Packt Seeks Authors for New Beginner Guides

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 | News | Moodle

Moodle Beginner's Guide

Packt has today launched a new series of Beginner's Guide books designed to make open source tools and other advanced software accessible and usable for Beginners. Packt is seeking authors to write these books.

"There are thousands of tremendous software tools out there," says series editor David Barnes. "The way they are designed, built and documented means they can often feel like they are created by experts, for experts. Newcomers often don't know what the software can even do, let alone how to do it."

Packt Beginner's Guides aim to overcome this problem. They teach newcomers a technology by presenting realistic, useful examples with clear step-by-step instructions.

Packt has already announced two Beginner's Guides: Moodle Course Conversion, due out in December, and WordPress Plugin Development, due out in January 2009.

"If you're trying to teach a new application to somebody sitting next to you, you won't just give them loads of facts about it" Barnes continued. "Instead you'll guide them through some simple, useful operations before explaining them and then gradually moving on to more complex tasks. Beginner's Guides work like this. They feel more like a hands-on 'lab' than a lecture" he concluded.

Beginner's Guides are especially suitable for tools that aren't completely geeky, and aren't completely mainstream either. Tools such as Moodle, WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal all suit this kind of 'learn by doing' approach.

Beginner's Guides take Packt's approach a step further by providing friendly step-by-step books on topics and tools that are just starting to be adopted by mainstream users. Not long ago, if you used a computer for anything more than typing a letter, sending email and using Google you were considered an expert. But now anybody can use a computer in a wide range of creative and interesting ways – from building web sites to making videos and music. The need for friendly Beginner's Guides on a wide range of topics and tools is greater than ever.

Packt is looking for authors to write books in the Beginner’s Guide series. "A good Beginner's Guide author thinks like a teacher," says Barnes. "They need to be well versed and comfortable with the topic, so that while writing they can focus their attention on leading the reader into the topic area. We have plenty of editorial resources, templates, and guidelines that will help authors do just that."

If you are well versed with the technology you want to write a book on and are keen to train new comers, you fit the bill. Good English skills are also a big help of course! If you are interested in writing these Beginner's Guides please approach Packt at with the subject you want to cover, or some information on your areas of expertise.

What makes a Packt Beginner’s Guide? In 7 steps...

  1. Realistic, interesting examples –Beginner's Guides pick interesting, fun examples that readers will enjoy reading about and working through.
  2. Minimal theory and jargon – the focus is always on using the tool, not being bombarded with difficult information and useless facts
  3. "Time for Action" – sections with clear step-by-step instructions that guide the reader through a useful and interesting task.
  4. "What just happened?" – sections that help the reader to understand how the tool works, and get some idea of what’s going on behind the scenes – aiding their understanding and learning.
  5. A friendly, informal approach – Beginner’s Guides address the reader directly. Reading one is the next best thing to having a friendly mentor sitting next to you as you work.
  6. Ideas and challenges to help you experiment – Beginner's Guides encourage you to go beyond the examples and try new things. Too many tech books make the tool seem more scary and complicated than it really is. Beginner's Guides give readers the confidence to try things out for themselves.
  7. Plenty of diagrams, illustrations and other visual elements – there's nothing worse than feeling wading through paragraphs of text to find some simple piece of information. Beginner’s Guides use visual elements to make the parts you’re looking for stand out.

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