After two months of writing, I have just finished publishing my first book titled "The Reken Developer Handbook." Initially, I had no intention of writing the book. It all began when I aimed to improve the documentation for Reken, the Web Development framework I've been working on. I filed an issue on the project's GitHub, hoping someone would be interested in helping with the Reken project.
Since there were no volunteers, this fall, I decided to take on the task myself and started working on a Developer Guide. As writing is not my forte, I sought assistance from ChatGPT. I used it to generate a chapter layout and then a layout for each chapter. This process resulted in 18 chapters, which I later reduced to 14.
I then began writing content for each chapter. Being a guide, it included numerous code samples, with complexity increasing in subsequent chapters. Halfway through, I realized the guide had the potential to become a book, which was a significant motivation.
The first few chapters contain easy examples, but in Chapter 7, the book progresses to a complete interactive application representing an employee directory with profile photos, which I had generated by DALL-E.
Upon completing the content, it totaled over 15,000 words (184 pages) and featured more than 70 code samples, ranging from simple snippets to entire applications. I also made these code samples available as standalone webpages on the reken.dev website and as a downloadable zip file.
A great way to publish a book is via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing program. They offer a desktop application, Amazon Kindle Create, to design the book around your content.
Since my content was written in markdown (converted to HTML for the website), and Kindle Create requires a Microsoft Word document (doc or docx), I needed a tool to convert from markdown to docx. I found a tool called Pandoc, a universal document converter. It processed the markdown file, which I had created by merging all the individual markdown chapters into one file, and generated a Word document.
In Kindle Create, you can also include book-specific details such as cover design, foreword, index, and author information. It also allows you to preview the book as it would appear on a Kindle, iPad, and iPhone.
To publish the book, I visited Kindle Publishing online, provided details about the book, and uploaded the exported .kpf file. I also needed a book cover. Here, I again turned to ChatGPT and asked for various book cover designs. After some deliberation, I chose a mostly orange design featuring a symbolic Dodo (an extinct Australian turkey) with abstract ornaments. Since I saw a documentary about this now extinct bird, alway had an interest in Dodos.
Once I pressed the publish button, there was a two-day review period before the book appeared in the Amazon Kindle store, where it is now available for purchase.