Here I thought that being asked to write a book (or three) was pretty cool. Nope, turns out being asked to update them for a second edition is better. If the book was a flop, then the publisher wouldn’t want to spend any more time or money on it, but if it does pretty well, and it needs updating, then they spend money on bringing it up to date.
Right now I’m in the process of updating the outlines and proposals for both Create Your Own Blog and Using WordPress, which is both easy and daunting. It’s easy when there are obvious updates (like using WP 3.2 or 3.3 for the books), but hard when I step back and look at what was missing the first time or what needs to be cut out wholesale.
I started Create Your Own Blog in 2008 and a lot has changed in the blogosphere in the roughly three years gone by. I think the current edition is still pretty relevant, but maybe there are new ways of thinking that might fit better.
Back in 2008 “Lifestreaming” was all the rage, now, not so much.
Facebook Pages? Something important to watch, but not quite there yet.
Posterous, Tumblr and others? Looking important, but WordPress was still ruling the roost (I still think WP is the best around, but I’m certainly biased).
Today, Typepad and MoveableType are essentially also-rans in the blogging world. Blogger is hanging around, and that pretty much describes where it is in the development world. Drupal has made huge strides in three years, and while still isn’t for the novice or simple blog, it’s a kickin’ powerful tool. WordPress has really come a long way in three years, but like I discussed in my WordPress class post, I think it’s WordPress.com that really has come into its own during this time.
Have these changes fundamentally changed the first half of the book (the “how to blog” portion)?
No, not really.
The changes are in what “Six blogging projects” I’ll talk about. Sure the basic personal blog is important, as is the business blog, but what about “lighter” blogs based on Posterous and Tumblr? How does multimedia fit into the today’s blogosphere? What about the blog engine-powered website (like I teach)?
Since my goal with Create Your Own Blog is to make a book that has a long shelf life, I don’t want to follow fans, but I do want to hit the hot topics of the day.
Now on the other hand Using WordPress is a horse of a different color. There is a lot in the current edition that is still correct, even if the version numbers don’t match up. The process of adding plugins and themes is the same. Updates are the same (just better). Menus are essentially the same, but there are more subtle changes that will be important to cover for people to get the most out of WP.
And then there is WP.com.
Even in the short, short time since Using WordPress came out WP.com has really upped the ante and I know that a new edition of Using WP will focus a lot more on WP.com than the first edition did.
But what else?
How deeply should I get into custom themes and creating child themes? Which theme frameworks deserve attention now?
Lots of questions and I have a few ideas and gut feelings on the matter, but what think ye, oh faithful readers?
What did I miss the first time? What’s in, what’s out, and what is the new hot topic?