I hope things go well for you!
I hope things go well for you!
I'd love to hear your experience as you work through it, is this your first book? How did you find the publisher?
I went throught this experience a few years back. I think it was one of the best things I've ever done and was a major goal for me. I was warned by friends of mine who had written many programming books that I probably wouldn't make any money. They were right. So my advise is don't expect to get anything from the royalties and if you do, then it will be a pleasant surprise. Also prepare for some long nights to meet your deadlines.
1. Don't let them talk you out of having a CD in the book.
2. Make sure the audience is substantial and the market is not flooded with books on your subject.
3. If they offer free books to you from their catalog, take advantage of it. It may be your only payment besides the advance.
Good luck. And if you need any more advise on the process, just contact me.
Here's what I learned in writing my book:
400 manuscript pages is about (400*250) 100,000 words.
In 6 months, you have (6*30) 180 total days, or about (6*20) 120 non-weekend days.
So if you make it a daily goal to write 1000 words before you do anything else, you can hit your deadlines easy, and have ample time for revision.
In my own experience, 1000 words can take from 1-3 hours (depending on the amount of research you have to do), which leaves you a lot of the day to still work on your other projects.
Best of luck!
Heheh thanks for the responses and best wishes guys.
Yeah I'm scared as hell, I'll admit it.
It's with Charles River Media, and so far they're an extremely pleasing company to deal with. My contact is very nice and responds quickly to any questions I've got..
How did I do this?? Basically a few months ago, an editor for apress contacted me about doing a review on some C# game programming books (based on a search he did for my articles on gamedev.net). The books were ok, but I just felt like they were "missing" something...(I somehow got the impression they didn't like to hear that part... )
Anyways, I already occasionally teach a game programming course for adults, so I thought why not? I put together a small package and sent it out to several different publishers in the hopes of getting some interest.
I can already forsee some extremely long nights of writing, trying to get the chapters out the door...
Oh and yes there's a CD included.
@DavidRM: Just so you know, I hope you got a big fat royalty check thanks to my purchase of your book...it was the final step in "the conversion" over to Indie...(even though I'm still working on my first game)
@Cartman: Out of curiosity, which book did you write? I might already have it on my shelf...
DirectX 8 and Visual Basic Development
It wasn't a bad book but it lacked alot of things that could have made it much better. Most of which were out of my control. Sams wanted to reduce costs by providing source code online only but charge for a book that would have a CD. Then Microsoft reniged on some of their promisses about how VB.NET would work with DirectX 8. This resulted in me having to change the title of the book and the branding at the last minute. So the book didn't have a clear direction in the end. The publishers were very nice though but I don't think they focus enough on Game Development books. On top of this, one of their other companies had another VB/DirectX book coming out about the same time. So we kinda undermined each others efforts. I haven't made any profit on the books at all above the advance I got at the beginning. I estimated at one time that I made about $1-2/hour for all the work I did.
It was a great experience though, and looks good on a resume.
I haven't seen any royalty payments from my book as yet. Sales are going OK, I suppose. Indie game development is hardly a mainstream market.
That's a large part of why I create Joe Indie: to provide another way to promote the book while simultaneously opining/venting.
Another lesson of my first book: Be prepared to do your own promotion. The publisher will do some promotion for you, but unless the book takes off big, fast, you'll be on your own quite quickly.
Ways to promote your book after publication:
* Start a blog on the topic and post to it at least semi-weekly.
* Do presentations on the topic (or related topics) on local college campuses.
* Ditto for local libraries and bookstores.
* Go to the GDC and talk up your book to anyone who will listen. Be willing to do impromptu book signings.
* Also chat up the GDC bookstore operators so that they know about your book.
* In the same vein, add information about your book to your business card.
* Pitch presentations/roundtables on the topic to the GDC (and any other conference that seems reasonable).
And so on. It can be a lot of work, but it can also be a lot of fun. This year I've spoken at a handful of conferences, including one in Singapore and one in Australia. The "pay" for the gigs was mostly a free trip over there, but still a lot of fun and just great experiences overall. Keep your eyes open for the oppurtunities, and carpe that diem when they show up.
@Cartman: wow...that sucks how it all fell through at the end with DX8 for VB. Sorry to hear about it falling apart, but glad you came away from the experience feeling ok about it. As for the "salary", yeah I expect I'll end up with the same wage.
I was going to keep a spreadsheet of my hours worked, so that I could compare it with my contract rate.....I'm deciding against it though as I think the results would be too depressing.
@DavidRM: Thanks for the advice. We both have the same publisher, so I'm trying to digest as much as possible of what you say, even though I suspect we're targeting different groups.
My book is tentively titled "C++ Game Programming: From Start to Finish" which doesn't sound sexy at all. But I'll be going through game creation from scratch, creating a D3D9 rendering system (but leaving the options open to allow for an OpenGL or D3D7 rendering system later on), at which I'll keep the code updated on my website. The aim of the book is to teach "meat & potatoes" of game programming and try to get across what's REALLY necessary (rather than going ad infinitum into how to load a texture or capture input)..so it (hopefully) can help out struggling indies who are getting started and are flummoxed by some small barriers, along with the hobby game programmer interested in seeing something happening rather than wasting time on d3d device creation, etc..
