WordPress and Ajax Cover

My first ever book, WordPress and Ajax, has been released. You can find my dedicated site for the book at http://www.wpajax.com.

The book labels itself as an in-depth guide for using Ajax with WordPress.

While geared towards existing plugin/theme authors (beginning or advanced), this book will also assist those new to WordPress who have been thinking of making the programming plunge.

The book retails for $24, but for those who follow this link, you can get $5 off: http://www.wpajax.com/?coupon=grandopening

A little background…

I’ve been messing with Ajax since about 2002. WordPress since 2006.

I’m a tutorial writer, so I like to share my knowledge. I had an idea in June 2008 for a series of tutorials covering how to use Ajax with WordPress.

Procrastination ensued and it wasn’t until December of 2008 that I began brainstorming what topics I would like to cover in my “small” series.

In February 2009, I finally outlined all that I wanted to discuss. I wrote the first thirty pages, and quickly realized this wasn’t going to be a short series; this was going to be an entire book!

Then life happened. My job duties ramped up, so I didn’t have time to dedicate to the book. Also, personal tragedy struck, so I was out of commission for several months. It wasn’t until October of 2009 that I began to seriously tackle the book.

I finally finished in December of 2009 after several months of non-stop writing. Now it was time to release the e-book. Or, maybe not.

I realized that in order to bring my vision to life, I needed some professional design help. I enlisted to help of my longtime friend and colleague Vivien Anayian to help with the cover design. I confessed to her that I was broke, but I would pay her what I could for the cover.

As she finished the cover, she asked me, “So who’s doing the design for the book?”

Having already finished “my” design, I was at a loss for words. I responded, “Um, I was just going to leave it as is.”

After much scolding, she volunteered to do the design, knowing that in order to pay her back, the book would have to sell.

As anyone who has worked on a book design, it is no easy task. It’s time consuming. Not only do you have to lay down a solid foundation for the design, but then there’s getting the text, code samples, and figures all to mesh well. For 200+ pages, this is a nightmare.

Vivien and I originally set a deadline for late February, but it became quickly apparent that this wasn’t enough time to release a quality product.

It wasn’t until early March that Vivien (with a little help from me) completed the overall design. Then began the process of editing, which consumed the rest of our time.

So what did I learn through all this? Well, I learned that releasing an e-book into the wild isn’t exactly trivial. It’s a lot of hard work for both the author and designer.

Selling the e-book

In addition to actually completing the book, a site must be built that will handle the e-book sales.

I researched several solutions for selling the e-book and came close to just selling it via e-junkie.

Being a programmer by nature, I *hated* the idea of giving up control to a third-party system. To add insult to injury, the third-party system would also take some transaction fees in addition to the ones deducted by PayPal.

As a result, I decided to build my own solution. It wasn’t too complicated to do, as I had already built my own in-house solution when I built ajaxeditcomments.com. It was just a matter of porting things over to facilitate the e-book format.

The result is a custom download section, built-in affiliate handling, built-in coupons, and a built-in newsletter for handling revisions/corrections.

Conclusion

Releasing an e-book into the wild, with some degree of professionalism, is very difficult. However, I’ve already received feedback via Twitter and elsewhere that the effort can clearly be shown in the end-product.

In addition to the actual content, there’s the design, the book’s site (to facilitate sales), and the marketing aspect as well.

And for the regulars of Ronalfy.com, now you know why I haven’t been blogging as much 🙂

Thanks for reading.