I have been asked by a book publisher to write a book about pig nutrition – not just piglets, but all aspects of applied commercial pig nutrition, which is a major part of what I have done the past 23 years.
Writing a book is not an easy project. I spent nearly six years preparing my first one and, I must admit, I had to rush it to meet the deadline, which I kept postponing. Then, I wrote smaller books, but still it took considerable time as I had to change my style. I will admit it here publicly that I did not make enough money from any of the publishers to even buy a decent lunch. It is not the publishers’ fault and I understand it. Writing a book (a paper one, that is) was more of an honor badge rather than a revenue stream.
Back to my dilemma. Writing a book takes time, which is fine because I like writing. It brings no revenue, and that is all right too because I am no longer a student waiting for my check to clear the bank. But, who is going to read it these days? Most books are ebooks and, even then, only captive readers (those who actively seek some piece of information) use them. Most, like myself, just open an internet search engine and start collating information. I know there are good and bad apples out there, but I consider it my job (and for that I thank my mentors) to separate the wheat from the chaff. Quite often, I go back to my old books to double check some information, but reading old books is now a hobby and not a real part of my job.
So, I said no. I would rather keep writing small articles and quick blogs here and on LinkedIn, where active feed professionals are searching for information, rather than write another book for the glory of it and have it collect dust in libraries and on desks. I may have made a mistake, and times change, but for now I am going to pass on this opportunity, the same way I passed the offers to become a professor. Sometimes, you prepare for something, but when your time is up, that something has changed, and I prefer to change myself rather than try to change the world (sorry, Mr. Steve Jobs). Again, your milage may vary.