Open Call for Book Authors: Vapor, Kotlin, Unity VR, and More

Ray Wenderlich

Update 11/3/17: The Vapor lead author slot has been taken, but as of this time the other slots are still available!

Writing a book can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

The first book I ever worked on was Learning Cocos2D, which I co-wrote with Rod Strougo back in 2011.

I still look back on that experience with a sense of accomplishment and pride, and I think I always will. There’s something incredibly fulfilling about completing a large project like this, doing it well, and seeing the difference it makes in other people’s lives.

If you’ve ever dreamed of writing your own book, we have a unique opportunity for you. We are currently recruiting lead authors for these upcoming books:

  • Server Side Swift with Vapor: We’re looking for a lead author for Server Side Swift with Vapor, focusing primarily on folks who want to create back-ends for mobile apps, with no prior web development experience. [Update: Taken]
  • Intermediate Kotlin: We are looking for an author to cover intermediate topics in the Kotlin language (focusing on the core language itself, not developing Android apps). We already have an author who will be covering the beginning topics.
  • Unity VR and AR Games by Tutorials: A guide for experienced Unity developers on making VR and AR games in Unity for devices such as the Vive, Rift, Hololens, iOS/Android. We already have 1 Beginning AR author, 1 Advanced AR author, and 1 Advanced VR author, so are looking for a lead author focused on the Beginning VR side.
  • Your book idea here! Although those are the books we are definitely recruiting for, perhaps you have an idea for a book we haven’t thought of. We’re always looking for advanced developers with a passion for making a great book, and we’d love to hear your ideas!

Keep reading to find out why you should write a book with us, what’s involved, and how to apply! :]

Why Write a Book with Us?

As I’ve mentioned, being a book author is a rewarding and often life-changing experience.

There are plenty more reasons to write a book with us beyond that, but here we’ll cover the top 3 that most authors ask about.

1) Work With an Awesome Team

Self-publishing is all the rage, but the key word there is “self” — as in, you’ll have to do everything your “self”. Self-editing. Self-designing. Self-typesetting. Self-management. Self-promotion. And everything else associated with a book, including customer support, creating art, store infrastructure and dealing with payment processors.

And the worst part of all is self-marketing. Even if you can handle all of the above, you need to build a sufficient audience of people who know you and want to buy your book! This can be quite challenging and time consuming if you’re going solo.

You could work with a traditional publisher, which definitely helps with some of the work involved in getting a book to market. But in our experience, the amount of support you get from traditional publishers varies widely, and most of the work involved in polishing and marketing your book falls on you.

At raywenderlich.com, we think of our books as a coordinated team project, and we’re fully invested in making your book a success. Here are the top 15 ways the raywenderlich.com Book Team helps you out:

  1. Book process. We have tons of experience creating books with a distributed team, and can guide you through a proven step-by-step process.
  2. Market analysis. We research the market to make sure that there’s sufficient demand for the topic you’re writing about to make it worth pursuing.
  3. Outline feedback. We provide constructive and technical feedback while you develop your outline.
  4. Sample project feedback. We help ensure your projects in the book are both fun and instructional.
  5. Design assistance. We help provide any cover art, internal art, or other design assets if you need them.
  6. Writing feedback. We help you build your writing skillset through continuous feedback on your manuscript.
  7. Tech editing. Our tech editors provide technical editing of the entire manuscript.
  8. Copyediting. Our editors copyediting and proofreading of your manuscript.
  9. Quality checks. Finally, our final pass editor performs quality checks to ensure all parts of the book are as polished as possible.
  10. Writing tools. We have developed custom authoring tools that allow you to write and preview your book in Markdown!
  11. Publishing. We publish your book to PDF, ePub, and print format.
  12. Audience building. We release tutorials and videos every day to build a strong audience of developers interested in your book, before it’s even released.
  13. Marketing. We market your book through our blog, newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, paid advertising, and more.
  14. Selling. We sell your book through our online store and other channels.
  15. Customer Support. We handle customer support for readers, and set up a book forum where customers can ask questions and provide feedback.

We’ve made a ton of books over the years and have learned a lot along the way, so you get to benefit. :]

2) Become a Recognized Subject Matter Expert

Authoring a book with raywenderlich.com will add a lot of heft to your resume. If you want to become known as a subject matter expert in a particular area, authoring a great book is a tried-and-true path. This will open doors for contracting work, conference talks, new jobs, and more. You can think of a book as a business card, résumé, and income stream all rolled into one!

The best part is that you don’t have to be an expert in your chosen field right now — all you need is solid experience as a developer and a willingness to dig deep and learn. At raywenderlich.com, our authors often become experts in their chosen subject by going through the process of writing a book. Check out the case study below to learn more.

Case Study: Marin Todorov and iOS Animations by Tutorials

Long-time team member Marin Todorov had some experience creating animations he needed for day-to-day development, so he created a video course about animation, learning how to create great animations as he built the series.

Marin took this experience and turned it into the successful book iOS Animations by Tutorials. Since then, he has spoken at many conferences around the world on his work, and is now known as the expert on iOS animations (and more!).

3) Earn Some Money!

Many authors ask what they can expect financially from the first year of book sales — and if it’s worth the effort to release updated editions of the book. The majority of traditional publishing agreements only give authors 10-15% of royalties, expecting authors to write for exposure and to increase credibility in their field, with royalties as a secondary concern.

At raywenderlich.com, we think you can enjoy a nice financial return on your books and build your credibility at the same time. We have an unusual approach in the industry, where we give 50% of net revenue back to the book authors. We take the proceeds from each book, subtract any internal production and affiliate costs, and then give you exactly half of what’s left.