Basically REALLY getting a game finished as opposed to just going through the DirectX samples or showing things piecemeal, without putting it into some kind of game context.
It's a little ambitious, and we'll see how it shapes up...
I'm aiming to get the game that we work on throughout the book done by xmas, then starting the writing in January....
Crossing of the Fingers start........now.
David made some great points about promotion. I also wrote a few articles on Informit.com (which is part of Sams parent company) and got paid a few bucks for that as well. That helped promote my book a bit. I didn't do the marketing like David did, however I would recommend doing it. Especially if you can get some free trips out of it.
Some of the nice perks I found with my publisher was that they paid me to work as a technical editor on a few other books. And I got tons of free books!
I think Charles River is a better publisher for Game Programming books since it seems to be one of their main focuses.
Also be careful of how the publisher classifies your book. The way mine was classified on the back of the cover, the people in the book stores would put it with programming or databases and that didnt' help my cause at all.
Oh and one more thing came to mind. When they send the information on to Amazon for their posting, you should make sure it's accurate. Sams sent off the wrong text to Amazon and it took me about 2 weeks to get the right text on their site. My publisher didn't help me and the Amazon machine moves very slowly.
@Cartman: Thanks for the words of advice here..
You both have been really invaluable...I just signed the contract so it's officially official!
I'll keep all that in mind while writing this beast and hopefully I can end up doing myself justice..
Even though I just started in this indie scene, I'm always ready to learn new things and new ways to further my goals..
You guys are awesome!
I'm sure you know this already, but there are similar books available already. What will be different about yours?
Why not? I need to start defending my product and promote my book..
Those links led to some very scathing reviews on those books, and points out the problem with most of them (that I'm HOPING to correct).
I wanna show a fairly interesting game from start to finish. I don't want to recycle or reprint DX documentation, and I don't want to create samples that aren't in any kind of game context..
I'm not knocking the other authors at all...I'm just starting to write and I can see already how volumous a task it is. I'm just saying that I'm hoping my vision of a book that I've always wanted to buy when I was a beginner/intermediate, shows through when I'm done the beast.
Everything about this project is a big risk, I'm just trying to minimize what I can by NOT doing what I don't like about the other books out there.
(And isn't that what being an indie is all aboot?)
This is really bad. Giving 6 months for an important task many times leads to buggy and unfinished product. I won't talk about many games rushed to be sold with alot bugs right in the beginning of the game. I'll be specific about one book "Beginning Game Audio Programming" which is in front of me and which had alot of bugs which caused me nightmares.
Yeah I'm kind of angry at the author for not responding to my email and nobody responding to my messages on his message board. Well I got answers to my questions by searching the web and now I can play MP3s in my game with less than 10 lines added to my code. While this book had geez well about 20 or less classes (I did not bother to actually count) and lots and lots of functions just to play,stop,rewind,volume, and others with mp3s. Why would I bother with these many classes/functions when I got everything I needed with less than 10 lines of code? Why do people make a super simple topic so super complicated???
I know this is the world we live in but I don't understand why such an important book would only have 6 months to be created.
Most likely because in about 6 months, DirectX9.0c will be updated..*grin*
Seriously, don't let yourself get TOO jaded. I'm trying to focus the book on a bit of "directx-independent" stuff, and not relying TOO much on the latest version. Most DX9 stuff CAN be ported back to DX8.1/7.0 without too much trouble, unless you're using a particular D3DX function that didn't exist in an earlier rev..
That being said, DX9.0c was the major selling point during my pitch, so I'm gonna have to cover UNICRUD for this version. *sigh*. Oh well. I'm looking forward to the experience.
MP3's?? People are still on that?? I thought everyone was migrated to ogg files...
Most game dev books are written in a 6-month timeframe.Originally Posted by Zbigniew
Of course, you could say that proves your point... ;-)
On the other hand, going much past 9 months risks your book becoming out of date before it's ever finished.
write something focus and sophisticated.. this is just me from a developer's POV.. I always look for a great game making book that's really technical worthy not just another "how to make games using DirectX #".
C'mon, we all know that making a game is not going to be well explained in a 500 pages book right ?? and beside that.. learning DirectX is just 20% from what ur gonna need to create a game.. you still need to learn about alot of things that doesn't involve DirectX/Direct3D/OpenGl
I've read alot of poor book about this.. if I want to write abook about DirectX/Direct3D I'll named it "Graphics programming in Direct3D" but I guess it won't attract noobs alot .
Authors: Please make your book personable. By that I mean, easy to read, however don't go overboard.
One thing I hate are books that try to bombard you with technical terms from the start that really break the flow of the book. The other thing I hate is when authors try to break the ice with comments from TV shows and movies throughout their book. I read one programming book (and I hope the author isn't here), that was very good, however it used a tremendous amount of references to StarTrek throughout each chapters intro. I couldn't take the author seriously after reading these silly comments.
@Cartman: Yeah I hear ya. A few comments here and there to inject a bit of humour and personality doesn't hurt, but at the same time, I'm sure 99% of the world could care less about my personal life or comments on <x>.
@Yanuart: As impossible as it sounds, that was my pitch to the book publisher. Create a book that attempts to hit all the pieces in making a game, beyond rendering a triangle or textured cube....I'm endevouring to succeed in this point beyond all others, as this is probably the most important point for me to do this book.