Excel Book Done

That’s book number 68.

ImageI put the finishing touches on Microsoft Office Excel 2007: Visual QuickStart Guide. It’s my 68th book (I just counted) and right now, I feel as if I wrote them all yesterday.

Okay, so not that tired.

I had some trouble with this book. First, there was the beta software situation. Not only did I have to work with the Office 2007 beta, but I had to run it on the Vista beta. Double Microsoft Windows betas for a person who usually works on a Mac! You can imagine my concern.

But everything went pretty smoothly with that and I’ve been using release versions since January, so I know everything in the book is based on the final software.

Motivation slowed me down a bit in the middle of the project. I think I really need an editor cracking a whip over my head to get me to work at my old pace. These days, I’d rather fly than write about Excel. (Can you imagine?) The thing that snapped me out of it was money. If I don’t make milestones, my publisher does not send checks. Although Flying M Air is now paying all of its own bills — thank heaven; you should see some of those bills! — it’s not paying my bills. If I don’t write, I don’t eat. And since I like to eat, I became motivated.

Of course, the killer was my February hard disk crash and the two weeks it took me to get everything back to normal here. What a productivity killer! But it taught me a new valuable lesson about backups — you think I would have learned the last two times — and my old dual G5 is still running, now with a new hard disk to go with last year’s new motherboard. Sheesh. (Now you know why I bought AppleCare for my MacBook Pro.)

I churned through the last few chapters relatively quickly, anxious to meet deadlines tied to promotional opportunities. (I’m not sure of those promos really exist or if my editor has learned to tell me about fantasy promos to get me to work faster. I wouldn’t blame her if she made it up.) I had first pass files done last week and spent the past few days finalizing files based on edits. Today, after fooling around a bit — I’m the queen of procrastination — I laid out the index, created an ad for the book’s companion Web site, and turned it all in. The e-mail message I sent to my editor said:

I think I’m done. Can you ask them to send that final check? (Still waiting for the last one, too.)

The book weighs in at 360 pages, which is about the same as the last edition. It’s got the new VQS cover design. It lists for $21.99, but you can buy it from Amazon.com for $14.95 right now, which is 32% off. (Not a bad deal.) It should be in stores by April 20 or thereabouts.

Meanwhile, life goes on.

Tomorrow, I have to take my helicopter in to the avionics shop in Mesa to see if they can figure out why my radio isn’t working right. I have a meeting with a marketing guy down there at 10 AM. Then a tour of Phoenix for a man and his daughter at 2. Somewhere in between, I’ll have lunch with Mike, who has been away for the past few days. Then a flight home.

Friday I get started on my next book. Those of you who know me should know what that is.

What do you think?