Well, the title gives it away, so I just need to elaborate. I had so much fun and did so much research and wrote so much code for my Playing With Chaos presentation, and it went over so well and was very popular. But in the 45 minutes I had last week, or even in a full hour of talking, you can barely scratch the surface of the simplest bits of math or code and only show a few quick images or demos of each example. And there were lots of other examples that I didn’t even have time to touch on. I would love to be able to cover all the topics I had in mind, and go over each one fully enough, with well explained code. Thus, I’ve been thinking of writing a book based on the presentation.
The truth is that I’ve been thinking of writing this book for about a year. But doing the presentation at Beyond Tellerand – Play! solidified the idea. Here are some details about my plans:
1. I’m going to self-publish the book. I’ve been really interested in self-publishing for a while. This will be an experiment to see how well it works for me. The biggest thing I’m concerned about is the editing process. I’m sure I can dig up a technical reviewer or two, but the copy editing phase where someone at the publisher fixes all your spelling and grammar and unifies your tenses and persons and numbers, etc. is invaluable. I actually do understand grammar pretty well, but in a longer piece of writing I can lose track of the style I’m using and jump back and forth. It will take an extra reading or two with extra attention on this stuff to get it down. Or perhaps I’ll find someone willing to help me out on this point.
2. I’ll be going through the Amazon Kindle publishing service. I think this offers the best form of distribution, discoverability, protection, commerce, etc. In addition to being able to read the book on any existing Kindle, it can be read on any iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 or Blackberry device and on any computer via standalone reader apps or the Kindle web app. This also allows me the option to publish through other services such as B&N Nook and Apple iBooks as well. In addition, there are services that will publish hard copies of your Kindle book on demand for those who want to kill trees.
3. I will not be doing a Kickstarter project for the book. I don’t believe most books require any kind of start up capital. Unless you need to do some kind of heavy research, travel, or buy some expensive equipment, or quit your day job and write full time, there is really no up front cost. You sit down and write the book. The only thing I might need to pay out for would be a technical reviewer and/or copy editor, and that would be later and something I’m sure I can work out. I’ve contributed to funding two books over the last couple of years on Kickstarter and neither one of them has yet seen the light of day. It leaves the author in an odd position of being responsible to many people, but with no single person invested so heavily that they are going to bug him daily to meet deadlines. I’m not even sure there is any penalty if you get funded and never release the thing you were funded to do. Do the contributors eventually get their money back if nothing happens?
5. Right now, the TOC stands at 12 chapters, but that could change and rearrange. Right now I’m most of the way through the introduction chapter and have been working on developing a base package that all the examples can use to prevent massive duplication of code. The goal is to not rely on any major third party libraries just as jQuery, etc., and not to create something so complex that it becomes a heavy dependency. Basically, it’s just some boiler plate to grab the canvas, 2d context, some properties like width and height, and various utility functions for commonly used operations.
So watch this space for various updates over the next few months. Maybe even some teaser images or live demos. I haven’t really got a solid deadline in mind, but roughly hoping to be done by the end of the summer.