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Reaching Towards the Next Level


In my previous post I discussed some of the difficulties of related to technical publishing. I also presented a possible solution, a mixed model that might make open publishing more feasible. The idea is that starting closed and asking for money beforehand you reward early adopters while decreasing the risk of the author. As the content gets opened eventually others can benefit from it. I know this goes against the common wisdoms of book publishing but it’s a model I would like to try.

It has become apparent to me that if I put my weight behind it, I could grow this into a business that’s able to support me and perhaps a few others should I get so lucky. Even though Finland has its issues it isn’t a bad place to start a company. In fact there’s support for starting businesses that can help to cover starting costs up to 18 months. It will be enough to get past the beginning stage.

What Would a Viable Business Look Like?

In order to get by I would have to make around $1500 per month after taxes. That’s $50 per day. In terms of book sales that would mean five sales per day assuming a book costs $20 (half goes to side costs). It doesn’t sound so hard when put this way.

Fortunately book sales aren’t the only towards a sustainable business. More specialized products can be built on top of the freely available content. In addition I’m open to consulting. In the end it comes down to finding the ways in which I can be most useful and provide most value.

It’s About Helping Other Developers

As a developer myself I have known my share of pain. SurviveJS is about that. I want you to avoid some of that pain. If I can make someone’s life a little easier through SurviveJS I have done my job.

Besides helping developers I would love to be able to help smoothen the way for other technical authors. Getting started is tough and anything you can do to make it less so is welcome. Leanpub helps in its own way but it isn’t nearly enough. There are just so many things to worry about. And should you fail at some critical aspect, you end up with a dud.

Next Steps

My next major goal is to resolve the biggest remaining issues related to the book and get a release out on 31st. After that I’ll expand distribution to see if that makes any difference.

I have a couple of older books in backburner waiting to be edited. One of them is Webpack and React Cookbook. It deserves a refresh and an editing pass. As the content is already freely available that won’t change. Ebook will cost, though, and will hopefully provide some financial relief.

Another, older effort known as JavaScript Tips and Tricks, will require a bigger refresh. It’s actually the original “SurviveJS” and the reason why I ended up with the name. The idea of this book is to go through a variety of JavaScript techniques to give you deeper insight to the language. It won’t be a long book. It’s more of a “oh, I can do that?” type of an affair.

Over shorter term I want to establish little streams like these. After all every dollar counts at this point. The sooner I can reach my viability goal, the better. Over longer term I would love to grow the brand to help other technical authors. But before I can do that I need to help myself and figure out these things. Fortunately I won’t have to do that alone as community support has shown.


Becoming incorporated is both an exciting and a scary step. So far community response has been great so why not to push it and see if this can be turned into a real business? The numbers look realistic to me. In the worst case it won’t work out and I end up with a ton of references to use at a job interview. In the best case I’ll have a little business that will allow me to produce even more content and most importantly keep on helping.