(Photo by Flickr user chotda, used under a Creative Commons license)
One of Brandon Hilkert’s big goals for 2014 was to write a book. (The other was to complete an Ironman triathlon.)
He did both. Actually, it was completing the Ironman that made him feel like he could write the book. Before embarking on the book project, Hilkert, a developer at PipelineDeals and a member of West Chester coworking space Walnut St. Labs, wasn’t a prolific writer.
“I think I was probably the last person ever qualified to write a book,” he wrote in an email to us. “But it sounded like a challenging project that would make me a better writer and communicator in the process.”
It took him just under three months.
His book, Build a Ruby Gem, launched last March and has done more than $20,000 in sales since then. (It goes for between $39 and $129, with screencasts as an added bonus for the more expensive option.) He marketed the book through the online Ruby community and his blog and newsletter.
Before investing the time into writing the book, Hilkert gauged interest by launching an email course on the book’s content.
I put the course out there and for some reason thought that if 200 people signed up, I would continue on writing the book. I think within the first week of launching the course, 700 people had signed up. This, to me, was enough validation to continue.
Hilkert is one of many Philly entrepreneurs and developers that have written and published books. Check out our list below and let us know what we missed.
- What Do I Test? by Eric Steele
- How To Do Keyword Research For SEO by Nick Eubanks
- Auto Layout Essentials for iOS by Ben Shive
- Web Development with MongoDB and Node.js by Jason Krol, AWeber
- RabbitMQ In Depth by Gavin Roy, AWeber
- Python Cookbook by Brian K. Jones, AWeber (with David Beazley)
- Linux Server Hacks, Volume 2 by Brian K. Jones (with William von Hagen)
- Functional Programming Patterns in Scala and Clojure: Write Lean Programs for the JVM by Michael Bevilacqua-Linn, Comcast
- Retinafy your web sites & apps by Thomas Fuchs
- Build a Ruby Gem by Brandon Hilkert, PipelineDeals
- Pocket Guide to Writing SVG by Joni Trythall, Lincoln Loop. (Trythall lives in Delaware but is involved in the Philly tech scene. See Technical.ly Delaware’s story on Trythall and her book here.)
- Adapting to Web Standards: CSS and Ajax for Big Sites by Kimberly Blessing et al., Think Brownstone
- HTML5 Cookbook, featuring Kimberly Blessing as a contributor
- Just Fucking Ship by Amy Hoy. (See our story on Hoy and her book here.)
- Traction by Gabe Weinberg (with Justin Mares)
- Just Fucking Demo by Robert Falcone, Monetate. (See our story on Falcone and his book here.)
- R for Marketing Research and Analytics by Elea McDonnell Feit, Drexel University. (See our story on Feit and her book here.)
- Content Everywhere by Sara Wachter-Boettcher