypal you direct or send a postal m.o. so you get more of the profit!

    (yes, I am that convinced of your abilities and the book)


  21. Scoop0901 says:

    Thanks, Lisa, and congratulations.

    When I buy tech books, I go for the signed copies. Why? Because the down-and-hard geeks books get used and re-used. The others get read once, sit on the shelf, and gather dust. When someone comes along later and can use the book, it usually brings a smile to get a book handed to them that has the author’s signature. When ya make it big, **that** copy will be on my shelf, not being handed off to a friend in need. :-?

    Have fun writing. I spent 20 years in newsrooms, then walked away to the life of freelancing. I’ve ghosted a couple of books (yes, that means I wrote them, but Mr. John Somebody got the credit), so I know what it’s like. Have fun, it can be a great adventure.

  22. Lisa says:

    Very nice to see that the Dummies know you’re a perfect match for them. ~Astro

    Knowing you, Astro – – I’m sitting over here trying to decide if that’s a compliment….? :p Certainly you’re not calling me a dummie, are you? Blonde hairs, notwithstanding. >:p

  23. Lisa says:

    Charlie, that is very sweet – thank you :) In the coming months, I will probably call on you for another shot of confidence like the one you just gave me .. I may need it! :)>-

  24. Lisa says:

    Scoop – your reasoning on the autographed books makes total sense. I don’t think we’ll ever have to worry about me making it *big* – I like my privacy too much. :-b

    My husband has requested a signed copy – – he said that it has to say “This is the very first signed copy of this book – Number One for my Number One.

    Can we hear a collective “Awwwwwww” Sickening, ain’t it? ;))

  25. Scoop0901 says:

    His comments sound like someone I know. :d\ :d/

  26. james says:

    That makes me so happy to hear!!! Good luck

  27. I refuse to learn more as my brain is just melting. I am looking forward to the holidays ending this year. Seems outr industry has slowed a lot this year.

  28. […] เป็นคนหัวทึบจึงชอบอ่าน …for Dummies ดีใจที่จะได้อ่าน WordPress for Dummies จาก Lisa ซึ่งจะวางจำหน่ายภายในเดือนสิงหาคม ปีหน้า […]

  29. Gordox says:

    You must be very excited and anxious!!! From looking at all your work, you don’t need luck. You’ll do fine and it will be all over before you know it. You already have the knowledge, skills, and experience – all you have to do is put it on paper!!!

    I can’t wait to read it! Oh, I like looking at the pictures in a book. (hint, hint)


  30. […] I posted about the book deal on my personal blog when I was finally able to make the announcement after the ink was dry on the contract.  The folks at Wiley have been great so far – – very helpful and encouraging.  […]

  31. Tina Chaulk says:

    Congratulations. That sounds wonderful. I love your site design and your blog and will be returning to read more.

  32. […] As you can probably guess – I’ve been spending large portions of my days writing like a fiend and working to meet the deadlines for the WordPress for Dummies book. I shall have 25% of the book completed in about another two weeks – of course, that is before my editors get their hands on it and whip out their red pens and send it back to me… but, at least, until then – I will have the satisfaction of at least feeling like it’s done and accomplished. I’ll just put the pending red pen edits out of my mind and pretend it’s all done and dusted… for now. […]

  33. […] days to go on the book deadline – – will she make it? Or will she lose her sanity in the process? Time will tell. I have yet to […]

  34. Lea Peterson says:

    Hi Lisa – I’d like to write a Dummies book. Their web site says that I need to have an agent. I know you were solicited for your book/content. What do you suggest? Find an agent? Just send them a resume? I’d appreciate your opinion.


  35. Lisa says:

    Hi Lea – thanks for stopping by. Wiley Publishing information about submitting a proposal on their website.

    I was approached by Wiley, so I really don’t have any insight on the best way to go about contacting them. However, I would recommend putting together a proposal on a book you are interested in writing – including topic matter/content and spend some time doing market research on the topic so you can give Wiley some persuasive information on why your book would be a winner for them.

    Best of luck!

  36. alucardi says:

    A very inspiring story on the WP4D book developement. Since I’m a novice in this world of “blogging”, I can’t wait to have it in my hands and read from beginning to end. Buona Fortuna!

  37. […] needed to look for something new for ChrisHoyt.com. Lisa is currently finishing up work on, “WordPress for Dummies“, so I consider her an expert when it comes to WordPress! I’m still using the XMark […]

  38. Jim says:


    Anxiously awaiting the book. Any idea on a firm release date?



