Author to author: top tips for new writers


SAS Press prides itself on being a place where users come to help other users. Collaboration is key here—not just between authors and the SAS Press team, but among authors alike. So we asked two of our authors, one experienced and one currently working on his first  book, to share their top tips for new or potential authors who are thinking of writing a book on SAS or JMP. Here's what they shared.

Michele Burlew, author of six SAS Press books as well as the forthcoming SAS Hash Objects: A Programmer's Guide:

  1. SAS Press really collaborates with you.
    We couldn't agree more! We work with you every step of the way, from writing through editing, production, and marketing. As we say, write what you know, and leave the rest to us.
  2. While you're not likely to make a full-time living from royalties, you will gain a reputation that will help your career.
    It's true that your book most likely won't be the next Da Vinci Code, but by sharing your expertise with other users, you're taking your knowledge to a whole new audience.
  3. There's a huge sense of personal accomplishment when you write a book.
    Writing a book is not an easy undertaking—it takes time and effort, and it's a process to write what you know in a format that is both understandable and enjoyable for a wider audience. Taking pride in that accomplishment is important.

Michael Tuchman, currently authoring his first book with SAS Press (yes, Michael, that means we hope there will be more!), the forthcoming PROC DOCUMENT by Example Using SAS:

  1. SAS Press is tolerant of your schedule outside of your writing. (Well, at least John West was!)
    True for all of our editors, and SAS Press in general. We know that publishing your book as quickly as possible is in everyone's best interest. We also know you have a job (and a life) competing for your time, and we take both into account when determining your book's timeline.
  2. If you haven't published before, the amount of editing needed may be more than you expect.  Do not be hard on yourself, especially if you have not written for this format or audience before.
    Users are indeed a unique audience.  Some authors have a knack for writing with users in mind, and others find it takes more work. Our review process helps get your writing where it needs to be.
  3. It is helpful to edit in a different room than the room in which you write. This helps you keep your "editor hat" on, and lets you be more critical. It is even more helpful to get somebody else who knows SAS to help you proofread before you submit sample chapters to SAS Press.
    Great suggestions, Michael. While having someone familiar with SAS proofread your chapters isn't required, we know other authors have also found user feedback to be invaluable before submitting chapters to us. For example, one of our authors presents his chapters at regional user group events first in order to get direct-from-users comments before submitting them to his editor.
  4. The little things are the big things. Be prepared for that.
    Sometimes small reviewer comments can lead to the biggest or most complicated revisions. Don't worry, we're here for you—we offer feedback, support, and help throughout the writing and review processes.
  5. Although appearance is important, SAS Press is wonderful at helping authors relax about form.
    Content is king. Formatting your text is important, but getting the content down is our first priority, and we have in-house experts that can help with formatting your text during the production process.
  6. Have a checklist for each chapter.
    A checklist is very helpful to have, not just for each chapter but for the book as a whole. Checklists help guide your writing, and they make sure nothing gets left out.

Ready to put your own ideas and expertise on paper? Learn more about submitting a proposal.



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