Thursday, April 05, 2012

Book Jinx

A little off topic today. I'm developing a complex. I've been involved with two books that are no longer getting published. The first book is Mastering Autodesk Revit Structure 2010 (Wiley/Sybex). I did the technical editing for it. The following year (and version of Revit) Wiley chose not to continue publishing it. The sales were too slight to justify the effort and expense unfortunately.

That could mean structural engineers are too smart for it, or just weren't interested in a book, or that the authors, editors and publisher didn't do a good enough job marketing it, or that it just wasn't very good. The authors were no slouches, the material was solid, the publisher has a little bit of experience so it seems to me that the only possible conclusion is me....that I'm a book jinx!

The second book is Introducing Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012 (also Wiley/Sybex). I contributed four chapters to the 2011 and 2012 editions. The sales were too slight for this one too, the 2012 edition (2011 year). Same story as the other book, I've jinxed another book! It did take me longer to "kill" this one though. I wrote the foreword for the 2010 version and then contributed to 2011 and 2012.

If I try to deflect some blame I think Wiley's product offering for Revit Architecture is a bit crowded now. They offer Mastering Autodesk Revit 2013, Autodesk Revit 2013 Essentials and Autodesk Revit Architecture: No Experience Required. I don't see a 2013 version for "No Experience..." yet so I'm not sure there is one right now.

In this case (for Revit Architecture) it may just be that the strongest books survived. Can't deny that the Read/Vandezande/Krygiel team plus their supporting cast of specialty chapters and authors make a pretty formidable product!

Books that "expire" to some degree every 12 months because of new versions of Revit generates a cycle of create/sell that only leaves a very short window to sell before the next one needs to be ready. Frankly I'm amazed that any get published at all.

Feel like living dangerously? Like testing theories? Ask me to help with your book! It might be the best way to stop being an author. ;)


Nick said...

You know, looking at my bookshelf, I have every year of Revit since 2010 represented but I doubt I will purchase a 2013 book this year.

Part of the problem is, even though the books keeps getting thicker and thicker each version, I have yet to find an answer for any of my major issues using Revit while reading through these books.

Anyhow, I'm just saying not to take it personally.. I think new Revit users will find some good use in these books but more advanced users will be looking for something with more "secrets" or how to use Revit the non-standard way.

Hey, your blog tells me more than any of the books I currently have.

Steve said...

Well that puts my mind at ease some! Thanks!!

Erik said...

To be "Godin-like" I think it;s the media, not the content. The cost per volume is high and the benefit is both short lived and somewhat redundant when compared with what is available free.

Now a forward thinking publisher that created media rich electronic formats should be able to pull off some real magic.


Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013: No Experience Required (July 2012) from

Jeremy Deal said...

I used the revit structure book extensively, for a while. It was an excellent book. Im beyond the scope of the book now. (Hint Hint, no help for advanced topics other than blogs) One could still probably use that book to get started pretty effectively.

Our company would probably buy a copy every year if it was available. I will say that the user manual for revit is quite good and covers everything.

caddguru said...


It's not you, it's:

1. RTFM usually works pretty well for most, especially advanced users.

2. The market is somewhat saturated, except for middle and advanced level topics.

3. The older the version the better they tend to get for beginners.

I don't have my copies of your books at the moment so I could read the comments I wrote while reading them, but I'm sure they're mostly positive!

Again, rest assured it's not you bro! ;-)


cadalot said...


I purchased three copies of Mastering Structure when it was alive, one for each office. It was a still is great reference.

I have harvested your AU material in the past.

Wiley or some other enterprising group of indivduals (AUGI ?)should publish it as an e-book for a much reduced realistic fee.

Steve said...

Thanks for the confidence building! Keep saying it Steve, "I'm not a jinx, I'm not a jinx..."

Dave Baldacchino said...

Steve, I still cherish the AU 2005 lab handout "Building a better door" (if I recall the name correctly). That's how I learned to build families! I spent a weekend with a work loaner laptop, laying on my stomach on the carpet, going through it step by step and light bulbs going off over my head. Whenever someone asks me about learning the family editor, I just share a copy of that PDF ;) It's not you Steve, promise...let's write a kick-ass, short and sweet Family Building book someday.

Anonymous said...

The Revit Structure book was and still is the best resource for Revit Structure- I would LOVE to see someone pick it up and update it.

Steve said...

Aw, shucks...making me blush! :)

Vladimir said...

Mastering Structure 2010 was the best Revit book I found. We have three copies in the office. My personal one is falling apart because of constant use. It is an excellent reference for those who is starting. GCS suggested tagging and parameters was an absolutely vital. I was looking for similar 2012 version…

Thank you so much for excellent work.