Tips for new or prospective authors in the IT community

June 30th, 2014
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Well hello hello, if you’re reading this you may be a new author, or a prospective potential author, good times, right?!

As I sit here my 5th book published over the years I’ve noticed there are a few things which either isn’t done either through lack of awareness or otherwise from new authors and I thought, hey lets keep our community strong and grow ya’ll the best you can be.  Hopefully you find these tips useful because I sure as hell do each of these whenever I publish a new book. :)

Create an Amazon Author Central Profile

Whaaaaaat?! What is that?  Well new author you ever notice how the names of an Author on Amazon are clickable?!  And then you click on their name and it brings you to a page like this? It has an Author Bio, Copies of and details of your book(s), it can even pull your latest Tweets and Blog posts off of your blog!

Christopher Kusek's Amazon Author Bio!

This is definitely a good way to help build your readership, establish your authorship credibility and in general it’s a pretty cool way to keep track of things!

Setting it up is actually really easy! All you need to do is go to Author Central and setup your account – It’ll ask you to “Add” books which you can do by searching for them or by specifying your ISBN.  They’ll validate that indeed YOU ARE THE AUTHOR on said books and if so, BAM! It will be associated with your account and your name. It’s actually pretty cool and something which is often overlooked!

Create an Authorgraph Profile

Whoa whoa whoa, what is this AuthorGraph you speak of?! Yea I never heard of it either, but one day I said, “Wow, it’d be really cool if there were a way I could SIGN the digital copies of my books that people buy!” I noticed Amazon didn’t have a solution #FAIL, so I discovered the lovely joys of AuthorGraph. What it basically does is it allows you to register your books and people can request a digitally signed copy of their digital copies of your books! Awesome, right?!  Note: If you have non-digital versions of your books (e.g., ones without an ASIN) you will NOT be able to register them.


It is literally as easy as going to Author Graph, registering your name / identity, and then adding the ASIN of your books! BAM! Real easy, right?!

Include the book and ISBN in your resume and on LinkedIn

Wait. What does this have to do with my book? Well, This has more to do with your career and the respective advance of it.  If I’m reviewing your resume and it says, “This person is technical in nature and well-written” … And then follows that up with a published piece of work that I could peruse on Amazon or O’Reilly Safari? Well, hells yea I’ll give him more consideration as a technical expert in a particular field.   It’s just a viable way to continue to progress your career for your next big opportunity, I mean you’re an author you should be proud of that! :)

Oh yea this was added after the fact… LinkedIn has an option to list books, associate it with your ISBN and if you have Co-Authors, you can ‘tag’ them respectively there as well.  Do it. This is a business tool, use it to expand your business profile. Who knows, you may get some new readers just from them checking out your LinkedIn Profile. :)

Have your book rated and reviewed on Safari Books Online

Self-promotion starts with you (Okay, that seems sort of implied, but it is true. :)) If you have a subscription to Safari Books Online you should check the status, rating and any respective reviews you have of your book.   It is not the largest library in the world but it is one often frequented by the Tech community and people take reviews and ratings seriously if they’re perusing looking for the next tome of knowledge to check out.

Have your booked rated and reviews on Amazon!

That’s a given right? I mean people will obviously read your book and be so blown away that they will immediately go out and write an awesome review of the book.  Well, except for when they don’t, or they’re busy, or they forget, or they just don’t want to.   Consider it like surveys, less than 2% of people typically fill out a survey, how many are going to go out of their way to review your book?   There are ways around that covered in the next section…

Have your publishers marketing team get reviewers to review the book!

That is part of the game. You’re a tech superstar who is in the business of writing an awesome book because you rock.  Your publisher wants to get that book out, one way they do this is by contacting ‘influential bloggers’, podcasters, various this and that kind of people who they send a copy of the book to to read and write a review, blog post, Amazon review / etc.   This will happen, it’s all part of their job as a sales organization.   If they’re not taking the initiative to get that done, suggest it to them and supply some folks to distribute to! Worst thing they can do is say no!

Have your publisher give copies as giveaways for Conferences, User Groups, Podcasts

Let’s say you’re going to be presenting at a conference or user group, or you’re going to be on a Podcast, you know… Whatever it may be.   Contact your publisher and say, “Hey, I’m going to be doing ‘x’ at ‘y’, can I get ‘z’ number of copies or a case to help promote the book, etc?   Typically they’ll say “Where do I ship?” etc.  Again it’ll depend upon the publishing house you’re working with but promotion is promotion and if you don’t do it, they more often than not will not go out of the way to do it for you.   So ask and you may receive and help promote things out further!


Alright, let me make it clear here. Writing books (especially tech books) is not a get rich quick scheme. In fact it is not even a get moderately middle-classed slowly scheme.  It is a way to produce content to share and spread among the community to grow them as a whole.  All the while giving you a nice checkmark on your Life’s resume and career resume “Author… Check.” It is also not for the light hearted and may not be for everyone.   But that said, there are a number of steps which occur to get the ‘book deal’ as it were. 

One way to start is to talk to other authors, or known authors.  They may have a hook-up especially if you have a good book idea.  I know the Acquisition editors to three major publishers that when opportunities arise or new prospective authors are looking to get published, I will often make an introduction.

You’ll have to essentially submit a proposal helping to justify why the book should be published at all which the publisher will consider before they even accept the bid to have something written.   There are a series of steps involved I won’t go into too much detail here but the real key you should walk away with is, “What do I want to publish, Who is the audience for this book, Are there other books which exist like this already”.   The rest of it will really flow from that in a very formal and detailed document.

Hopefully this has helped you existing authors out a bit, and gives some hope to you prospective authors out there. If you have other suggestions please do not hesitate to include them in the comments! <3

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