Just got back from the Waterside Conference, the yearly conference for computer book authors. I haven’t actually written any computer books in a long time, but I still go because, well, I like the parties and its a chance to catch up with a lot of people I really like and don’t get to see very often. Plus in recent years it’s been up in Berkeley and that’s just a drive up the right side of the bay for me. It’d be different if I had to actually fly somewhere to get there.
As far as the conference goes there were also some interesting talks about branding and connecting with readers, about what’s up with the computer book industry right now (it still sucks) and what’s actually working well (design, Mac, gadget books). The interesting turn that was emphasized this year: publishers want name brand authors. They want celebrities in a particular realm of technology or someone who can otherwise stand out from the crowd. This is a big change from…well, any other time I’ve been writing computer books, when the author wasn’t as important as the series (Dummies, Teach Yourself, Bible, etc, etc). Its a good thing for me, since even four years after I stopped writing books I still have a recognizable name in the industry.
I didn’t login once while I was gone, mostly because there was no wireless connectivity at the conference and I forgot to bring a cable for the internet in the hotel rooms (plus it was $10 and I’ve developed this thing about paying that much for getting online). I didn’t miss it much, although now I have lots to catch up on.