For the third time in my life, I have written a book. HTML5 For Web Designers is available for pre-order now from A Book Apart.
That’s right—the same lovely people who brought you A List Apart are now delivering good ol’-fashioned dead tree publications.
The quality and craftsmanship of the resultant book is, as you would expect, stratospherically high. How could it not be given the team of superheroes who put it together:
- Jason Santa Maria is the designer,
- Mandy Brown is the editor and
- Jeffrey Zeldman oversaw the whole process.
Working with them has been an honour and a pleasure. I’m certain that is their generosity that spurred me on to deliver what is, in my opinion, the best thing I have ever written.
It’s not a long book. It’s about 16 kilowords long. That’s a feature, not a bug.
If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.
Whether that quote is attributable to Cicero, Twain or Pascal, it speaks to a real truth in writing.
Omit needless words said William Strunk. Or, as Orwell wrote in Politics and the English Language:
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
But that doesn’t mean that HTML5 for Web Designers is a mere exercise in brevity and information density. It’s also quite fun.
Fun isn’t a word that you often hear associated with technical subjects like markup languages but I knew that if I wanted to appeal to the right audience for this book, I had two watchwords:
- It has to be brief.
- It has to be entertaining.
That’s where the team behind A Book Apart really helped me.
I started with the first chapter and wrote it in my voice. This is usually the point at which a traditional publisher would respond with suggestions for
improvements to the writing style to make it
appeal to a wider audience …resulting in a watered-down bland shadow of the original.
Jeffrey, Mandy and Jason responded with so much enthusiasm and encouragement that I felt I could continue to just be myself when writing this book. The result is something I am truly proud of.
The first hit is free. You can read chapter one, A Brief History of Markup, on A List Apart.
As excited and proud as I am of HTML5 for Web Designers, is it wrong that I am equally excited that the book is also an item on Gowalla?