Well it almost killed me, but last week I finished the manuscript for my fourth book Hacking MySpace : Mods and Customizations to make MySpace Your Space and got it to my editor, Rosanne, at Wiley Publishing, more or less on time.

I signed the contract to write the book in late December 2005, and until last week, I felt like I spent of all my waking life behind a computer (whether it was writing the book, or keeping my other ventures on track).

It’s been a really interesting experience. I’ve immersed myself in the world of social networking, and met some very interesting and talented people on MySpace. I also updated my HTML and CSS skills, which I didn’t think I would ever have cause to use again.

When you’re working on a 350 page book you sometimes wonder whether you’ll ever get it finished. But now that the edited chapters are starting to come back to from Rosanne, I’m starting to get the sense that, hey, this is actually happening. Also the fact that you can preorder the book from Amazon has dispelled any doubts I might have had.
It seems quite bizzare, but this experience seems to demonstrate that it’s easier for Australian writers to get published in the US than it is in Australia. My first three books were published by CHOICE Books (part of the Australian Consumers’ Association), where I was a journalist and editor (though that feels like a long time ago now). At the beginning of 2005 I started to get a hankering to do another book, and I got in touch with my old publisher Richard, who at the time had already left CHOICE Books.

Richard was quite pessemistic about my chances of finding a publisher. CHOICE Books had been downsized to almost nothing and was not taking on any new projects. He said that the publishing industry had really tightened up and unless I was famous or had an simply amazing idea I didn’t have a chance of getting published again – despite the fact that I had a proven track record. He did mention a couple of publishers he thought I should call. I pitched a couple of ideas to these contacts, but they didn’t go anywhere.

A few months later I was talking to Andrew Parsons about his GameParents web site. He had written a computer book for a US publisher, and he kindly put me in touch with his agent, Laura, in the US. I got in touch with her, told her about my ideas, and she asked me to put together some proposals. While there was some interest in the concepts – a book on vintage computers and another on using MBA business models and tools in small business – they didn’t get off the ground.

At that point it seemed to me that my career as an author was over, and I decided to put the whole book writing idea on hold. Then, in October last year, out of nowhere, Laura dropped me an email, inviting me to put together a proposal about Hacking MySpace for a major publisher. I put together what i thought was a pretty decent proposal, and before I knew it, I was signing a contract.
Sometimes opportunities come when you least expect them.

Posted Saturday, May 20th, 2006 at 1:19 am
Filed Under Category: Uncategorized
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