Drawing on Experience with Cameron Coursey

Author Cameron Coursey gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the writing process of his book, The Practitioner’s Guide to IoT:

My advisor in graduate school told me I had a knack for writing after he read the thesis for my Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. Come to think about it, he commented more on my writing than on the technical content of my thesis.

I’ve always found the saying, Write what you know, to be true. I know the Internet of Things, having been at the forefront of its introduction and growth for ten years. My writing process for Practitioners Guide to the Internet of Things began by creating an outline of each of the chapters, based on what I felt was a logical organization of the subject matter I knew. I had experience with IoT devices and cellular networks, including the coming 5G networks and the capabilities they will bring. I had experience delivering IoT solutions for various industries, including connected cars, asset tracking and management, and the like. I had to spend time getting deeper on some subjects, such as Machine Learning and the details of new 5G capabilities that have not launched yet like Network Slicing.

Once I had a good outline, I wrote most of the content in order, striving to complete a draft of one chapter per week. This was a challenge because I wrote at night and on the weekends. When I got to chapters where I still needed to learn some content, I started to skip around in my writing process, giving me more time to prepare the material for those chapters. However, writing the chapters in order helped me to ensure that when I referred to something in a latter chapter I knew it was already covered in an earlier one.

My reviewer provided invaluable comments and suggestions. It was important as the writer that I took a step back and considered my reviewer’s comments. The reviewer brought a different perspective and helped me to see areas where improvements were necessary. I edited each chapter as the reviewer provided comments and the manuscript came together quickly once the final chapter was completed. From start of the outline to submission of the manuscript was a six month process.

If you are planning on writing a book, your experience may be quite different. We are all unique and what works for one writer may not work for another. The best advice I can give you is to have compelling subject matter, listen to your editor, address comments from your reviewer, be persistent in your writing, and stay humble.


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