Rules and GuidelinesEdit
Here is a short list of general guidelines that you should follow when starting a new book. You don't need to follow these, but it's in the best interest of your books long-term development to do so:
- Plan every step of the book creation process as if you aren't going to be around to implement it
- Wikibooks is like a hobby at best, an idle waste of time for most people. Real life can and will get in the way of your work here at Wikibooks. Even if you don't leave forever, you may take some time off. You'll get sick, or go to school, or work late hours, or have events to do with your family. Your ISP will shutdown your internet connection and a tornado will ruin a fiber optic cable down the road. Trust me, you won't always be able to be here.
- With that information in mind, make sure that you lay out your plans and your intentions in a way that other people will be able to follow in your absence. Explain your actions, leave notes, use discussion pages. Expect that anything on your TO-DO list will be done by somebody else.
- New contributors will be discouraged by tasks that are too large
- New users want to be able to start small, and work up to larger tasks as their confidence improves over time. Make sure your book contains lots of foot-holds where new users can make meaningful contributions without getting in over their heads. Stub pages are very important in this regard. Make sure every page in your book contains at least a rough outline and ideally a small amount of text showing what kinds of material that page should contain. Include some links to Wikipedia articles, or links to other resources to give contributors an idea of exactly what the page should contain. If users see a book with a long TOC composed entirely of redlinks, they won't know what everything means and where everything should go and they will get discouraged. If your book is too bad for too long, it is liable to get deleted for this very reason: In certain stages of development a book is more of a hindrance then a help to new contributors.
- Don't be too ambitious
- If you plan a book that's too large for one person to finish, you will fail to finish it.
- Save early, save often
- This is more of a general rule about wikis and is not specific to writing a new book. However, it's an important rule. Save your work often, so that you don't lose much in a freak accident and so readers/reviewers can look at your contributions and help to identify--and correct--problems.