One year ago this week, we released Joomla Explained.
It was a tough book to write for several reasons, but it was worth it in the end. Since its release, Joomla Explained has been the best-selling and best-reviewed Joomla book.
The response to Joomla Explained was strong enough that we are able to turn Joomla Explained into a series.
The Joomla Explained Series
We're going to take the Joomla Explained approach and expand it to Drupal and WordPress also. We've agreed to write three more books:
- Drupal 7 Explained
- WordPress Explained
- Joomla 3 Explained
Here's when the books will be out:
- Drupal 7 Explained is mostly written and will be the first one published.
- WordPress Explained will be next, hopefully in 2012.
- Joomla 3 Explained will arrive in 2013.
Working with Co-Authors
Three books in one year is a lot of writing and so we're partnering with some outstanding co-authors.
For Drupal 7 Explained we're working with Cindy McCourt who wrote Drupal: The Guide to Planning and Building Websites last year.
Cindy's been working with Drupal since version 4.5 and has been training for over 20 years. She's been a wonderful Drupal trainer with us, working in Washington D.C.
The Challenges of Writing for Three Different Markets
Beyond the challenge of getting the books written, there are definitely going to be a lot of challenges in making all three books successful.
First and foremost, we'll be writing about different software and reaching out to different communities.
There's also the consideration that WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are three very different book markets:
- WordPress is a huge market with a lot of competition. Several books sell well over 100 copies per week.
- Joomla is a medium-size market. Joomla Explained regularly sold over 100 copies per week although it's around half that now.
- Drupal is the smallest market of the three.
This actually has an impact on the cost of books:
- WordPress books tend to be cheaper, often around the $15 to $20 range. This is because they sell more, so lower margins are acceptable, but also because the competition is strong and that forces prices down.
- Joomla books tend to be in the $20 to $30 range.
- Drupal books often cost over $30 because they need the higher profit margins to make publication viable.
So, although we're writing a series, we will need to adapt to different markets.
What Makes Us Think a Series Can Work?
Looking back, I think there there are three main reasons that Joomla Explained worked:
- Practice: We do nothing but training, so we had plenty of opportunity to test out different ideas and see which ones worked.
- Process: The book's subtitle was "Your Step-by-Step Guide" and we meant it. Everything we asked readers to do had a clear process outlined.
- Plain English: Writing simply was a big aim. We used this readability calculator to make sure we explained ourselves simply.
These ideas are summed up in our teaching philosophy, the OSWay. It's no guarantee of success, but we think the same approach will be useful to Drupal, WordPress and Joomla 3 users.