As a quick list, here's what I had to do, or suggestions:
1) Create proposal for book, which required marketing research of competitive titles, market size, and educational institutional interest. I also needed to provide background information about myself, create my own quick marketing pitches (used at places like Amazon, which were expanded on by the publisher), and identify each chapter and sub-topics. The actual proposal submission is undoubtedly different for each publisher, and probably can be found online somewhere. The more information you can provide, the better. Turns out, they take your proposal as-is, and submit it through a review process (involving multiple approval steps)... so the more professional the submission and research, the better.
2) Wait for the rejection email. If it's close to being accepted, the email will tell me what the problem area is, so I can fix it. Otherwise... tough luck; maybe next time.
3) If accepted, finish contract negotiation... which really means take what they offer if this is the first book. ;-) (we'll see if there's any flexibility on book #2).
4) Once everything is signed, my first deliverable was the chapter outline, down to three layers (instead of just two, like in the proposal). Hint: Make sure you do your research on this before submitting it... they will hold your feet to the fire if you decide to alter your chapters once submitted).
5) Write your ass off. Cloister yourself in a room for months, with no weekends, and no leisure time after work. I am not kidding about this. Writing the book took multiple revisions, and the sooner you can knock out the material, the better. I barely made the deadline with no additional days to spare, plus I had to take a quarter off from my PhD schooling. Writing a book consumes a lot of time.
6) Get good
feedback from people you trust to be brutally honest (preferably others who have already written something). People who massage your ego are doing you a disservice. Take the good advice and do what they tell you. I was lucky to have a friend that provided me with excellent advice, who has also written before. His advice saved me a lot of hardship.
7) Re-write your ass off.
8 ) Re-write your ass off again. Seriously. It sucks re-writing the entire book, over and over again, but it'll be worth it.
9) MAKE YOUR DEADLINES!
10) One my book was submitted, I was passed off to a production editor, who oversaw the editing and production of the final book. I received feedback from the technical editor, and had to incorporate his suggestions, or find really valid reasons to reject them. If you reject the suggestions and the technical editor doesn't agree, you end up in mediation
Yep, you will end up in a phone call until a compromise is decided on. In other words, you can't BS your way through the book - know your shit. (FYI, I didn't have to go through mediation, but was made clearly aware of the process).
11) Re-write your ass off, taking into account what the technical editor suggests. This can be substantial. Also, the technical editor is not
going to correct grammar or spelling errors. It's important to be a good writer (technical writing does not count)... after all, that's pretty much what you're getting paid to do - write, and write well. Knowledge isn't everything, or everyone would be an author.
12) Illustrations and screenshots are critical to get correct. You may think you're doing them right... but you're wrong. The publisher has some very strict guidelines that have to be followed in order to get the images to print correctly.
13) Eventually, I was done with revisions (sort of), and received copies of the chapters in PDF form, which I had to check for accuracy (stuff will always
slip through...). Also, I had to check for syntax (for codes). I have no idea how many times I had to read my own book.
14) In my case, I wanted to include a DVD with video tutorials and ISO images, so the reader could replicate everything discussed in the book. Originally, the DVD was going to be dual layer. What a mistake and headache. In the end, we trimmed the disk down to a single layer. I will never attempt to do a dual layer DVD with a book release again. Never.
15) Eventually, I was done. Next, it was waiting, until I received an email telling me they were sending me an advance copy of my book. Oh, JOY!
16) Throw a book release party. Everyone needs closure, especially after a difficult event, and writing a book definitely qualifies as difficult. The writing of the book was overwhelming and stressful for the whole family, and we needed a reason to celebrate. Having the final product in hand made it all feel worthwhile. However, I'm finding out the real stressful part is worrying how the readers feel about the book. Just like a new father, there is the fear that others will think my new kid is "ugly," despite my own bias viewpoint. I honestly believe the book provides a wealth of information for readers of all skill levels, engineers and managers alike... but I have to wait to see what you all think, and that's tough. Real tough.