Call for new PragProg Proposals Committee Members

Hello DevTalk Community!

The Pragmatic Programmers are looking for developers who are interested in helping us decide what books to publish. You would be part of a Proposals Committee that reads incoming book proposals and makes recommendations. We don’t compensate you, but we give you recognition on our About Us page under Technical Advisors.

We look for constructive feedback to provide to potential authors, so even if the project isn’t right for PragProg, the author still gets pointers for making it a strong proposal that may be a good match for another publisher or that the author might be successful with self-publishing.

To that end, we ask that proposal committee members keep the following questions in mind when commenting on a proposal:

  • Who is the audience?

    • Is the author able to describe the ideal reader?
    • What will people feel after reading the book? Remember what it’s like to be a novice? Will readers be frustrated by unfamiliar terms or by material that is too basic?
  • What is the author’s tone?

    • Does the author make an effort to connect with readers, or does the writing feel impersonal?
    • Casual and helpful, or formal and academic?
    • Is it a tour guide or a map?
  • What challenges do developers interested in this topic face?

    • Does the book address these issues?
    • Does it seem like the author could list (and answer) the top ten questions developers have about this topic?
    • Does the TOC follow a progression from novice (needs more guidance) to expert (benefits from more independent work) on the topic? What is a developer’s journey through this book like?
  • How would this book help developers in their daily work?

    • Is it just a brain dump?
    • Could you just Google it or ask an LLM for this material?
    • Are there existing books on the subject?
    • Is it too general or too narrow?
  • What access does the author have to the intended audience? Is the author willing and able to connect with the community and lend their expertise on this topic?

You don’t have to answer the questions directly – just keep them in mind when commenting on a proposal. The best feedback leverages your unique perspective and expertise to make a recommendation. We do ask for a decision as part of the response (yes, it’s a good match for x reasons; maybe with x revisions; or no thanks for x constructive reasons).

Note: It does help if you have read a few PragProg books and already have a sense of our style and the hands-on approach we prefer authors take.

If you are interested in becoming a Proposals Committee member for PragProg, please send a message to margaret.eldridge@pragprog.com. I’ll send you a sample proposal to comment on to see if you’d be a good match.

If you have questions, feel free to send an email message or post the question here.

Thanks so much for considering the role of Proposals Committee member for The Pragmatic Programmers.

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