A Data Science Central Community
Have you ever thought about writing a book on big data, analytics, Hadoop or data science? Maybe you think it will take too much time, and it will generate very little money?
No public data is available about how much money authors make. It certainly is highly variable. I've seen highly respected, senior authors desperately looking for junior data science jobs, an indication that maybe writing books does not necessarily pay that much.
Here I just share my experience. It is indeed positive. The whole process took about 6 months to produce a 300+ pages book: gathering disparate content that I published over the last few years, content selection, adding new material, curating, then putting it into chapters and reviewing.
Many books on data science are actually smaller, and contain far less original content. Most data science books (mine is the only exception that I am aware of) contain a lot of traditional machine learning and statistics content - the kind of stuff you learn at school - augmented with old algorithms (e.g. K-NN) applied to collaborative filtering or recommendation engines. Writing this kind of book might be even easier, and you might be OK with under 200 pages.
My book was priced very low (under $30) and this might be a good strategy to optimize total revenue. More traditional books sell for much higher, but to much fewer people.
Anyway, about 1,500 copies (of my book) are being sold each month. I get about $3,000 per month from the sales, which I expect to last at this level for several months. Of course, I also help with the promotion of my book, and you should too, to optimize sales. For instance, try to get it adopted by a number of university programs.
In short, it really is possible to make a living writing analytics books (and working from home!), if you publish 2 books a year and maybe one or two papers that you sell on Amazon Kindle (you can publish yourself, it's very easy) or using services such as lulu. An example of great paper that you could sell for $10 is if you write a great data science cheat sheet; it could be as short as 10 pages. You might be able to sell it to 20,000 people!
I'm very glad to have worked with Wiley on my first paper book. They use many distribution channels, and sales of my book have now surpassed $100k. You don't need to have a Ph.D. to be accepted, but if interested, feel free to contact Carol Long (my Executive Editor) at [email protected]
On a different note, I know a few bloggers (including a former DataScienceCentral blogger) paid $3,000/month to post 2 articles per week and do some curetage / community monitoring, about 10 hours of work per week - I was offered a similar deal in the past. Combining both (blogger and author) might be a great mix, if you can own the blog content (sometimes the only way to own the content is to have your own website and monetize it via advertising).