  39. Lisa says:

    Jim, thank you. All I know is what I’ve posted here in my most recent blog post. As soon as I have new information, I will surely update my site with it. Thanks!

  40. shane says:

    Too funny, I just bought the book from coles here in ottawa today, I saw it and thought it would be a good gift if some one were to buy it then it just jumped into my hand and the next thing you know my bank card was in the swipey thingy.
    Good stuff so far, just flipping pages right now!!

  41. Lisa says:

    Shane – I guess I should have warned you about the bank card swipey thing.. it’s a side-effect of the book.. hahah :) Hope you enjoy it!

  42. Debbie says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I really enjoyed your book, and I certainly learned a lot. I had no concept at all of WordPress. However, there’s been a couple of things I’ve tried that haven’t worked like the book said it would. I’m using the redie-30 theme. I added a static first page and named it “Welcome”. That page shows up correctly. The problem is, there’s a page up called “Home” with the exact same information as “Welcome” and it won’t go away. Do you have any pointers on this? Thanks for your help.

  43. Lisa says:

    Debbie – your theme has the “Home” link hard coded in the header.php file:

    • ">Home
    • < ?php wp_list_pages('title_li=&depth=1'); ?>

    Remove this part of that:

  44. ">Home
  45. Glad you enjoyed the book – cheers!

  • Debbie says:

    Good morning, Lisa! I made the change you suggested and the “Home” page went away, but now I have 2 more questions:

    1. I went into my header.php file and removed this:
    <a href=””> before I found the one you instructed. Did I hurt anything?

    2. In the list at the top of the webpage, the “Welcome” tab did not move into the position where the “Home” tab was but instead, is underneath in a second row and is cut off at the bottom. Can this be easily fixed?

    Thanks again for all your help.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Debbie – I would suggest going back to the original designer of the theme you’re using and request assistance from them. I’m not overly familiar with that particular theme…. what you’re talking about sounds like a CSS issue.

  • Debbie says:

    I just spent about 2 hours looking around your various sites. What an experience! And what valuable information I found there! I signed up for your email newsletter (as ablemable, it wouldn’t accept my other one) and look forward to updates. I hope I get to the point I can hire your assistance with my blog. Thanks again.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Debbie – thank you! And thanks for subscribing :)

  • […] out the window the moment I upgraded to version 4. So I bought a copy of Lisa Sabin-Wilson’s WordPress for Dummies the next day, spent Saturday and Sunday reading the relevant chapters, and set up a trial WP […]

  • […] also discovered a handy little helper for those of us not coding in our sleep by way of For Immediate […]

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  • […] neither Rob or I have any clue how to set such a thing up, we’ll be holed up with a copy of WordPress for Dummies.  This is bound to result in some […]

  • […] site and trying new things.  Ieven went so far as to purchase WordPress For Dummies (written by Lisa Sabin-Wilson, who incidentally designed the current theme that I’m using). I’m stubborn and I […]

  • […] have ordered my copy of WordPress for Dummies over at Amazon (including shipping) instead of getting it at my local bookstores because it is […]

  • Lisa L. says:

    Great job! Celebrate! <:-p That was cute about your daughter. Good luck.

  • Lisa, I forgot (well, too many things going on — don’t ask) to tell you I ordered your book just after it was released. It was even on my ToDo list! (I still have many, many things to cross off that list — you got precendence over many of those, even!)

    It’s a great book and lots of good information. Planning an updated version? ;)

  • […] Many of you who’ve stumbled upon my About page know that I am a self-taught web/blog designer. I don’t have a degree in computer science, nor have I ever cracked open a book on CSS or WordPress For Dummies. […]

  • Joe says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I just picked up your book the other day at my local Chapters store. I’m pleased with what I have read so far and I am particularly interested in your section about using WordPress as a full-blown CMS.

    Even after reading that section about choosing a hosting provider, I’m having a hard time deciding on one. I’ve used GoDaddy for domain registration and I was thinking about giving them a try. However, GoDaddy is not on WordPress’ list of recommended providers. AN Hosting is another possibility. I know you’ve been asked this a zillion times, but if you had to choose one of those two, which one would you choose? Feel free to email me the answer if you don’t want to publicly endorse one.

    Anyway, good job on the book.

  • Joe:
    Don’t fret and worry too much about “recommended hosting providers.” I use 1and1.com and HostMonster.com for hosting seven blogs, four sites, as well as maintaining sites for several others. I’ve never had problems with either host.

