Last Tuesday I tweeted that I had turned in the manuscript on the latest book I was writing. (Didn’t get that tweet? Follow me at http://twitter.com/MermaidHel)
Alexis Grant (you can follow her at http://twitter.com/alexisgrant) tweeted me back and asked if I’d blogged about it.
Since I hadn’t, I thought I would post about it today.
I’ve been working on the TechCareers series of books for TSTC Publishing. I started last year by doing interviews for the book Biomedical Equipment Technicians. After that, the publisher decided he wanted to have one author per book. Since then, I’ve written Automotive Technology, Avionics and, as of Tuesday, Game Programmers and Artists.
The series is aimed at anyone interested in going into one of these fields. The plans are to give copies to high school guidance counselors around the state and also to sell the book on TSTC Publishing’s website. Each covers things you would want to know if you were interested in one of these careers: an overview of the career, job outlook, salary ranges, career paths, job titles and duties, work schedules, skill sets required, educational requirements, degrees, schools in the U.S. that teach the career and other back-of-the-book resources. I also interview lots of people for the book: experts, instructors, students, people working in the field. From those interviews, I create a profile for each person, along with one or two quotes that I weave into the text. Some interviews I can do by email. Some are done in person. For the Automotive book, I spent two days interviewing at San Jacinto College in Pasadena and another day down in Harlingen. For the Avionics book, I flew to Dallas.
To do this kind of book, you have to be organized. You have to do a ton of research online. You need to be finding experts and people to interview as you’re doing that research. You have to keep track of who you’ve asked to do interviews, who has agreed, who has been sent their profiles and quotes for approval, who has approved and who has sent edits. As you’re researching, you have to gather back-of-the-book resources. You begin a list of schools across the U.S., making sure you have addresses and website information on each and visiting each website to make sure it’s correct. You have to decide which schools you’re going to highlight in the book - usually two for the section on Associate degrees, and one each for Bachelor’s and Master’s. For each highlighted school, you include the required curriculum courses.
For each full book, I’m given a three month turn-around from assignment to submission.
The first one I wrote, Automotive Technology is now available. I don’t have a copy yet, but it’s up on TSTC Publishing’s website. It’s here! And Game Programmers and Artists (or whatever the final title will be) has flown from my computer to theirs. It’s gone!
So it’s been two full days. And I still haven’t cleaned the house. Bleh.
3 weeks ago