Book writing business: Lessons learned with Rick Wicklin


Being an author can be a tough gig. Lots of writing, reviews, edits, cover approvals…the list goes on and on. But often the good times outweigh the tough times. And we’re so lucky that many of our authors have written more than one book for SAS Press.

One such author is Rick Wicklin. Rick has written two books for SAS Press: Statistical Programming with SAS/IML Software and Simulating Data with SAS, so I decided to ask him, “What lessons have you learned from being a two-time author?”

Statistical Programming with SAS/IML SoftwareHere is Rick’s answer, in his own words: “I’ve learned that when writing a book, the hardest decision is not what to put in the book, but what to leave out.

Obviously, an author is an expert in the book’s topic and knows more than can easily fit in a single book.  In my first book, I included some chapters that are very specialized and detailed. These chapters are valuable for some readers, but other readers are likely to skip those chapters.

When I started writing my second book, I realized that a book about simulation that tries to cover everything would be impossibly thick. Consequently, I had to make hard choices about what topics to omit.  Fortunately, several colleagues and reviewers such as Bob Rodriguez, Senior Director, Advanced Analytics R&D at SAS, gave me valuable advice. I was able to consolidate examples and simplify the presentation. I omitted some topics and put information into five online appendices. I think that the final book not only includes a wealth of practical examples, but also prepares the reader to tackle topics that were omitted.”Simulating Data with SAS

Rick’s answer points to the need for qualified reviewers of SAS Press books. Did you know that you can register to be a reviewer?


About Author

Shelley Sessoms

Community Manager

Shelley Sessoms is a Sr. Digital Marketing Specialist in the Customer Engagement Marketing division at SAS. She manages several communities on the SAS Support Communities and also curates the SAS Learning Report and SUGA Download newsletters.. During her 20 years at SAS, she has written numerous customer-facing communications, as well as helped close to 100 employees and customers become authors through the SAS Press program.

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