User:Whiteknight/New Book Guide/General Timeframe

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Outline the Book

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When I decide to create a new book, I generally create a new page in my user namespace to host the outline first. Then, I will begin some preliminary research (looking up the topic on the web, finding related books in a library). From my preliminary research (which generally only takes a few hours or so, initially), I create my first outline.

I try to host a particular outline on my user page for at least one month (and I have some that have been in the works for nearly a year or more). I try not to introduce books any more frequently than one per month, although when I am between semesters, or when I have a lot of time off, I can speed up the process considerably. It is important to note that getting a new book up and running is a time-consuming process. Just laying the necessary ground work, without adding any content can take an hour or more of your time. At least, that's if you want to do it right.

In the time that your outline is being hosted on your user page, it is a good idea that you post notes in related Wikibooks, and on the user pages, to try and get feedback for your outline. Sometimes however, there is no feedback to be had, so it is up to you to make sure the book is in good condition.

Introducing the Book

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Once I am satisfied with my outline, and I have set aside enough time to actually implement the book, I introduce the book. In an initial flurry of activity, I can usually get the book set up, posted on the main page and shelved on a bookshelf. I can also create a few basic sub pages, an introductory page, a basic list of references, etc. In the weeks that follow, I will contribute to the book significantly. After about a month, I contribute to the new book about as frequently as I do to any other book.

I like to plan out when I introduce new books, and follow the plan pretty strictly. I try to give myself about 1 month between new books, dependent on the amount of time and energy I have to contribute. If I only am creating new books, then I don't have time to contribute to old books, and that's not a good situation at all. For this reason, I try to keep new book introductions spread out.

Growing the Book

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When a book has been introduced, it needs to grow. Some of the basic navigation templates should be created and implemented quickly, and they can be expanded later if needed to be more complicated. Pages should be created and filled with bullets, if nothing else. A LMOS should be created, especially if there are "quirks" about your book that you would like other authors to adhere to.

In many instances, material can be imported from wikipedia, or images can be found on commons that can be used in your books. Initially, it can be easy enough to simply import a wikipedia article, or to link to a bunch of images on commons. However when the initial work is completed and the form of the book is set, you can go back and integrate these materials into your narrative in a clean way.

Don't forget to dewikify any pages that you import from wikipedia, and if you do a copy+paste move, you should give attribution to wikipedia (and preferrably a link to the source) in the edit summary, the page itself, or the talk page.

Maintaining the Book

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Once the form of the book is set, we start the final phase of the book creation process, which is maintenance. We don't want to maintain the book as it is, we want to maintain the growth of the book. The ultimate goals of a book should be:

  1. To be Featured.
  2. To have a presentable printable and PDF version of the book.
  3. To be distributed, read, and used for learning by other people.

Once your book is created, you can work towards all of these goals by adding content, improving the quality of your pages (including formatting), and by making lots and lots of small improvements.

Development Stages

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There is no single cannonical way to interpret the development {{stage}} or {{stage short}} templates, but this is a good way that is even and honest:

— Book is a stub, contains little or no contents. Main page consists of either a paragraph or an outline with red links.
— Book is expanding. New pages are being created, the TOC is being expanded and reordered. Many pages are stubs or contain very little content.
— The basic TOC has been finalized, although more new chapters are added occasionally. Many pages contain significant text content, or image content, but are not integrated. Pages frequently are not properly formatted.
— Book pages contain significant content, including images and other media, proper formatting, and templates. Some book-specific templates are being designed and implemented, including inter-page navigation. Book has a printable version, and possibly a PDF version.
— Book pages contain good content, including multimedia, example problems, explanations, etc. Book has a printable version and a PDF version, and possibly sub-versions of each. Book has significant meta pages including LMOS and support pages for new contributors. Book has a cover page, listings of resources, and proper notices of GFDL content.

I recommend against using development stages on individual pages, because it can take more work to update all the different stages, and all too often these stages are neglected and become out of date. Also, I recommend using the {{stage short}} template instead of the {{stage}} template, because people tend not to update the date in the latter template, which also leads to confusion.