    Both have an implementation to install a WordPress blog, but I detest those packaged installers. I’d strongly suggest using a self-hosted installation of WordPress over a Fantastico or other install of the software. That way you’re always up-to-date (if you do the update), and not, at times, one to two months behind on current versions.

    Hope that helps!
    Dave J. (Scoop0901)
    Philadelphia, PA USA

  • Bob says:

    Hi Lisa:

    Just a note to say how much I appreciate your efforts to help us better understand the power and capabilities of WordPress.

    I wish you luck with your new project and hope that you will be able to include some information about version 2.7 currently in development. Judging from the wire frames (http://wordpress.org/development/2008/10/wordpress-27-wireframes/), it looks like 2.7 will change things up in a big way. It must be terribly difficult to keep things relevant when the target is constantly moving.

    I look forward to reading your new book.

    Best regards,

  • Lisa says:

    Thanks, Bob! It is a bit of a challenge to keep the book up to date for the latest and greatest to come out of the WordPress camp… but it’s a fun challenge that I happily embrace :)

    The second edition of the book is due out early December ’08 and will cover the latest release of 2.7 (which is due to be released in November).


  • I have Vol. 2 on pre-order now. It’s shipping on Nov. 3. Hopefully, like many other books I pre-order, it will be hear that day, but if not, well, the world won’t end. Right? 8-|

    No signed editions, though. hhhmmmm. I guess I’ll be waiting, so I’m packing a lunch ’til then … ~o)


  • Hello all,
    I am glad I found Lisa’s blog. I was hoping she or maybe someone else here could snswer a question for me.

    Will there ever be a time were we could get an up to date version of ‘WordPress for Dummies’?

    The book looks promising for people like me who want to know all about how to design blogs. The little bits and pieces about WordPress that you find on the internet, the 20 page pdf documents and the 3 minute vidoes, just don’t cut it. I need real, thorough information.

    But there is one problem with with WordPress for Dummies. It is never up to date. I don’t doubt that it is probably hard to keep up to date on something like this, so I am not blaming the author or anything, but the first WordPress for Dummies that I seen was when I first got the WordPress bug, and WordPress 2.5 was already the standard version, and WordPress for Dummies was for a way earlier version if I remember correctly.

    The latest version, which is suppose to address the 2.5 version, is due out this month, but WordPress is alread at version 2.7.

    The question I have is what good is an outdated book ever going to be to anybody? I mean, if people are using WordPress 2.7, then how is WordPress for Dummies that explains version 2.5, going to help anybody?

    This isn’t a post to be critical of the author’s material, but it is a valid question I think.

    I mean really. If you wanted to find out how to tune up your car yourself, would you go buy a book that showed you how to tune a Model T? I don’t think so.

    Does anyone here know if there is another wordpress book that’s up to date what would be a good alternative?

    The WordPress for Dummies has been the book I have been seeing the most, ahd it has some good reviews, and I was almost going to get the earlier version until I noticed there was a later version, so I decided to wait for the later version, and now I find that even that one isn’t really up to date.

    So now it looks like I am either going to have to find another book on WordPress, or heaven forbid, maybe have to just grab all the bits and pieces of WordPress info on the internet and see if I can assemble some resemblence of an up to date WordPress document myself. I REALLY don’t want to have to do the latter. ;D

    Misato Katsuragi

  • Lisa says:

    @Misato glad you stopped by – and your questions are valid. WordPress development moves so quickly, we try to keep the bok as up to date as possible. The second edition coming out soon is up to date as of WordPress 2.7, not 2.5 – – Amazon.com hasn’t updated their description yet. In between book editions, I do release free bonus chapters to bring users up to date on the changes WordPress has made, and we’ve rewritten the book once a year to keep the book as up to date as possible.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • Bill says:

    That’s pretty impressive to release a book on 2.7. I must admit that I am new to blogging and have yet to upgrade to 2.7. The release of your book should work really well with my timeline and that of many others.

    In the product details it does list “2 edition” which I did not see before.

