People in relationships with a significant other inevitably get questions from their friends and relatives about the next steps: When are you going to get engaged? When are you going to get married? When are you going to have kids? Human beings are curious (if occasionally rude). That’s what they do. Not being in a relationship and being at an age where people have given up asking me those types of questions, I instead get a new variation: “When will you write your next book?” I’m looking forward to answering this as much as those of you in couples. You have my sympathies.
Are You People Serious?
Heroic Technical Writing took me six years, depending on when you want to judge it. In 2014 my buddy Kate the Coach suggested writing a book. In 2017, I actually got serious about assembling the better parts of this blog into a manuscript form. After much foot dragging and some actual crises like work and personal issues that created delays, I finally got the book into publication August 31 of this year. Like that couple that’s been struggling to figure out day to day whether their situation will last, I’m a little too tired to focus on the next thing. It’s been a week since the book went out the door, let me relax and celebrate a little.
I still have things to do on the current book, like work all my marketing angles–paid and unpaid–and gets sales up to a satisfactory level. Whatever that means. I’m #91 in sales on Amazon’s technical writing reference books, with a grand total of 40 units sold and unknown copies being read on Kindle Unlimited. I’d like to break even on my sunk costs (editor, graphic designer). So pardon me if I’m not ready to talk about the next book yet.
Am I likely to write another book? Yes. The bad news is, if I moved at the same pace for the next book, you would see another one in 2026.
The good news for those eager to get more Bart literary products is that it is unlikely to take me six years to write the next one, if only because I know how to write and publish a book, which is something I really didn’t know how to do in 2014.
I could shift over to fiction. I have three or four unpublished novels languishing in the laptop, one of which has gotten enough feedback to be published if I took the time. If I commit any of those to Kindle Direct Publishing, they’ll probably go out under a pen name. I’m terribly self-conscious, and internet trolls are vicious. Better to take on all that anonymously.
If I were to write a sequel to Heroic Technical Writing, it would likely to be much more on the personal side–dealing with personal crises, coronaviruses, and other chaotic events. Heroic Technical Writing is in many ways a product of the pre-pandemic life, when in-person meetings and travel to conferences were a regular part of the tech writer’s job. Now it’s all Zoom meetings and tentative returns to the office. I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable about sharing the personal realities of being a freelance, occasionally workaholic tech writer. You might or might not see more of me discussing matters outside or unrelated to the office…but still related to live as a tech writer.
But for now, let me make a few more sales, folks. When I have something to share, I’ll share it.