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Writing "The WordPress Bible"

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

That’s how the process of coming to be the newest author for Wiley Publishing seems to have gone, even though the initial contact was only in late April.

Back then, I received a mysterious email in my inbox asking if I would be interested in writing The WordPress Bible. Fascinated, I immediately responded back and the conversation began.

We have had an agreement in principle for several weeks and now that the contract is official, I feel comfortable talking publicly about the deal – though the details of the deal will remain undisclosed.

I’m excited about writing this book. As many of you who have been with me for these more than five years know, I began the process of writing a book with my friend and colleague Jeremy Wright back in 2005. Honestly, I don’t think either of our hearts were in that book and we amicably agreed with the publisher that we wouldn’t complete that project. Sort of a shame in itself, but all for the better.

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That project gave me a little window into the life of an author. Overcoming writers block. Roadmapping chapters. Communication at all time with project editors. Stylesheets. Deadlines. All that jazz.

At that time, I was much less mature as a writer so it was a huge challenge to write effectively and for an audience. At that time, I was a much more free-spirited author writing often elaborate (and possibly poetic) prose which might not have been the right fit for a book of that nature. Today, I still am the best damned writer around (kidding) but know when to turn it on and off and how to write an effective 4000 word article or a 140 character tweet.

Today, I approach The WordPress Bible with some fear and trepidation. Currently, the book is marked at around a cool 700 pages. And oh yes, it has to be done in October. Yikes!

What this effectively means is that for the next four months, I will be spending monumental amounts of time doing nothing but writing. I’m considering disappearing to the mountains once a month for 3-4 days just to write.

During the process, I am going to continue to work with my clients to deliver valuable WordPress solutions for their businesses. In the past week, I have secured 3 more clients that I will be able to work with over the next few months.

I want to thank Stephanie McComb at Wiley for believing in me and reaching out to me in April. This will be a great addition to the Bible series. I also want to thank Lynn Haller from Studio B for helping me through the process and running valuable interference during the negotiations. Anyone looking to write a book should reach out to her to represent you. Authors should usually have agents and she’s a great agent.

I can’t wait for this book to hit the shelf. It’s going to be an invaluable resource for WordPress users, themers and developers of all range of skills and will be a “must order”.

54 Comments

  1. Congrats. And I want my copy signed.

  2. Cool, Aaron. I wish you the best in writing, and I’m confident you’ll produce a great final product. Let me know if you need any help with a word or two… I’ve been known to be good at such things.

  3. CONGRATS Aaron!!!
    I can think of no better to do it than You!

  4. Congrats – let the WP community (like me) know if you need anything.

  5. Aaron, congrats on the book deal, sounds like a lot of work. Good luck!!

  6. Right on – grats man. I’ll take an autographed copy too ;) 2nd to Erin of course.
    and not that you need help, but I’d be happy to help you out with anything you’d need… I’m a WP geek.. have been for maaany years… since b2 days. Have fun writing!

    • Ah, I only go back to WordPress 1.2!

  7. Congrats on the book deal Aaron. Looking forward to adding it to my collection. What are your thoughts on how long the information presented within this book will be up to date and useful? Is it inevitable that most of the information that will be in the book will steadily go out of date and thus, will not be useful?

    • I’ll be writing for WP 2.9. Editing for WP 3.0. So I imagine it will be completely accurate for WP 3.0 by the time it goes to print, subject to the development cycle of course.

      There are always future features and those will probably be added in future revisions, but the nuts and bolts of WP stay pretty consistent from version to version so probably 90% of it will always be current. If not more.

    • Correction. I’ll be writing for WP 2.8 – that’s what is out now. Probably editing for WP 2.9 in the fall. Again, subject to the development cycle. The goal is to hit the shelf with the {insert then-current version} WP cycle.

      • I wonder if you’ll be picking up where WordPress For Dummies leaves off or is that two different books for two different audiences?

      • Different audience. Same publisher. The Dummies books are supposed to provide a 101 level overview of a topic, software product, etc. The Bible series is supposed to be exhaustive and for all levels of skill. The WordPress Bible, like others in the Bible series will be more in depth and provide tutorials for beginners and advance technical knowledge for advanced users. It will be a beneficial addition for any WordPress user whether a blogger, developer or themer and it should provide the info to just get started or to get into new areas of development.

      • Sounds great Aaron, now I’m really getting psyched to have it on my bookshelf. I bet browsing through the book will be easier than browsing through the Codex looking for an answer :)

      • I’m just going to copy/paste the entire Codex. All I have to do is write a script that scrapes it and pipes the data into Word. ;-)

        Kidding, of course.

