We’ve been approached by a couple publishers lately, looking for authors of game programming books. I was very interested at first, but after talking with the publishers it did become a bit daunting, it’s a bit of a black box. You don’t know what you’ll get paid, the contracts are restrictive, the deadlines are tight, and you have no idea if / how they’ll promote the book. I asked all these questions, and when they stated they couldn’t answer them directly (especially when I asked how much a similar book they published last year fared); I couldn’t commit at that time.
The book I was looking at doing would have been 450-500 pages long, for a first time author, that’s massive! The schedule was 9 months of work, with nothing up front (the amount of an ‘advance’ was laughable); so assume nothing up front. And I couldn’t get any type of sales figures as to what comparable books did, which tells me they didn’t do great. I took it one step further and talked to other authors, from that publisher and others. I heard contrasting stories, but all stated that the numbers were no where I needed them to be for 9 months of dedicated work.
At the end of it, I was really excited about writing the book, it’s something i’ve wanted to do for a while. I told the publishers that for the moment I can’t justify it, however I looked into alternatives. I think what I may propose doing, is breaking the book into small bite sized chunks and write one at a time; then release those digitally. That way I can see how the first volume is received and then use that to make decisions for future volumes.
So watch this space… I’ll have more soon-(isn).