me, 2.0: jose nazario
beauty and the street
marketing a new book is a tough job. every year, something like 2
million boks get published (there was a flat period in the early
00's), yet sales are slowly dropping. competition sets in ...
sometimes a book will just sell. the author, the subject, the time is
just right. or a good review will help bump it. even the best of books
need some marketing saavy behind them, and sometimes it looks a little
case in point, the book freakonomics by steven levitt. dubbed a "rogue economist" on the cover of the book,
levitt takes you through a bunch of seemingly disconnected trends
and phenomenae as seen by an economist. it's good stuff, a bit fluffy
at times, but overall a good read.
now, let's face it, economists often sound like boring people. let google
mine the web to help us compare: 390,000 for exciting economist,
about 15,600,000 for economist. only a fraction can be called exciting.
so, the publisher has to spruce it up a bit, and he's dubbed a "rogue"
economist. almost makes him sound as though he's barred from meeting other
economists for his radical thoughts, kicked out of professional societies
and meetings, and overall a man on the run, just trying to get the world
to accept his vision.
when we wrote the openbsd
book, we had to work pretty hard to get that quote from theo. a few favors
were called in, and even then it had to be cut just right to work. we had
to debate where we would be placed - normal UNIX books, open source UN*X
books, security - and ultimately bridged a couple of categories. i went
through less of this with the worms
book, but in the post-release marketing you can bet the phrase "first
book devoted solely to the worm problem" was used a lot. still is ...
all of this because authors need to sell books, and publishers need you
to buy them, and that's the job of marketing. so, sometimes you wind up with
stuff like "rogue economist" and stuff.
i don't know if or when i'll write another book, i simply lack the time
right now to devote to it. it's a lot of work, and i don't want to make
the same mistakes i made with the two other books i made. i want to do
better, and that simply requires a commitment i don't think i can make
right now. that's ok, it's still an achievement to have written and
published two books (and a chapter in a third), but we'll see what the
future brings. maybe i'll be a "rogue scientist" or something ...
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