The traditional print publishing industry requires long production cycles before any book or publication can see print. This situation has become more acute for authors like myself who publish books on annual software releases. I hope to use this blog to publish information, updates, addenda, ruminations, and other "mid-cycle" missives. I hope you enjoy it.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Deadlines

There are three basic deadlines in the CAD book business: the first is Back to School. If you want to make this, you need to have a bound book sometime in early August. To hit such a deadline, you need to have manuscript complete end of May, early June at the latest. If you can't make back-to-school, then you set your sights on Autodesk University which is typically the last week of November or first week of December. It is so important to have a bound book at AU, it almost cannot be overstated. People browsing the show floor, like to be able to hold a copy in their hands when contemplating if they will buy one. Looking at a flyer or a catalog is not at all the same thing. If you can't make either of these, then set your sights on the holiday season. While perhpas not the most sought after stocking stuffer, many a "CAD geek" have no doubt hinted to their spouses and significant others about getting the latest Revit or AutoCAD tome.

So what happens if you cannot make any of these three? Well, skip it. There will be a new release a few months later. Not much point in releasing a "new" book on the old release... This actually brings me to the fourth critical date. (This is really the first sequentially, but nearly impossible to achieve). That date is: FCS with the product. FCS is "First Customer Ship." The best time to release your new CAD book is the same time the software releases. Achiving this "holy grail" is nearly impossible with the way the publication process is currently run. If you wanted to get a book out for FCS, you would have to be finished writing two months before FCS. Tall order considering that we rarely have a release candidate build that early. So you would have written your entire manuscript on beta software, which is not always advisable.

A few years ago, I set out to write an update to my Revit book for the 2008 release. Back-to-school came and went, AU came and went, and oops, there went the Christmas season. So, we decided to push the book to the 2009 release. We were able to get it out earlier in the 2009 cycle this way and had a bound book late in the Springtime. Still a few months after FCS however. So, this goal still remains quite elusive...

It takes a good two months (sometimes more) to go from manuscript files through copy edit, proof reading, page layout and time on the press. For me, this two month period is agonizing. More so is the "silent time" between when the final review of proof is made and the time when a bound book finally shows up at my door. This year's edition of Mastering Revit Architecture did finally arrive at my door early in August, so we just made it in time for back-to-school.

This leaves Mastering AutoCAD Architecture and Mastering AutoCAD MEP. A few weeks ago, I was deep in "crank" mode. Staying up till 2 or 3 AM nearly every night cranking through manuscript. Mastering ACA is (and has been) done. I am in that "silent time" right now. Very agonizing. We are supposed to have a bound book early in October. So I will keep you posted here. The all-nighters were for Mastering MEP. This being a first edition, it requires quite a bit of effort on the front end. We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here is the status:

Manuscript - Done
Tech Edit - Almost Done (3 chatpers left)
Copy Edit - 3 chapters complete (12 to go...)
Proof - None yet, stay tuned

Meet the AU deadline... This is still our goal. Hope to see you all at AU, and maybe I can show you a copy in person!

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