      • You start doing that and I’ll have to start calling you Chris Anderson LOL

      • What?! There will be attribution. Mostly because I don’t have the patience to deal with kludgey regexes that strip the attribuution out! ;-)

      • I’d add that the WordPress for Dummies book by Lisa Sabin-Wilson is also a must read for folks looking to get involved in WordPress.

  8. Congrats Aaron! I look forward to checking it out when it’s available. Stock up on the java beans for your marathon writing :)

  9. What a fantastic opportunity for you. Looking forward to reading it when it’s released. Congratulations Aaron!

  10. Lots of congrats, Aaron! I’ll be contributing to your first-day sales figures.

  11. Oh wow, HUGE news. :) Not envious of the schedule.

  12. Congrats, Aaron! Stephanie’s my AE, she’s great to work with.

    Let me know if you need a TE or anything.

    Sean

    • Yeah, she’s been great. Also, thanks for referring me to Lynn. She’s been a rock star through the whole process.

  13. Outstanding new Aaron, this book is a long time coming and you’re the guy to do it. Let me know if you need any stock photography for the pages. ;-)

    • I need text! Can you magic up some text for me? About 700 pages worth, thankyouverymuch! ;-)

      • Google for “markov chains” :P

        Sean

      • Markov Chains – aka, screwing with the space time continuum and violating the prime directive.

        Star Wars reference in post. Star Trek reference in comments. I’d say that’s a pretty good day. :-)

  14. Ray Capece Ray Capece

    Great going, Aaron — an exceptional life accomplishment you’ll be hugely proud of. Until then, prepare to be impossibly cranky. Good luck!

  15. Sean McCormick Sean McCormick

    Congrats, Aaron….plenty of mountains and solitude out this way if you DOend up needing to take that route. Good luck regardless.

  16. Aaron,

    Nice job; your writing abilities and style will lend itself well to the “Bible.”

    Look forward to seeing it…

    Have fun in the mountains.

    Eric

  17. W00t! Dunno if you recall, but you helped me stay sane during writing Blog Marketing, and I told you at the time that if I could ever do the same for you, I would in a heartbeat. I know how hard it is to write a book, so if I can do ANYTHING, just ask mate :)

  18. Well it was nice knowing you. See you when you return in October. (speaking from experience here!)

    • Haha! Yeah, for real. I expect my offline social activity to decrease a bit.

  19. Very nice. Congrats and good fortune. I look forward to reading it!

  20. Congratulations, Aaron! You had mentioned quite some time ago (I think on Twitter?) that you were submitting a TOC for a book project.. and in my talks with my Wiley editor, I knew they had a ‘Bible’ book in the works for WP… so I figured it was you – and it was :) No better person to write it – and best of luck with it!

    I have MU/BuddyPress For Dummies coming out in Dec. and the 3rd Ed. of WordPress For Dummies in Jan – so I totally feel your pain on juggling the writing with the day-to-day’s – it can be done!

    And no scraping allowed! lol

    • Thanks, Lisa. Good luck with your updates too! :)

  21. Congratulations! Really looking forward to reading your book.

  22. Congratulations on the book deal, finally, after all the willy nilly circumstances around the delays. :)

  23. Congratulations on the deal, Aaron. 700 pages is a lot of space you can use to give an advice and share your precious experience with WordPress.

    I look forward to adding it to my collection ;-)

  24. Awesome news Aaron. Having written my masters thesis five years ago, I have no desire to even attempt to write a book while juggling a full time job and a growing family. I am however, jealous of the opportunity and the exposure you will be receiving but you richly deserve it. Congratulations!

  25. Congrats!! :) It’s labor of love…

    Twitter @geechee_girl

  26. I’ll keep an eye out for it. You’ve got one book sold here.

  27. Congratulations, a huge task but no doubt a rewarding one. Good luck!

  28. Awesome! I can’t wait for it to become available – keep us in the loop when we can buy it. I would love to read it before release and give my insight : – 0

    Take care

  29. Coming to this a little late…

    So if you write a book that includes WordPress code snippets, that would have no real value without WordPress, does that mean the book has to be published under GPL? ;)

    I hope there will be an ebook version with copy/paste working, really hard to search a paperback.

    • No GPL on the book, but the code is certainly GPL. ;-) And the book will have a code site on the Wiley site but I’m not sure if it will only be able to be accessed if you own the book. That’s a Wiley question. It will not be eBooked either. You gotta buy the book so you can put moolah in my trowzahs!

  30. Congratulations Aaron!! And I’m with Erin. Please sign my copy, too.

  31. Congratulations Aaron

    As a devout WordPress user that is always wanting to learn more, I will watch for the book.

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