9 January 2003

Question & Answer Sessions

Why does Linux suck again?

Because it's not FreeBSD. Worse yet ... it's RedHat.

Who is/are deek, freak, and the geek?

No idea. You might have misread the e-mail. Use Tucows. (This all made some sense at the time.)


Go there in May.


Becki needs to find a couple Ford unix geeks. (I.e. you have to already be working for Ford.) Post things to the mailing list if you have anything interesting.

And Tracy's looking for a marketting job at a company that doesn't suck.

Who wants to present at Penguicon?

Talk to Tracy. Or John Guest.

Where's Ed?

Ed's here, man.

Anyone futzed with 802.3ad?

Doesn't sound like it.

"It's new! It's buggy!" -- Jeff Haas

Any reasonably-priced LCD projectors?

Get on's mailing list; they have good news. Look into leasing places that lease them and buy a used one.

Want to be a roommate?

Troy might be looking, but he's not desparate.

Secure "local" file transfers?

If there's _any_ port open, you can jam ssh through it.

Doth Sprinte PCS sucketh?

It depends where you live. Check the hacks for getting your phone to report signal strength. And report _every_ dropped call; eventually they'll get better antenna.

What is for?

Letting Mike Lucas know what you'd like to donate. They have developers overseas who don't even _have_ a computer.

Has PocketPC improved over Palm?

PocketPC will run NetBSD, if you're nice to it. Other than that, I can't think of a good reason to get one.

802.11g is the "54Mbit version of 802.11b" ... anyone got it?

Doesn't sound like it.


Michael W. Lucas talks about:

                     Publishing Computer Books

            Or, how to eradicate your copious free time

Why Write a Book?

    It's a great idea!

    Fame and glory!

    So that someone will hire you to do the sort of things you

    wrote the book about.

    Help a community.

    Money.  Lots of it.  Huge piles.  (Yeah, right.)

Why Shouldn't You Write a Book?

    Writing a book is an abhorrent idea.

    It takes all of your time.

    "How you do things" is no longer adequate.  You need to understand
    the underlying priciptiles.

    "Once you become a writer, the world will treat you with a base ball
    bat the rest of your life."
        -- Didn't catch who said it

How to Sell a Book

    Write something else first ("let them come to you" method) magazine
    articles, etc.

    "Beat on doors" method.  Write something, get submission guidelines,
    and submit frequently.

Choosing a Publisher

    Go to the bookstore, get some authors name, and talk to them.  Are
    they happy with their publishers?  (Pick the least unhappy one.)

    Publisher publicity -- will they promote your book?

    Secret tip: if you have a clue, publishers will take anything
    you're willing to write down.

Designing your Book

    Topic?  The first book on any given topic sells the most.

    Competition?  Who's competing (and how many) with your book impacts
    whether it's worth the effort.

    Contents/outline?  The flowchart for your work.

    Don't write what you know -- know what you write.  Have enough
    interest in your work to keep you motivated.

Actually Writing a Book

    Writing tools -- the publisher will almost certainly want it in
    Microsoft Word format.  [sigh]

    Surrender all free time.

    Carryout menus are good.

    (estimated word total) x 1.5 / days = words per day

    Take your laptop everywhere.

    Remember, nobody but you sees first draft

    Start each day by revising yesterday's work

    Hard part:  write well

    If you can't write well, rewrite until it sucks less

Using your Friends

    Get anyone possible to tech review

    Your proofreader is your new best friend.  Buy them drinks, find them
    dates, take them to dinner.

    Honesty is more important than praise.

Dealing with Your Editor

    Editors are like sysadmins -- they have users (writers), each "user"
    has their own unique requirements.

    Read the submission guidelines (the FAQ).

    Remember:  it's your book, it's their job.

    Learn to enjoy rejection

    Keep expectations low.  Some editors will send your work straight to
    the publisher with no real editting done.

The Publishing Industry

    Simultaneous submissions tend to make publishers grumpy.

    Rights -- electronic rights, translation rights, etc.

    What constitutes "publication?"  Web sites, for one.

    Agents.  If your idea is good, try to sell it yourself.  An agent
    will take 15% of everything.

How to make Editors Pound on Your Door

    Reputation -- don't need much of one.  Just don't suck.

    Deliver press-ready work.

    Be flexible and responsive

    Be accurate!  Try not to put too many stupid errors in your work.

    Unique topics are a big plus

After manuscript Delivery

    Await editor's pleasure.  Be patient.  It'll take a while.

    One day, proofs will arrive:  review carefully, return quickly.

    Set up web page for your book.  It's a good place for errata,
    for one thing.

After Publication

    Your first copy!  Try not do get too loud celebrating.

    Your first errors!  They'll be in there.  Don't panic.  Fix it in
    the second edition.

    Next book?  If your book is any good at all, you'll be asked to do
    another one.

Dealing with your Legions of Adoring Fans

    Always give readers an answer, even if you say you don't.

    "Hi!  I bought your book and it was coo!"  Thanks.

    "Hi.  I bought your book and it sucked.  Loser."  Sorry you feel that way.

    "Hi.  I bought your book and it didn't cover setting up my circa
    1984 GerbilWare software-based math coprocessor, so could you ..."

    "Hi.  I saw a link to your book and you seem like a nice guy ...
    could you tell me how to get rid of the porn spam in Outlook?"

    "Hi!  I want to be your new best friend."

Some mail simply defies classification

     [ Imagine a very nice "Absolut BSD vodka" parody advert ]

Getting Paid

    This happens eventually.

    Advances are against royalties.  You will not see another penny until
    the royalties excede the advance.

    You get royalties after the publisher gets money in hand.  (After
    the book is bought, after the bookseller pays for it.  It could
    be several months.)

    Understand the "royalty period" and "holdbacks."

    It could take a year or two to get any real cash in hand.

    Get sales figures.

Look for Absolute OpenBSD -- coming soon!

    Okay, eventually.  See ... you're learning.

Rumor & Innuendo (No names, please)

Paul is having a party on Saturday.

[BING-BONG] Who the hell is showing up at 21:47?

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