As much as writing books is something I do (and I’m immodestly proud of the outcomes), they don’t always come out the way I expect. And that turns out to be true for almost every one! So here, for the record and hopefully as both mea culpas and lessons learned, are my book hiccups. And you really don’t have to read this, unless you want some things to check for.
After my first book, Engaging Learning, came out, someone asked me “how do I know it’s really your book?” He had a valid point, because while there was a bio, there was no picture of me. Somehow, I just expected it (and if memory serves, they’d asked for one). Yet it didn’t appear on the dust jacket nor on the author page. In fact, the only Wiley book that did have my picture ended up being the next one.
Shortly after my next book came out, Designing mLearning, I got an email asking for clarification. The correspondent pointed to a particular diagram, and asked what I meant. It turns out, in editing (they’d outsourced it, I understand), someone had reversed the meaning of a caption for a diagram! Worse, I hadn’t caught it. At this time I can no longer find what it was, but it was an unhappy experience.
For my third book, The Mobile Academy, I asked my friend and colleague John Ittelson to write the preface. And somehow, it wasn’t in the initial printing! That was a sad oversight, but fortunately they remedied it very quickly.
I had been upset by how expensive the first two books were. Consequently, I was pleased to find out that my fourth, Revolutionize Learning & Development, that I really wanted to see do well, was priced much more reasonably. Of course, then I found out why; it was made with paper that wasn’t of the best quality. At least it’s affordable, and I continue to hear from people who have found it useful.
I’m happy to say that the next one, Millennials, Goldfish & Other Training Misconceptions has been hiccup free. After switching to ATD Press (they’d been a co-publisher of the previous book), they did a great job with the design, taking my notion of humorous sketches for each topic and executing against it graphically. It’s been well-recognized.
Unfortunately, as I just found out after getting my mitts on the most recent one, Learning Science for Instructional Designers, two of the four blurbs I solicited from esteemed colleagues don’t show up in the book! They do show up on the ATD site, at least (and of course they’re on my own page for the book). I didn’t get a copy of the back cover beforehand, so I couldn’t have checked. My apologies to them. I checked, and it turns out having to do with a space issue because of book formatting. 🤷 Other than that, I’m as happy with this book as the last (that is, really happy)!
I can say that I’ve always tried to write in a way that focuses on the aspects that relate to our mental architecture. The goal is that as the technology changes, the implications are still appropriate. Our brains aren’t changing as fast at the tech! I guess I’m just not ready to accept planned obsolescence, so I’m keeping them available.
So there you have it, the book hiccups that can come with publishing. If you’ve made it this far, at least I hope you have some more things to check to make sure your books come out as good as possible.