You might have noticed that I don’t just read technical books. In fact, at least half of the books I read are non-technical. A couple of months ago, I found a great deal on Amazon and I could get Ryan Holidays’ Perennial Seller for less than 3 bucks in the e-book version. Will it be a perennial seller? That I can’t tell, but it’s definitely an interesting book for those who are interested in creation.
Unsurprisingly Holiday’s book is about how to write a perennial seller, or more broadly how to create something that lasts. In the end, it’s not only for writers but for any kind of creative creators, artists.
It’s a thorough book. It starts with what you should create. Let’s stick to writing. You should write something that will stay relevant. Even though the book of Kathy Sierra on Java 6 might be great in its genre according to its reviews, but nobody cares about it by now. There is a new Java version coming out almost every few months.
On the other hand, Code Complete by Steve McConnell is a real perennial seller in the topic of software development. Its first version has been there for since 1993(!) - and I’m sure that for a long time it will be still sold for a lot of people. In fact, according to Holiday, its chance to survive even more increases by every day spent on the market. How can it be the case for such a book? It doesn’t cover a specific version of a specific language, but it teaches you who to craft code correctly in any object-oriented language. It’s mostly not about language or version dependent techniques, but about principles.
Besides, Holiday’s has a very important message for those misunderstood artists who wait to be discovered and lifted on the shields of patrons. You don’t just have to create something great and relevant. But you have to be ready for the marketing part. Very few books will just sell themselves in huge quantities if any.
You’ll have to spend about the same time on marketing than on writing your book, if not more. That’s something that is frequently overlooked, but it’s inevitable - for those not already having a huge follower base.
He also claims that creating a perennial seller is not for everyone. It requires a lot from the person. Creating one is not about delivering fast. It’s about revising it until you feel it’s ready. To support a piece of evidence for this idea, he writes about many books that existed as an ever-changing manuscript for long years after their first drafts were created. If you are interested in more of the process, I advise you to read Perennial Seller, you will not find it time wasted.