One of my favorite literary agents, Rachelle Gardner, often talks about the traits of good writers. Recently she posted a list of things that happy authors don’t do. I’ve quoted a few traits from her list that also apply to authors of technical material.
Happy authors don’t …
1 … reject the idea of marketing.
No one can buy your book if they don’t know it exists. Your SAS Press team will help you, but the more you do to promote your book, the better your results can be. Learn what types of marketing suit you best, and focus on those.
2 … feel threatened by the editorial process.
The goal of editing is to make your book the best it can be. Although some editors are better than others, you can learn from all of them. Don’t take the feedback personally. Lean on their expertise and embrace their suggestions. Then the final product will be a polished reflection of you and what you know.
3 … believe in writer’s block.
Sometimes the ideas just don’t come. The blank page is the enemy and it’s winning. Although we all have days like that, as writers we sometimes blame “writer’s block.” Instead of throwing in the eraser, do something to get your brain in gear–exercise, take a break, listen to music. Don’t be afraid to write junk. The objective is to get your ideas on paper. You can always revise later.
4 … refuse to study the craft of writing.
Craft is a major element of writing. No one is born knowing how to write, and even the best writers can learn and improve. Read a book about writing, such as John Kohl’s SAS Press book, The Global English Style Guide: Writing Clear, Translatable Documentation for a Global Market. Study your favorite books and analyze why they work. Take classes or workshops in the art of writing. Focus continuously on your craft. As your writing improves, your ability to articulate improves, and your editor (and readers) will thank you!
5 … believe everything their friends tell them.
The industry is changing, and misinformation is rampant. Everyone has an opinion, but this is where it’s crucial to have a good relationship with your SAS Press team. They’ve already blazed the trail and know the pitfalls and challenges. Let them be your guides on your publication journey.
If you'd like to write a book for SAS, comment here. We're always looking for talented new users to write for us.