Monday, May 19, 2008
Well, I haven't reached the "waiting for my book to come out" stage. I have a book under contract, but my co-author Jerry Hoffman and I still need to complete the book. But hey, it's not too late to think about what I might do for a sequel. I have a couple other books in various stages of completion on my hard drive, including a fantasy novel and a sort of introductory text about car mods for the absolute beginner. But what if I wrote the next book on one of the topics that I blog about? After all, the book I have under contract is about electronic fuel injection, and I blog about that pretty often.
I could write about how to build a turbocharged slant six powered Dodge Dart, but that's a bit of a narrow subject, don't you think? And there's plenty of good books on turbos. I suppose I could see if Doug Dutra would be interested in a colaborative project for a book on slant sixes, but that still probably wouldn't have the appeal of a book on Chevy V8s.
One of my favorite things to write about has been gas mileage scams. But a book on gas mileage scams has its own problems. Who would buy it? Somebody looking to avoid getting scammed? Usually, the Internet is a pretty good tool for checking if an alleged gas saver is a scam, as you can often find people criticizing questionable gadgets. (Unless, of course, the scammers just haven't fleeced enough people for debunkers to notice them.) Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to write very much about real ways to improve your gas mileage that a normal do-it-yourselfer could do at home to a modern car, as it's hard to out-engineer the factory designers without spending more than you could save on gas. The number of bad gas mileage devices out there vastly outnumbers the ones that work, and curiously, the things out there that could save a tiny amount of gas usually aren't marketed as such. (For example, you don't usually see carbon fiber body panels advertised as fuel economy aids.) For some reason, it's harder to sell debunking than flim-flam.
I guess some topics are better suited to blogs and the Internet, when you get down to it. Odd niche material can reach a wider audience. I can expose scams without having to worry about a magazine's ad dollars or bookstore sales. But really big topics still belong in books.
Next up is L. M. Ashton.
Also, check out the other blogs in the chain:
Life in Scribbletown
Polyamory From the Inside Out
For the First Time
Family On Bikes
Writes in the City
Elf Killing and Other Hobbies
Spittin' (Out Words) Like a Llama
As Yet Untitled
Labels: Blog Chain
It would be nice to be able to do more than nod and smile and hope I'm not getting fleeced when I take my car in....
Nice post. :)
This post made me think about something important at work.
1. How do you find good tech writers?
2. How do you evaluate whether a tech writer is any good?
I have two open positions in my department, and we have had poor luck finding talented, experienced tech writers. We have talked to a few newspaper refugees, and I hadn't realized how different that is from tech writing.
Although I do have a nifty feature that allows you to see exactly how many MPG you are getting in real time and overall. Tip: easy on the acceleration!
I agree with you but at the same time, I can see that most books in future will be published in Internet may be not in the form of website or blogs but in the form of e-books
And the way gas prices are going, there could be more and more of a market for information that is easy to comprehend on increasing mileage, the best cars out there, etc.
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