November 8th & 9th, 2024
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SeaGL speaker Q&A: Brian MacDonald

Brian MacDonald gives his talk titled, “Writing the Next Great Tech Book: From Idea to Successful Publication” on Saturday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m a freelance technical book editor. I’ve been doing this for about 20 years, mostly independent, but sometimes working in-house. My previous employers and clients include O’Reilly, Pragmatic, IDG Books, Wrox, Apress, Wiley, Manning, Osborne, and Coriolis. I’ve also done some contract work as a technical writer.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: There are a ton of tech books out there, good and bad, which leads to a lot of people wanting to write one, for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to do it wrong, and even if you’ve got a great idea with great execution, there’s no clear path to getting your book in front of a publisher. I’ll use my experience to shed some light on what publishers are looking for, how to frame your idea in a way that will be appealing to a publisher, and what you can expect from the publishing process.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: This is my first SeaGL, although I’ve been to conferences in other parts of the country. I enjoy going to regional conferences because I get to meet new people who don’t attend the big conferences. Also, the tech community is different in each part of the country, so I enjoy hearing what people are interested in. This is my first conference in the Seattle area, so I look forward to learning what’s unique about that area.

Q: Do you know the story behind the animal covers on O’Reilly books?

A: I do! And if someone asks about it at the session, I’ll tell it.