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Non-Fiction Work

Mostly my career has been in non-fiction because that's where the money is.

Technology journalism

My professional non-fiction career began in 2003, when I started writing reviews of PC hardware for my own review site, thejemreport.com (I'm not going to link to it because I no longer own the site and I have no idea what's there anymore). Then I started writing reviews of software, and that got me an offer to freelance for the media company formerly known as the Open Source Developer Network (OSDN, later renamed Open Source Technology Group (OSTG), and I think it was known as either SourceForge or ThinkGeek at the end of its life (both of those sites were in the OSDN portfolio)). At the time, OSDN encompassed Slashdot, SourceForge.net, ThinkGeek, and some content sites: NewsForge.com (now redirects to sourceforge.net), which was an online newspaper covering Linux and open source software; Linux.com (now owned by the Linux Foundation; I know no one currently working there), which mostly published how-to guides and tutorials (aside from republishing Linux-related stories from NewsForge); and IT Manager's Journal (also gone; looks like someone bought the domain name and put one blog post on it a long time ago), which published mostly news stories and interviews about IT management.

After that, I continued to freelance for some Linux news sites, though the only one I can remember right now is Linux Today. I also wrote a few articles outside of that context.

Here's a reasonably complete list of articles I wrote.

Books

Here are the non-fiction books that I officially have authorship of:

  • SUSE Linux 10.1 Kick Start (Sams Publishing, 2006)
  • The OpenBSD 4.0 Crash Course (O'Reilly Media, 2007, ISBN: 9780596510152)
  • The FreeBSD 6.2 Crash Course (O'Reilly Media, 2007, ISBN: 9780596510169)
  • Inside Freebase MJT Web Applications (O'Reilly Media, 2007)

I'd originally intended to update those titles for each major software release, but that never worked out for various reasons: Sams Publishing didn't want to do any more in this series, ORM wanted a new edition of the BSD titles but I couldn't find the time to write and research them, and the last one was a one-off publication that ORM commissioned on behalf of a company that was eventually acquired by Google.

I also had "silent authorship" of the following titles; it was not a secret that I contributed to them, but my name did not appear on the cover (nor did I want it to; if I don't have control over the finished product, then I don't want my name on it):

  • Point & Click Linux! (Prentice Hall, 2004, ISBN: 9780131488724). I wrote the chapters on image editing and networking.
  • The Art of SEO, First Edition (O'Reilly Media, 2009, ISBN: 9780596518868). I wrote the majority of the first edition based on source material provided by the other authors, and I was originally supposed to be sort of a "silent partner" who shared the royalties with them, but that deal fell through and I ended up being paid a flat-rate as a ghostwriter.

Books that I have substantially worked on in a ghostwriting, project management, and/or technical editing capacity:

  • Enterprise Ajax: Building Robust Ajax Applications (Dave Johnson et al, Prentice Hall PTR, 2008, ISBN: 9780137132607).
  • Website Optimization: Speed, Search Engine & Conversion Rate Secrets (Andrew King, O‚ÄôReilly Media, 2008, ISBN: 9780596515089).
  • Pentaho Reporting 3.5 For Java Developers (Will Gorman, Packt Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 9781847193193).
  • Google Power Search, First Edition (Stephan Spencer, O'Reilly Media, 2011, ISBN: 9781449311568)
  • The Art of SEO, Second Edition (Eric Enge et al, O'Reilly Media, 2012, ISBN: 9781449304218)
  • Social e-Commerce: Increasing Sales and Extending Brand Reach (Stephan Spencer et al, O'Reilly Media, 2014, ISBN: 9781449366360)
  • Google Power Search, Second Edition (Stephan Spencer, Koshkonong, 2017, ISBN: 9780999284704)
  • Google Power Search, Third Edition (Stephan Spencer, Koshkonong, 2021, ISBN: 9780999284728)
  • The Art of SEO, Fourth Edition (Eric Enge et al, O'Reilly Media, 2023, ISBN: 9781098102616)

Finally, there were 12 book projects that were never completed for various reasons. Some were ghostwriting projects that the author lost interest in. Most recently the named author on a project I completed passed away from COVID-19 before his book was published, and to my knowledge it is still warehoused. A few other titles were projects that I started and planned on pitching to publishers, but eventually I decided they weren't worth the effort. Some titles I had contracts for, but they were cancelled because the editor wanted to do too much "editing" or wanted to alter the structure or topic of the book in a way that I felt wouldn't work for the target readership.