This post is about the process of writing and self-publishing my second book, Equity Compensation for Tech Employees. For more information about the book itself check out my earlier post or the book website. I will cover the tools I used to write, revise, and publish the book as well as a few areas where the process could be improved.
Much of my writing and publication process was similar to the one that Gergely Orosz describes in this post. I wrote and edited drafts in Google Docs. This made it easy to share copies with reviewers and have them comment directly in the draft. The book cover and other images for the marketing site were made with Canva. Graphics within the book, such as simulations using historical data, were written in R.
To revise the book I had the help of a number of reviewers. They read drafts and provided thoughtful comments that greatly improved the finished product. I also used Hemingway to help me improve the clarity of the writing. One tool that would have been helpful during the revision stage is a way to make sure reviewers are all looking at the most recent copy changes (something like GitHub PRs but for prose writing).
The book is published in PDF, ePub, and Kindle formats. To typeset the final version I used Vellum. It is a very nice app and what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor. I would have used it earlier in the process if there had been an easy way to keep the manuscript updated during the revision stage. (If you only plan to publish a PDF you probably don’t need Vellum.) I used Gumroad for sales and delivery of the final product, and it made details like discount codes and affiliate links very easy to work with.
To develop the book website itself, I used an excellent template from Xiaoying Riley. The site is built with Jekyll. It is deployed with Netlify. This was my first time using Netlify and I really appreciated its simplicity.
The process of writing and publishing this book helped me to sharpen some existing skills and develop a few new ones. I enjoyed writing and revising using some of the techniques described in this post. This was my first time conducting a revision process with so many reviewers, which helped me to exercise my project management skills. I am also using the project as a way to get better at marketing. So if you found this post useful, please check out the book!