Hairy Sun

Matt's Blog on Some Geeky Topics

Introducing Treading on Python

For the past few months life has been somewhat hectic. Real work has been busy as we have been pushing to release our next generation product. In the meantime, I have been writing a book outside of work. The book, Treading on Python, is a quick paced introduction to Python. It has been an interesting experience, so I figured I would share a bit about it.

Another Python book? Why?

Why would I create another book in the Python space? I have always liked teaching others. Possibly it is in my blood, my mom is a teacher, and I have found it fulfilling to help educate others. Since learning Python myself, I have been able to help many, including one on one with a teenager and, an old retired man, as well as classes and workshops with programming professionals, and elementary children learn Python. This book is aimed at professionals who want to be able to read and write Python quickly.

I have been approached previously to write a book, and I did not feel like I could commit to a schedule while having full time work, and other obligations. But I was intrigued with writing a book. When I had to opportunity to give a three hour tutorial on Beginning Python that I had previously prepared, I decided to spend my preparation time (mornings and evenings) creating a book from the tutorial. More specifically, creating an ebook, where I controlled almost everything. Thus began the journey.

There are many books on Python that already exist. Some are good, some less so, and others I have not read. Some are thick tomes, few are succint. I felt that I could fill in the niche for a quick introduction to Python. If for nothing else, writing the book gave a me a chance to:

  • Compose my thoughts about the tutorial
  • Read The Elements of Typographic Style
  • Learn about ebooks
  • Learn about the mobi format
  • Learn about the epub format
  • Learn about ebook cover design
  • Learn about selling items directly from a blog
  • Learn about Amazon KDP platform
  • Learn about Barnes and Noble Pubit platform
  • Learn about Apples publishing platform
  • Find a new blogging platform
  • Create an open source project, rst2epub2, that converts reStructuredText to epub
  • Create an open source project, epub-css-starter-kit, that provides sample css to get started with ebook creation
  • Learn more about SEO
  • Mess around with Google adword and MS AdCenter
  • Buy a few domain names
  • Get involved with the e(book)production community

In the end though, I think I have the seeds of the Python book I would have wanted when I was learning Python.

Status of Book

The book is currently available in draft form. With the help of my wonderful technical editor, JJ, I am in the process of reviewing and rewriting portions of the book. If you, or a co-worker, or friend, or family member are interested in the book, you can certainly purchase a copy. All purchases will get the updated final version when it is released.

From all my adventures delving into ebook creation, it appears that there probably four things that determine success as an other (where success is defined as moving some non-zero sized amount of books):

  • People like or respect you
  • You have positive reviews on Amazon
  • You have more than one book available
  • Luck

If you are inclined to help me with any of the above, I in turn would be inclined to get you a copy of the book. As I’m just starting my new blog (as well as migrating content over from the old blog), I need all the SEO juice, links, and help I can get.

What’s next?

What is next? I plan on sharing my experiences. I have already started sharing some code on GitHub. I’ve made some attempts at marketing, and hope to make more. I figure that I should be open and share my successes and failures, so that others can learn. They should appear on this blog, intermingled with other somewhat related content. If you have requests or ideas, especially if you are working with ebooks, I would love to hear them.

In the meantime, I have become somewhat obsessed with ebook creation. I have two other books I am currently working on that are related more directly to the ebook production process. I have also spent that last 8 Fridays teaching a group of ten 3rd-6th graders about ebook creation. Finally, I have submitted a PyCon talk about ebook creation using Python. So all of this is potential fodder for the blog.

If you have and suggestions, questions, or comments please feel free to contact me. Cheers!