Sunday, April 01, 2012

The ABCs of self-publishing your own book

I had the pleasure of giving this talk on my experiences of writing a book on water quality monitoring (WQM) - Your first guide to WQM in Singapore, to my fellow staff in SP. See previous post for more information on my book.

Some advice here for budding writers out there.
  1. If you are writing about your experiences, it is important to document them. For me, this blog is my documentation of my WQM activities. When the time comes for you to write, referring back to your documentation is immensely easier than recalling your  memories from scratch. Trust me on this.
  2. Royalties (if any) make everything more tricky than they should be. Discuss with your management, collaborator, sponsor and other stakeholders well beforehand.
  3. Perhaps the best take-home message is: personalise your writing whenever possible. The reader prefer contents close to his heart with a fair bit of personal touch. Otherwise, your book will just become another piece of academic text. For example, if you want to stress about the importance of safety, it is far better to describe how a student got stuck in mud and almost became crocodile fodder. (Kidding on the croc part)
  4.  Figure: Going barefoot to brave the mud in Nee Soon Freshwater Swamp. Not a good idea...
    (Updated on 20/2/13: Nee Soon Swamp Forest is a highly sensitive area that is off limits to the general public as the biodiversity may not be able to handle the visitor load. Special permission from Nparks must be obtained prior to entering the area.)
Figure: Wearing wellies (high water boots) does not guarantee you won't be touched by mud but at least your feet are well protected.