I’m glad to report Switching to VoIP is nearing completion. But I must say, writing this book has been a really enlightening experience. Allow me a moment to bare my soul about it.
I’ve written articles for magazines before, but I think it’s fair to say I’m a first-time author, because writing a 300+ page book for O’Reilly Media is a quite a new experience, indeed. Prior to this, I’ve never had to study a subject so closely; I’ve never had to throw myself at something so hard. Sure, I’ve installed VoIP equipment and programmed VoIP servers, but to write authoritatively about it takes a confidence in the material that’s a notch higher. When you do something for yourself, you can forgive yourself for any mis-steps. When you do something for others, like writing a book, it better be right on.
As I’ve written, I’ve done a lot of what I hesitate to call “second-guessing”, but that’s probably what it is. I write a chapter, and I love it. Then, the next day, I go back and read it again–and this time, I hate it. Or maybe I encounter some esoteric detail in the “real world” that I realize I’ve neglected to put in, and I say to myself, “Man, that would be great as a side bar in the book.”
So I do yet another revision to a chapter I’ve thought was finished on several occassions. And, after I add that sexy nugget of newly-discovered information, I think the chapter is done–again. This has happened more times than I can number with an 8-bit expression.
Then there’s my consistent paranoia about making sure every fact is straight, clearly presented, and relevant. Is this paragraph dull? Is it worthwhile? Who is going to benefit from a 2-page essay on budgeting a VoIP project? Is that too much space on a non-technical subject in an otherwise-technical book?
Am I blathering on here like an incoherent windbag? Chances are, if I think I am–I am.
I’ve just spent all week re-reading my manuscripts, circling grammar mistakes and typos that I swear I’ve already fixed, and combing the concepts I’ve presented, and the order in which I’ve presented them. As it turns out, I’ve done more wholesale paragraph elimination than I ever figured I would need to do.
I say to my wife, “Kelly, this book is going to be good.”
I do believe it is going to be well-received and helpful to the burgeoning community of the VoIP-curious. I remind myself how needed this book is. Where else can you find a well-presented source of hands-on learning material for enterprise Voice Over IP that is geared towards I.T. people and not telecom nerds? Nowhere. O’Reilly will be first to market with it. That fact alone gives me a lot of satisfaction. I’ve been a part of something new, something fresh, something whose timing was perfect and whose content was relevant.
Now that you know how I feel, let me get back to work. The writing phase of this project is almost done, but there’s a lot of work yet to be done. O’Reilly’s editorial staff–who have thus far been fantastically supportive–will review the book with a deep glare, their artists will create the illustrations, their copy editors will fix the grammar mistakes to which I’ve doubtless been oblivious.
So, it’s back to the office. I have one chapter left to write, three appendices to edit, and a whole lot of proofreading to do. I’ll update you when all that’s done.
What do you want to learn about VoIP? What aspects of VoIP aren’t covered well enough by the learning material that’s presently available?