The authors’ share of royalties is divided proportionally between all authors on the book, depending on how many chapters each author contributes. If you are the sole author, you get the whole 50%. If you have a co-author and you write 4 chapters out of 10 in a book, and your co-author writes the other 6, you get 20% and your co-author gets 30%.

The chart below shows the average total book royalties paid out to authors during the first year of the book’s life. We’ve included the low and high values of the first year of author earnings as reference:

Note: Your results may vary! Past performance does not necessarily guarantee future results, as many factors influence book sales such as choice of topic, market timing and promotion. However, if you are selected as an author, we will work closely with you to discuss how we can work together to maximize book sales.

Plus – to make it easier to work on the book, we’ll send up to $8K in royalty advances before the book launches (you get all of it if you are a solo author, less otherwise). This can help you cover unpaid leave from your day job, give you time to ignore other client work, cover if you need to pay for childcare in the evenings, get grocery delivery or cleaning services, or so on.

What’s Involved

So you’re ready to become an author — great! Let’s talk about what you can expect.

If you haven’t written a book before, there are two important things you should know:

  1. Writing a book is a lot of work. Do not plan to write a book if you’ve just had a baby, are working 80+ hours a week on your startup, or like to spend your days off relaxing with a margarita.

    There’s a reason that the dedication page of almost every book thanks family members, spouses and other significant people — because driving the book to completion almost always means you’ll be neglecting a lot of your life outside your job and your book.

    In the beginning part of your book process (see below), you will even need to work full-time on the book project, so you will need to take some time off your regular work schedule for this.

    The #1 mistake we see is authors not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get a book project complete. So please be aware of what you’re getting into before applying.

  2. You must meet your deadlines. Your teammates on the book team can’t get their work done on time if you, the author, don’t get your work to them on time. We almost always have a fixed launch date that must be met, so you must be able to avoid procrastination and reliably meet deadlines.

Book Writing Phases

There are four phases to write a book for our site:

  1. Phase 1: Make Video Course Materials. As the lead author on a book, your first step is to make some materials for a video course on the subject, which form the basis for the first several chapters of the book. This is a smaller project than writing the entire book with a quicker timeframe, so it’s a great first step and a “quick win” for positive momentum.

    And best of all, this is a paid contracting job of $3K+ (in addition to the book advances and royalties you’ll get later!) – so you basically get paid to do the research for the book! You can then repurpose the sample projects and scripts that you develop for the video course in the book, saving a ton time. Also, students can give you feedback on the course, and what they’d like to see in the final book, giving you valuable feedback and establishing yourself as a subject matter expert.

    Note that you are only required to make the written materials – someone from our team can record the actual videos and demos. But if you’d like to record the videos and demos too, you’re welcome to fly into our video studio and do so! :]

    This phase requires you to work full-time on this project, and will take 3-4 weeks.

  2. Phase 2: Write Book Plan. Once you’re done with the video course materials, it’s time to turn to the book itself, and the first step is creating a book plan. We’ll give you a template to fill in, and you’ll answer questions like “What chapters will the book have?”, “What will the book schedule look like?” and “How many co-authors do you want (if any)?” Then, we will review and revise your book plan, recruit the rest of your book team, and get the project ready for kickoff.

    This phase is light – it will take some work to put together the book plan, but then you’ll mostly be waiting for comments/revisions and for us to recruit the rest of the team. It will take 3-4 weeks.

  3. Phase 3: Writing Phase. Once the book plan is finalized, we’ll have an official kickoff for the book, and you can begin writing! The timing for this varies based on the number of chapters in the book, and the amount of time you can commit to the writing and revision process:

    • If you have a day job: If you’re writing your book on your nights, weekends or days off, we’ve found authors can usually write 1 chapter every 2 weeks.
    • If you are writing your book full-time: If you’ve taken a sabbatical from your day job or put contracting on hold so you can write full-time, we’ve found authors can write around 2 chapters every week.

    As you submit chapters, they will go through at least three rounds of editing to polish them to the high quality style we are known for.

  4. Phase 4: Marketing Plan, Book Launch, and Beyond!. Once all chapters are in, we will work with you to develop a marketing plan for your book, and then later on we will have the official book launch. At this point it’s time to pop some champagne and celebrate! :]

How To Apply

Writing a book can be a lot of work, but nothing beats the feeling of holding that first copy of the book in your hands — with your name on the front cover!

We’d love for you to be part of our ever-expanding book family here at raywenderlich.com.

Ready to get started? Just send an email to ray@razeware.com with the answers to the following questions:

  • Which book would you like to be the lead author for?
  • Why do you want to work on this book?
  • What experience do you have working on the technology behind this book? Please link to any relevant apps or projects.
  • Can you commit to working full-time for phase 1 (make video course materials)? Please explain how you will make time for this.
  • How much time can you commit per week to working on phase 3 (writing phase)? Please explain how you will make time for this.
  • Are you the type of person who can avoid procrastination and reliably meet deadlines? If so, what specific techniques do you use to stay on track?
  • Have you read any raywenderlich.com books, or watched any raywenderlich.com courses? If so, which ones?

We’re excited at the prospect of making the next great raywenderlich.com book with you!

Ray Wenderlich

Ray is part of a great team - the raywenderlich.com team, a group of over 100 developers and editors from across the world. He and the rest of the team are passionate both about making apps and teaching others the techniques to make them.

When Ray’s not programming, he’s probably playing video games, role playing games, or board games.

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