I’m coming up against a very hard deadline for my language reference book, so I’ve been having to dedicate myself almost full-time to it this week and next. One of the things that I’ve been doing is going through all the comments from people who were nice enough to agree to be technical reviewers for some part of the book. It has been a very interesting experience.
Before I get to that, though, I will add that one thing that’s surprised me is that number of people around work who, unprompted, asked if I needed any more technical reviewers for the book. I’ve been asked to do technical reviews for a few books and while it was an interesting experience, it’s not necessarily something that I’d go out volunteering for. Not to put too fine a point on it but after thirty or forty pages of close technical reviewing, even the most interesting book makes my eyes swim. (Then again, I usually eschew reading technical books in favor of just fiddling with a program, a point whose irony is not lost on me.)
As far as the technical reviews I’ve gotten, though, one thing that’s been surprising is how much reading someone else’s technical reviews can give you a read on their personality. I guess I thought a technical review was a technical review was a technical review, but these really run the gamut. On one end of the spectrum, one reviewer has been a super stickler on making sure that all my code samples and basic facts are exactly right. (Which has been great… Uh, how many bytes does a Double take up again?) On the other end of the spectrum, another reviewer glosses over the little mistakes and instead likes to insert long comments taking issue with bigger picture questions about how and when I talk about one topic or another. (Equally great.) And all of the reviewers have a distinct style and set of concerns. Which makes sense if you think about it, I guess, but I hadn’t.
Anyway, my book was sent out for review in chunks, so I’m about to make a transition from one set of reviewers to another. I’m going to kind of miss the reviewers who didn’t have the time to review this next chunk of the book. I feel like they’re dropping out just as we were getting to know each other…