Having a successful new author is fun

One of things I get the most satisfaction from in my job is finding a good new author and having their book be a success. I’ve had the good fortune this year to work with two of the best new authors I’ve worked with in a long time. I’ll write about the other one in a few weeks after his book has published but today I’m thinking about Richard York, author of Beginning CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design.

I first encountered Rich on our Wrox p2p.wrox.com discussion forums. At the time I first started paying attention to him, he’d posted several hundred times in the forums. As of today, a little less than 2 years after we launched the new forum version of p2p.wrox.com, Rich has posted 1165 times. And it’s not just volume of posts, it’s post quality. Here’s an example of a recent thread about his book between Rich and a reader:


Here a reader has asked the question "when is it good to use tables" and Rich has taken the time to write a 460 word answer. That’s a lot of work. I’m not forcing or begging Rich to do that, he does it because he really enjoys it.

If you look at any of the forums in the broader HTML, CSS, or JavaScript categories not specifically about his book and you’ll see things like this:


While not an overly long answer, here he really helps a forum visitor with a Firefox versus IE coding problem.

So, the p2p.wrox.com forums are how I found Rich and getting him started was really as simple as me asking something along the lines "hey Rich, you write so much in the forums about CSS, how about writing a book?"

From there, Rich was an acquisitions dream. He wrote a nice outline, reacted positively to feedback on the outline, gave us a reasonable schedule, hit his deadlines, was a joy for the development editor to work with, and is just generally a nice guy.

The outcome isn’t always that great but his book is now one of our best-selling books. I think a large part of his success comes from all the effort he’s put into helping people on p2p. It’s paid off for him in a couple of ways. One, I think Rich learns a lot by helping others. And two, I think he’s built a nice reputation for himself and his getting a lot of good referrals.

I feel great when nice things happen to someone who’s been so good to work with. And now Rich has book #1 selling well and is getting ready to write his 2nd book for me.



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