Tech Reviewing a Book
I am writing this post as a resource for those that are considering being a technical reviewer for a book. This was a topic I know I would have found useful when determining if tech reviewing a book was something I would like to pursue.
I was the tech review for the book “Building Applications with Azure Resource Manager (ARM)” by Dave Rendon`. This book was published via Apress on January 2022. I originally began work as a tech reviewer in April of 2021.
Tech Review Opportunity
Apress advertises on their website a way to apply to become a tech reviewer. Personally, for me I met one of their editors while presenting at a conference. At the time, my schedule wasn’t free enough to do much; however, I reached out at a later date and we were able to find an opportunity.
From what I have gathered it helps to have credentials to validate your experience. At that time, I held multiple Azure certifications including my Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT).
The process involved peer reviewing chapters of the book that Dave had written and providing feedback. This included running all sample code to ensure accuracy. It also required tracking what topics have or have not been covered at a point. We want to ensure that a beginner chapter isn’t referencing more advanced functionality, which may confuse the reader.
I would receive notification that several chapters were ready and dropped to a Google drive where I would then retrieve and provide my feedback and let the team at Apress know.
Eventually Dave and I connected and we were able to provide feedback in a more real-time session. If I were to do this process again or advise someone who is starting the tech review process it would be to reach out to the author sooner. It helps to be able to talk through various points and topics and provide feedback.
The final sign off on my tech review was in September of 2021. For me I found time to review a chapter or two a night and it wasn’t too much if you are a subject matter expert. There were lags between when I had completed my tech review and Dave had written the chapters. He had all the hard work while I got to beta test his work!
At the end of the day, it is something I was glad I did; however, I’m not so sure I’d jump right back into it. The stop and go of the work type proved to be a little problematic as there would be weeks where I had time to do work but no chapters to review while others where my time was more limited and there were chapters to review.
I am grateful for the opportunity as I value the effort and time those who write and those tech review put into the body of work. Additionally, it did provide a great networking opportunity as I have since collaborated with Dave on posts for Azure Spring Clean where I referenced his post on Bicep modules to mine on Bicep budgets leveraging registries.
It is true that you don’t do the tech reviewing for the money, it is something. However, seeing your name and photo in print is really cool. I would recommend those on the fence to at least try and see if it is something they’d like to do. Additionally, it is a great way if you are debating yourself about writing a book to gain exposure to the technical writing process.