Going it Alone
Well, the "Exploring .NET" book will now be a solo project - all mine. It wasn't suprising to to read that e-mail Sunday night and find out that the other author dropped out, but...well, let's just say there were a lot of aspects about the departure that I'm not happy about at all. Fortunately, I think Apress is making the right decision to delay it until early 2004 (when it looks like .NET 2.0 will be released, although that date will probably move around a bit). I am very happy with the material I wrote, and while I will probably have to do some major revisions for 2.0, I do not want this book to die like the Pocket PC book I wrote nearly 2 years ago that never saw the light of day.
I have to say that this experience has completely soured me on writing books with other authors. This is the third time I've been burned, and I've had it. It's not that I don't like writing books and I really like working with Apress, but I can't invest the time anymore to bust my ass on getting my material done when other members are not contributing to the process. It's not emotionally gratifying, nor it is financially rewarding. Granted, I am currently working on a smallish .NET with another author, so I'll fulfill the contractual obligation on that one (plus it's a fun topic to boot). After that's done, I'm probably through with multi-author gigs (I have to pay homage to the the phrase, "never say never," as events and opportunities may happen in the future to motivate me to try it again, so I couldn't say, "I'm through with multi-author gigs").
I think one of the mistakes I've made with multi-author book projects is that I didn't treat them like a software project. That is, there were no weekly status reports from anyone on the project, including myself. Futhermore, no one was designated the project manager to keep everyone in check. When people start going dark on you, that's a red flag. The sad thing is I've known this (see point 6), but this last time I had no reason to think things would end up like they did. If there's anything I need to do more in my life, it's to trust my instincts. Any time something has blown up in my face, it's never been a surprise because I saw signs that were indicating a meltdown. Yet I didn't trust my gut. No more. I won't waste my time on endeavours that I can't have control over in some way, shape or form.
* Posted at 03.11.2003 09:42:11 AM CST | Link *