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Editor's Note: 'Book of Audacity' is Here!

Mar 04, 2011, 23:04 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carla Schroder)

by Carla Schroder
Managing Editor

At last, after two years of toil, my latest book "The Book of Audacity: Record, Edit, Mix, and Master with the Free Audio Editor" is hot off the presses. The digital edition is available now, and the dead-tree version is scheduled to be out March 15th. Please enjoy the free sample chapter Transferring Vinyl LPs (and Other Legacy Media) to CD.

I get a fair bit of mail from folks who want to write books, or think they do. There is a very easy test to determine if you have what it takes to be a writer: Do you write? Blogs, journals, diaries, articles, stories, whatever-- a writer writes.

The next test is your self-motivation. Writing is a solitary task and there is no one but you to keep you going. I love to write. My writing is fueled by the things I do. I learn something cool and want to pass on what I've learned. When someone asks me "Where do you get your ideas?" I cringe a little because I've heard it so many times. It makes me wonder what goes on inside their heads-- anything? My problem, like so many of my colleagues, is having more ideas than I'll ever be able to explore.

Deciding whether to write for a publisher or to self-publish is the next big decision. Self-publishing is easier than ever, both print and digital, and Linux has all the tools you need to write and typeset. Working with a publisher means more bureaucracy, but a good publisher helps you write a better book and relieves you of the production and distribution hassles. Either way you'll need to do your own marketing. A publisher will do some, but likely not enough.

Writing a book is many times more work than you ever think it will be. No matter how many times you proofread, or have someone else proofread, errors will creep in. Every time you re-visit it you'll see things that could be done better. It's easy to drive yourself crazy. On the other hand, the satisfaction of having actually written a whole book, something you can hold in your hands, is indescribable. Especially when you know you did a good job. Maybe not perfect, it will never be perfect, but pretty darn good is a nice feeling. A book is more than a pound or two of paper, it is the most valuable thing on Earth: Knowledge and experience in a compact, portable, durable form. It is the most efficient, inexpensive medium for passing on knowledge. Digital books can easily be converted to audio for people with vision and reading impairments, and finally make inexpensive color publishing possible.

A big issue to think about is editorial control and independence. I have hopes that the ease of publishing and distribution over the Internet is encouraging a whole new generation of talent in all arenas, who can connect directly with their audiences and cut out the middle-people. Which brings us to the importance of a free, unfettered Internet, but we know that already.

Resources

Interview with Amber Graner on Linux Pro Magazine: The Audacity of Carla Schroder

Traditional publishing: Most publishers have detailed information on topics they are interested in and how to pitch to them.
Nostarch Press "Write for us!"
Packt Publishing's Author Website
Writing for O'Reilly

Self-publishing is more work. You retain complete control, and might make more money.
POD for Profit: More on the NEW Business of Self Publishing
Self Publishing with Lightning Source PoD
Writers: Making a Living Off of Kindle?