AMA: another book?

Stan asks…

Are you going to write another book? (please say yes :)

My response…

My first book was always an experiment: write a series of publicly accessible blog posts contradicting oneself on a series of topics, gather feedback on these and package these nicely into ePub/PDF format that people can buy for any amount they like (including free!). As I stated in my other post, I don’t think the book was a commercial success, but it was by no means a typical book, for instance, its length is rather shorth!

“It has often been said
there’s so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.

So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.

That’s why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader’s relief is.

And that’s why your books
have such power and strength.
You publish with shorth!
(Shorth is better than length.)”

I recently read an article ‘Moneyball for Book Publishers: a Detailed Look at How We Read‘ and I must admit I was a bit alarmed about the future of books, especially non-fiction books:

On average, fewer than half of the books tested were finished by a majority of readers. Most readers typically give up on a book in the early chapters. Women tend to quit after 50 to 100 pages, men after 30 to 50. Only 5 percent of the books Jellybooks tested were completed by more than 75 percent of readers. Sixty percent of books fell into a range where 25 percent to 50 percent of test readers finished them. Business books have surprisingly low completion rates.

It’s really quite depressing: this isn’t the sort of material that a person thinking about writing a book should read.

But it makes me think: maybe more people need to follow Dr Seuss’s advice: focus on shorth!

I can’t say I am thinking at all about writing another book at present, but if I do it will be unlike anything I’ve already written. Maybe some Dr Seuss style poems/illustrations about testing? Who knows…

Author: Alister Scott

Alister is an Excellence Wrangler for Automattic.