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Old 11-14-07, 06:02 PM   #1
Melalvai
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Sheldon Brown book

Hi folks,
I hope this is the right forum to post this on. It's indirectly related to bike mechanics.

I emailed Sheldon Brown to ask if there was any chance his website would ever be available in book format. His reply: "I would love to do a book or two sometime, but inertia is a terrible thing. What I really need is an agent to light a fire under me and help contact publishers."

Anyone here an agent? Know any publishers we could help him contact?
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Old 11-14-07, 11:40 PM   #2
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Hmmm. As an academic, with some understanding of the publishing business, I am not sure an agent would be too helpful for this stage of the project. It strikes me that Mr. Brown easily has the credibility to get a publisher to look seriously at a book proposal.

In a related note, I did not wait for the publishing world to catch up to him; I printed out and spiral-bound many of his tech essays long ago. They are now all frayed, stained, and covered in notes. Good stuff.

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Old 11-15-07, 07:01 AM   #3
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Some people self-publish books these days in electronic form. I am thinking of Kim Komando's books on computers and digital photography. Sheldon Brown's files are already in a folder he has uploaded to a web site. He could offer his web site content on a disc for a fair price. It should require very little reworking.
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Old 11-15-07, 07:15 AM   #4
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Hmmm. As an academic, with some understanding of the publishing business, I am not sure an agent would be too helpful for this stage of the project. It strikes me that Mr. Brown easily has the credibility to get a publisher to look seriously at a book proposal.

In a related note, I did not wait for the publishing world to catch up to him; I printed out and spiral-bound many of his tech essays long ago. They are now all frayed, stained, and covered in notes. Good stuff.

jim
I'm sure it isn't the credibility that Sheldon is lacking but rather ambition. Being ill as he is saps your energy and motivation, combined with the fact that Sheldon never seemed to be the self-aggrandizing type that so many book writing 'experts' seem to be.

Sheldon has the material, an agent would do so much more than just pitch the publisher.
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Old 11-15-07, 07:31 AM   #5
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His site would make a fabulous book. I've wondered about that for a long time.

He's got one guaranteed pre-order from me.
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Old 11-15-07, 07:53 AM   #6
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I publish books on my own. Printing, even in small print runs is now surprisingly inexpensive, and Lulu prints single books on customer commission. The biggest issue with publishing at this point is publicity and distribution. Someone with Sheldon's recognition shouldn't have any problem getting enough books in eager hands to make the project profitable.

The question is whether he wants to do it. Publishing a book is a bunch of work and, as noted, he's got concerns of his own. I *do* have experience to share, though, if he wants to go that route.
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Old 11-15-07, 09:24 AM   #7
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I'm sure it isn't the credibility that Sheldon is lacking but rather ambition. Being ill as he is saps your energy and motivation, combined with the fact that Sheldon never seemed to be the self-aggrandizing type that so many book writing 'experts' seem to be.

Sheldon has the material, an agent would do so much more than just pitch the publisher.
1. At this stage, I think that is exactly all an agent could do. As a matter of fact, I think that because of this, one would have a much harder time convincing an agent to care than one would convincing a publisher to care. Once a publisher (or two) has looked at the book proposal and expressed some interest, then maybe an agent could be helpful in striking a deal. Even then I doubt it is really necessary, unless one is a big-time, highly profitable writer. I think the world of Sheldon's writing, but he will not sell like Steven King.

2. Fair enough, if one really does not want to write a book, then there is no point pursuing it. But if one did, then the publisher will do a good enough job lighting a fire under you; an agent is not really a fire-lighter in this way.

jim
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Old 11-15-07, 09:36 AM   #8
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I'll take an autographed copy as well!
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Old 11-17-07, 05:00 AM   #9
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I'd take one for myself, for sure, and probably more for gifts for friends who are just getting into cycling.
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Old 11-17-07, 05:11 AM   #10
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I'm buyin' it!
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Old 11-17-07, 05:17 AM   #11
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How many copies does a book need to sell to be a bestseller? I think Sheldon's would be one. An I think this would be one of the best things he could do for himself - not in spite of his condition, but because of his condition!

I understand what he's saying: he may not ned an "Agent" as much as a publisher getting in touch with him, to tell him that yeah, we are interested in your book, if you'd only write it. That's what Sheldon wants. Don't be so anal about the term he used and simply try to understand what he needs - a little bit of motivation to start him up. I wouldn't want to start writing a book if I didn't know there's a very good chance it will be written. Maybe it's just me, but for me, writing takes a long time, and I can't imagine myself working every day for months, without even knowing if my stuff will be published.
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Old 11-17-07, 05:20 AM   #12
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Is there such an enterpreneuring and creative publisher that would consider a new model of distribution, where people make preorders? That way the publisher runs very little risk. Heck, with a name like Sheldon Brown on it, a book will have an assured and very large audience, so even the preorder is not necessary to guarantee a return on investment, but if a publisher is hesitant, do it on pre-order.

I'm buying a copy. I want that book yesterday.
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Old 11-17-07, 10:29 AM   #13
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I publish books on my own. Printing, even in small print runs is now surprisingly inexpensive, and Lulu prints single books on customer commission. The biggest issue with publishing at this point is publicity and distribution. Someone with Sheldon's recognition shouldn't have any problem getting enough books in eager hands to make the project profitable.

The question is whether he wants to do it. Publishing a book is a bunch of work and, as noted, he's got concerns of his own. I *do* have experience to share, though, if he wants to go that route.
That's ideal!

Who wants to approach Sheldon with the concept?
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Old 11-17-07, 10:38 AM   #14
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I just print the articles and staple them
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Old 11-17-07, 02:30 PM   #15
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Sounds more like a co-author/editor/ghostwriter is what is needed to get the material into publishable form and move the project forward. Even though he makes the info available for free, I'd buy a few copies just to show support and appreciation for what he gives to the cycling community.
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Old 11-17-07, 05:39 PM   #16
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Just self publish it in PDF format. Electronic distribution for the win.
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Old 11-17-07, 07:45 PM   #17
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Just self publish it in PDF format. Electronic distribution for the win.
That's one possibility, but I must say, I would love to have Sheldon's book in hardcover. His knowledge is precious, I would like to have it in a precious format, too. Then there could be a CD attached with the contents in .pdf or .html format.
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