Resources for Authors

Last Updated: 06/30/11

Since this is our first book, we're learning a lot while writing it. Here are some resources on writing a (technical) book that we've found useful.

Reading

Scott Meyers: Advice to Prospective Book Authors - Probably the first thing you should read when considering writing a book. In plain English, Scott goes over just about everything you'll want to know from finding a publisher to royalties.

Ray Tracing News, Volume 9, Number 2 - A special edition with excellent advice for authors compiled together from many sources. The advice is blunt, and much of it focuses on contracts and royalties.

O'Reilly: A Guide for New Authors - Incredibility comprehensive. We've found this very informative even though we're not working with O'Reilly.

Philip Greenspun: The book behind the book behind the book... - Pretty dated but is still a great story. It is incredibly funny, especially his quest for blurbs.

The Elements of Style: A classic and concise book on writing. It is freely available online.

A practical LaTeX usage: Great introduction to LaTeX with simple examples. Once you get up and running, I also highly recommend The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e.

Although no one should write a technical book with the idea of getting rich, if you are curious about royalties, read The economics of writing a computer trade book... and Programming Book Profits.

Tools

proTeXt: A TeX distribution for Windows that we've found easy to use, especially considering our book is our first real experience with LaTeX.

Detexify2: Draw a symbol in the webpage and get the LaTeX.

Inkscape: The vector graphics editor we used for figures in our book. I love the alignment tool.

Paint.NET: Free and so good that I've switched from Paint Shop Pro to Paint.NET.

Greenshot: Makes taking, cropping, and saving screen shots painless.

GraphCalc: Although dated, this is an excellent, free, and easy to use tool for creating graphs. Also check out WZGrapher.

Bullzip PDF Printer: Print to a pdf file! Also consider Pdf995.

Dropbox: An easy way to share files among several computers. Free up to 2 GB.

SlideShare: A great way to post presentations online. We use it for our Papers and Presentations page.