Saturday, April 29, 2006

And the winner is...

Well, it's been a lot of work, but it's finally done.  The master images and PDFs of the new book are finally off to the print shop, and I hope to have a printed proof copy some time next week.

A lot of people suggested possible titles for the book, most inspired by article titles or themes, but also with a few off-the-wall suggestions like "Today Today".  (Huh?  Must be a joke that doesn't translate well across the pond.)

Other folks also had questions about what would be in it, or commented on what they'd like to see in it.  For example, an anonymous reader asked for "more organization and structure" to help make sense of the larger articles. Done!  While working on marking up the book, I added quite a few subheadings to organize most of the essays and reinforce key points.  I also split up a lot of larger paragraphs into more bite-sized chunks.

Most of those changes will also be uploaded to the website when I publish this article, so you'll be able to go back to The Multiple Self (for example) and see the additional headings that will be in the print version.

Also, the book has six major themed sections that group the essays by topic, with brief high-level summaries, an all-new introduction, and 16 pages of new material covering in depth the changes I made to myself that were described in The Multiple Self and Self, Version 2.0.  I don't know if these things are the kind of organization that the anonymous reader had in mind, but either way you now know what's going to be different between the book and the blog.

What's going to be in it?

Another anonymous reader asked whether part 2 of The Refactored Self will be in the book.  Yes!  I actually finished writing it a couple of weekends ago, and it's the most in-depth mind hacking how-to article I've written to date.  I also share many details about my Self, Version 2.0 change that I haven't previously shared in my blog.

That same reader also inquired whether this book was being self-published, and the answer is yes, definitely.  If you're not already a best-selling author, you have to do all your promotion and marketing anyway, so I figure I might as well get paid for it.  Mostly, though, this is a dues-paying book.  I'm doing it so my readers will be able to get a quality printed copy of the material that they can read anywhere, or share with others.  If I went to a publisher, it would be ages before a book actually came out, and it would cost me more in time than I'd receive in money.

So by doing it this way, I can also do a few things that wouldn't be possible through a publisher.  For instance, borrowing some ideas from the Creating Passionate Users blog, I'm making the first print run a special limited edition.  Copies will be numbered and signed by me personally, and only 150 (subject to printer overrun or underrun) will be made.

So, even if this edition sells out quickly enough to convince me to do another print run, the next run will have no numbers or signatures, or the "Special Limited Edition" imprint logos.  Nobody but true fans will have those, and of course they will be more valuable as collector's items when I eventually become famous.  ;-)  But even before then, copy #1 will be more valuable than copy #150.  After all, the lower the number, the bigger the bragging rights!

Content Matters

Of course, not everybody cares about bragging rights.  A lot of you probably care more about getting to read the rest of The Refactored Self, or just being able to get a copy of the other articles that you can read wherever and whenever you want.  For those folks, it's going to work out to about $1.25/article for the whole thing once (US) shipping is included.  Folks outside the US will have to spend more for the shipping, but I haven't gotten the details of that worked out yet.  I'll know more once I've got the shopping cart service set up.

But I'm digressing, and this article is starting to sound like a sales pitch.  I should save that for when I can actually take orders!  Really, the main point of this was to answer the questions that people brought up, and to announce the winning title.

So who won, already?

After mulling over everyone's suggestions, I noticed that nearly everyone followed some very common themes, mostly involving the metaphor of self-as-software.  But, most of the ideas were first-person ("I", "me", "self"), and it occurred to me that what I really wanted was to have a title that's about YOU.

And so, the book is now called "You, Version 2.0: How you can be happy and live life to its fullest, even if you're too intelligent for your own good!".

This isn't exactly the title that anybody proposed, although one anonymous reader came quite close with "Upgrade Your Mind: The Can-Do, Anything's Possible, Me v 2.0".  In fact, I think that's the one that tipped me towards realizing that I could use 2.0 with a different pronoun to create a different twist.

So thank you, to all of you who participated.  And a big thank-you also to everyone who shared positive comments in the past about the articles here.  When I went through them to gather quotes to put at the front of the book, I quickly found that they would go on for pages, even as tightly as I edited them.  So I ended up using only 18 of them, covering both sides of the pre-title page.  That is a lot of really nice things that you guys said.  Thank you.

I hope by next weekend to have some sort of mini-site up here for the book, with stuff like a PDF sampler, thumbnails, that sort of thing.  And of course an order form!

Your Regularly Scheduled Programming (articles, that is!)

In the meantime, now that I'm finished with the time-sucking beast that was getting this book ready, I'll be going back to writing articles on self-improvement, and maybe even some on programming!

One big part of the recent time-suckage has been me working on the software I used to assemble the book and to enable new blog features.  You might notice now that if you go visit one of my popular programming articles like Children of a Lesser Python, you get a different look and different links.  That should eventually culminate in me splitting off "PJE on Programming" as an essentially independent blog, with its own feed.

That will probably mean that if you're reading my self-improvement stuff by way of an aggregator like Planet Python, you'll eventually want to switch, as I'd like to ultimately keep the programming articles out of the main dirtSimple self-improvement feed (which means that the Planet Python aggregators will probably switch to using the PJE on Programming feed once it exists).  But I'll announce more details of that change once I finish figuring out the implementation details.

In the meantime, things are looking pretty good, and I'm enjoying that "just finished a personally-meaningful project" high.  In my next self-improvement article (or at least the next one I currently have in mind) I'll reflect a bit on the experience of putting the book together, and about the recent shifts I've made in my perception of how goals work,  what they're good for, and how to use them effectively.