We've had a meta question looking for questions to include in a Writers.SE e-book. However, a good book demands structure and planning. It's difficult to select questions for inclusion without knowing anything about the book itself.

  • What will the book's structure be? Should we look for topical divisions to group questions into sections? (Plot, characters, etc.)
  • Should we make the book about all sorts of writing, or simply acknowledge that this site is predominantly about fiction? (There are some books about writing in general that are very good indeed.)
  • Will it simply be a compilation of good questions and answers, or will these be edited into essays that read more smoothly, giving people a reason to read the book? Or would that be too much work?
  • Who will read this book, and why?
  • What is the purpose of the book? Will we be adding any real value to the book beyond what's in the questions we select, or is the e-book simply a piece of memorabilia for this site?

None of these have right or wrong answers, but they are questions that we should answer before selecting content.

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I'm puzzled. If these questions are all unanswered, who had the idea to make a book and why? –  John Smithers Oct 21 '12 at 20:01
    
@JohnSmithers - Several of the mods and SE management have agreed that this is a good enough idea to at least be worth talking about. –  Neil Fein Oct 22 '12 at 2:04
    
My concern would be dealing with the copyright issues. If SE is sponsoring or publishing the book, then it probably isn't an issue. However, is one of us does it, that may be another matter. –  Steven Drennon Oct 30 '12 at 3:47
    
@StevenDrennon - All content here is creative commons by default, so this shouldn't be much of an issue. Whether people want their questions to be in an e-book or not should probably be explored. –  Neil Fein Nov 1 '12 at 19:54
    
@NeilFein - There is also the issue of whether or not people want their answers to be included. On top of that, there is the issue of any comments that are tied to either a question or an answer. Some of the discussions have been known to get a little out of line, and some people might not want to share that with a broader audience, plus such content could put us in a negative light. Part of my concern is that something like this might lead some people to start deleting their content to make sure they are excluded. –  Steven Drennon Nov 1 '12 at 20:24
    
Comments wouldn't be part of this, and we'd almost certainly lightly edit the questions/answers into a form that's suitable for a book. –  Neil Fein Nov 1 '12 at 22:47

1 Answer 1

Who will read this book

People who want to improve their writing. People who read books like "How to write a damn good novel".

… and why

To improve their writing. WTF, don't you listen ;)

Really, there are tons of writing books out there. Now you can argue "why one more, it's overstuffed already" or "why not, looks like a good market". (Remind, there are also tons of writing sites out there.)

What will the book's structure be?

Grouping into sections is the way to go. If you have character problems (fictional ones) you have all answers on one spot. That's handy.

Should we make the book about all sorts of writing

Technical Writing should be at least one section of its own (if we do not subdivide it further because of lacking questions).

Will it simply be a compilation of good questions and answers

Really depends what you want to put in there. First, whatever it is, it should be copy-edited. For a site for writers we are pretty bad at grammar, spelling and stuff.

Second, if you choose good answers to bad questions, you may want to turn it into an essay to leave the question out. But you do not need to do it for all questions/answers, I guess.

What is the purpose of the book?

Marketing? Help? Improvement? People who visit the site regularly do not need the book. But I wouldn't count them to the main audience. (We are only five people anyway ;)

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We are five awesome people. :P –  Lauren Ipsum Oct 25 '12 at 21:47

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