  • […] template before ad she is doing some really cool things. I look forward to her book coming out on WordPress For Dummies. There might be some dummy actually mentioned in the […]

  • Mbak maya says:

    :d It’s a nice blog. Make me as a woman, want to write (post) more and more. Tks alot.:)>-

  • […] Ashram in the Bahamas walking along the beach in the afternoon. It is my reward for reading “WordPress for Dummies” for over two […]

  • Christina says:

    I bought your book but I still have questions. My hosting account is through godaddy.com. WordPress was downloaded through them and I am have a difficult time uploading to wordpress because of this. I have a theme that I can post advertisements but I’m not sure how to do that. Hopefully you can help me. Aslo, I was able to upload a theme but I’m not that fond of it and I tried uploading a different theme the same way I uploaded the first and it’s not showing up. Can you help me?

  • […] well. Me, I’m new here in cyber-space and am learning OJT, as I go. Relying heavily on “WordPress for Dummies,” and whatever forum answers and blog posts I can get my hands […]

  • […] uses custom fields and special loop queries – that users feel compelled to pick up a “Worpress for Dummies” book in order to use. That is not what I’m trying to do with the Clam Shell. This […]

  • sarah says:

    So I’m reading wordpress for dummies and I’m trying to install the wordpress.org software. I’m up with you until the last step: running the install script. This is where I am having some problems. When I type in the address I get a message that says “oops, where did you get such a link?” Then it says 404 not found. Do you have any suggestions? Because if I can’t get past this point I have the feeling I just wasted a lot of money!

  • sarah says:

    ahhhh, never mind. My webhost installed it for me. :)

  • Miguel says:

    Lisa, I read your book (excellent, by the way) and I believe I found an error on page 292.
    In Item number 5 you refer the reader to the Style.ccs sheet and suddenly, while talking about this page you refer to a certain content in the Header page as if it was in the style sheet.
    Tou say
    “If you’re changing the default theme, this is what you are looking for:

    <a href="/”>

    ” … (this code is on the header page and the reader will never find it on the style.css)

    And it should say:
    “If you’re changing the default theme, this is what you are looking for:

    #header {
    background: #73a0c5 url(‘images/kubrickheader_otro.jpg’) no-repeat bottom center;

    Please discard this comment if I am wrong. Just trying to be helpful.

  • Miguel says:

    Sorry. I meant to say

    background: #73a0c5 url(’images/kubrickheader.jpg’) no-repeat bottom center;

  • […] I’m off. I got my blueprints: WordPress for Dummies, and I got my materials, WordPress.com, this barnnotes blog, a whole loft’s worth of […]

  • Ron says:

    I want to thank you for your book. It has been very helpful to me. I have a long ways to go, but your book is a big help.

    I would like to make a suggestion. A page on your site with links and code snippets (listed by the book’s page numbers) would be a great help for those of us who are poor typists. I know how lazy (of me) that sounds, but I doubt that I would be the only one to benefit.

    Lastly, is there a protocol to report suspected errors or typos in the book? A couple of places, I suspect such, but it may well be my own error. It wouldn’t be the first time, for sure.:)

    Thanks again,

  • […] just finished reading a book titled ”WordPress for Dummies by Lisa Sabin-Wilson.”  The first half of this book was mostly a review for me.  It covered many things I […]

  • eebo says:

    Looking at the dates of previous replies I’m a little late lol, but fantastic work on the ‘WordPress for dummies’ 2009 ed.
    Though I’m experienced in html and css this has helped so much with the .php work, can’t wait to get into the customization chapters!

  • […] going to admit how long it took to find the answer to that. I will tell you that I found that in WordPress for Dummies an excellent resource.) Posted in My F*N Blog Learnings | Leave a Comment […]

  • DJ says:

    I have just purchased the second edition from Amazon, so I am just getting started. I know the screen shots are in color but printed in black and white, but they are very dificult to read in my copy. Is this just a bad copy, or is it just the way it is?:(

  • […] uses custom fields and special loop queries – that users feel compelled to pick up a “Worpress for Dummies” book in order to use. That is not what I”m trying to do with the Clam Shell. This […]

  • […] plugins, FTP, php coding, parameters… I soon realized that I needed to find a prequel to the WordPress for Dummies […]

  • […] software and creative strategy at a university. I even bought the book… WordPress for Dummies by Lisa Sabin-Wilson. It’s good, I think. (It’s not you, Lisa, it’s […]

  • […] software and creative strategy at a university. I even bought the book… WordPress for Dummies by Lisa Sabin-Wilson. It’s good, I think. (It’s not you, Lisa, it’s […]

  • […] Or maybe I’m not as smart as I pretend to be. Either way, looks like I have to go back to WordPress for Dummies before I can build anymore on this site (including the follow up page to Creating My Dream […]