I want to write on a computer topic which isn't covered by many existing books out there. What is the process of getting your book published?

  • Kim, I removed an unfinished sentence from the end of this question. If you intended to expand and clarify the question, please do :)
    – Standback
    Mar 22, 2011 at 10:33
  • The tag seems off to me. A computer book isn't scientific publishing; it's a reference book. But "reference" seems to be used for something else. Thoughts, folks? I'm opening a question in meta. (Oh - or did you mean Computer Science?)
    – Standback
    Mar 22, 2011 at 10:35
  • Reference seems to be used as in "Reference a book within my book". It'd be nice to write those tag wikis.
    – iajrz
    Mar 22, 2011 at 11:54

2 Answers 2


The answer: yes, there is such a guide. There are many such guides, at the publishers' websites.

Now on to the dessert:

If the topic is on computers, no doubt you'd like a publisher like O'Reilly.

Here they have a step-by-step guide to getting published by them. I'm pretty sure several other computer science/technology related publishers will have guides on their sites, too.

So, being the publisher the author, I think we can count it as legitimate. And it is pretty straightforward, too.

In short:

  1. Write the book.
  2. Propose it (they have a "list of dos and don'ts" for proposing in the site I linked you to)
  3. If you haven't written the book, it is recommended you read the "So you want to write a book" article. (Link available at the site I linked to)

As I said before, if you're writing something that hasn't been covered, no doubt you'll want O'Reilly. But they'll ask you: why are you uniquely qualified for writing that book?

It was asked in a comment: what about fantasy or sci-fi? Answer: Tor dot com might be what you're looking for. I linked directly to their submissions guidelines' page. They don't want novels, just short fiction. But they link to Tor Books' submission guidelines. in case you have a longer work. Good luck and have fun!

  • what about other books such as novels and fiction? Mar 22, 2011 at 22:10
  • Appending that to the original answer.
    – iajrz
    Mar 23, 2011 at 0:16
  • So basically ask the publisher directly? Don't I need an agent to do that? I'm not sure if Tor.com is right for me. I want an actual tangible copy that I can have. Basically, I want to write some stuff on North Korea from my own experiences. Mar 23, 2011 at 1:50
  • You don't need an agent for contacting publishers, although they might be able to do that. As far as agents are concerned, I'm not the best advice around... there's another question regarding what agents do and don't do for you, if you search for it. Anyway, just look for some company that publishes the sort of work you want to publish, and look around their sites. They want good books to reach them, so they will certainly be open.
    – iajrz
    Mar 23, 2011 at 2:15
  • 1
    Getting a fiction book published is a somewhat different story than getting a reference book published, and probably merits its own, separate question. e.g. this one: writers.stackexchange.com/questions/1979/…
    – Standback
    Mar 23, 2011 at 8:08

I disagree with @iajrz. For non-fiction, you should write the proposal first. Publishers and agents do not want to deal with a fait accompli. Check out Larsen's book. It's a great walkthrough of the entire process.

I published a computer book in 2001, and sold 10,000 copies, so I know a little bit about this subject.

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