I have a book deal

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Book

Hello, there.

It’s been a number of weeks since I published an article on this site. Don’t worry though; nothing untoward has happened. In fact, something – erm – toward has happened instead.

Last week I signed a contract to turn The Engineering Manager into a book! A while back, I asked those on my mailing list what they would like to see in the future direction of this website.  Should I be focussing on management, current affairs, technology, or something else? The answer was predominantly that I should try and turn what I’ve written into a complete tome. I’m excited to say that it’s now going to happen.

I wrote short pitches to a number of publishers and some of those turned into longer book proposals with sample material. After a bunch of emails and calls, I was extremely lucky to be offered to sign with my number one choice: The Pragmatic Bookshelf, who produce some of the best books for developers out there, including the developer’s bible: The Pragmatic Programmer. Not only do they give their authors a good deal – 50% royalties compared to the usual 10% from other publishers – they also give their editors a cut of the proceeds.

“But,” I hear you cry, “Isn’t this a book about management?”

Well, yes. But my target audience isn’t existing managers. It’s the millions of developers worldwide who are interested in making the jump. My book is going to be a practical and pragmatic hands-on guide to becoming a fantastic manager. It’ll be a career companion to excel in the role, written by someone who’s been there before (me!). It’ll give readers the tools and techniques to succeed.

If I was to boil down the book to core competencies, then readers will:

  • Go from zero to hero: They will learn the essential toolkit for any new manager. They’ll be able to feel confident in their skills and face this new world head on. Their colleagues will think they’ve been doing this job for years.
  • Master practical methods: Like programming, management is about repeatable techniques and tools. Readers will learn how to run meetings, do performance reviews, hire, negotiate, debate, coach and mentor like a pro. 
  • Apply psychology: Good leadership comes from within. Readers will explore how to deal with common challenges they will face with their staff, their boss and themselves in a way that allows them to stay happy and healthy.
  • Supercharge their department: Our readers can also use their new found skills to make their department a better place. They will learn how to develop career tracks, tackle diversity issues, form guilds and committees, ensure best practice and support flexible and remote working.
  • Plan for the future: Readers will go through an exercise to plan the next 5 years of their career. They can then take this away and do the same with their staff.

As of today I’ve met my managing editor and my editor, and we’re working on the structure together. I’m really looking forward to getting started. It’s going to be a long and challenging process – it’ll be much, much longer than my Ph.D. thesis – but I’ve always dreamed about being a published author.

During the call we were talking through the process of writing and editing, and when my editor mentioned the point that Amazon, Barnes & Noble and O’Reilly are notified that it’s coming, I got a little flutter in my stomach. Now it’s just a case of generating a lot of words and putting them in the right order.  Can hard how be that?

We reckon it’ll land around the middle of next year. I hope not to be in a complete hole until then, but I won’t be dishing out the articles regularly. If you’ve been reading this site for the last couple of years, then thank you: your feedback and comments have very much helped me end up here. I will try to do you proud on dead wood (or ebook; your choice).

If you want me, I’ll be at my desk.

10 Comments

  1. Michael says

    Your book sounds excellent. Very interested to buy and read it.

  2. Ali L says

    > Can hard how be that?

    Eye roll and reluctant clap.

    Seriously though, great work James. Really looking forward to this.

  3. Awesome! That’s good to hear they’ve been great to work with so far. I’m sending them a proposal in the next week… they’re my first choice, too. Hope my book can meet yours on the best-seller list!

  4. Furqan says

    Congrats! I just came across your site/blog today and have already found the content here very helpful. Have you thought about doing a LinkedIn Learning course?

    • Thank you for the kind comment! I hadn’t thought about that at all. Once the book is written this might be an interesting alternative angle to present the content, though – so thanks very much for your suggestion. 🙂

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