I am beginning to like this authoring stuff. I released my first book just yesterday and orders have already started flowing in. But that’s not the only reason why I am in such a good mood this morning.
Up until now, I wrote software for a living. After someone purchases a license for one of my software products, certain things happen.
(1) The customer needs to install the software. He can face problems right then and there, since most of my products are plug-ins and need to be properly loaded into the host CAD application. I need to provide support to the customer.
(2) I need to give the customer a key to register the product on his computer. Since I live on the wrong side of the planet (at least in terms of CAD software), my customers sometimes need to wait for me to wake up, brush my teeth, walk my dog, have my breakfast and turn up in office before they get a key. But by that time, they are making plans to go to bed themselves. To solve this problem I am trying to get make this system instant and online. Anyways, this entire story repeats itself when the customer needs to transfer his license to a new computer.
(3) The product needs to work! This means the software needs to give the customer useful output without crashing. If it does not then I need to provide support and fix a problem that I sometimes do not experience myself. I once asked a customer to send me a screenshot when the error occurred. He stood three feet from his monitor, fished out his camera, took a snap and sent it to me. Luckily he sent the picture by email as an attachment and not by post.
(4) I need to constantly update my software so that it works with new versions of operating systems, CAD applications, their service packs, browsers, etc.
So basically, when someone purchases one of my software products, it is actually the beginning of a long term relationship, with me constantly striving to keep that relationship a good one. And for that I get paid. But when someone purchases one of my books (err… there’s actually just one), I simply get paid. There are no licensing or support issues at all. I may need to revise my book probably once a year, but I highly doubt that my readers will not be able to continue working if I don’t.
OK, the money in books may not be as much as software, but for the effort that goes into writing a book, it certainly appears to have an extremely high return on investment.
But try as I might, I still cannot get over my realization that Books Don’t Crash. You have to be a programmer to really understand how good that feels.