If you've been following along with my self-publishing exploits, you know that the goal was to get to the point where the books I've created could be sold inexpensively online. With "Windows 8.1 Book," co-written with Rafael Rivera, that process is finally starting. Here's what we're doing with the new book, with information about how you can participate.

Previous to this book, I wrote Paul Thurrott's Windows Phone 8 and Paul Thurrott's Xbox Music, both of which are, and will continue to be, made available freely online. (Both will also be updated soon.) For "Windows 8.1 Book," Rafael and I have created a new web site, Windows 8.1 Book, from which we'll provide updates during the initial writing of the book and beyond, and take payments from those who wish to pay for the book.

We've already written up an introductory blog post for the site, but I'll republish it here so you can find out exactly what we're doing.

Thanks!  --Paul


"Windows 8.1 Book" (final name to be determined) is a full-length e-book that we are currently writing about Windows 8.1. This is in many ways a spiritual update to Windows 8 Secrets, our previous book. But this time, we're doing things differently.

Self-published. Where Windows 8 Secrets was published traditionally through our friends at Wiley, this book is being self-published.

Transparent. This book is being written transparently and publicly, and you can follow along, download chapter and book updates, and provide feedback as it's written.

Price. A traditional technical book like Windows 8 Secrets typically retails for $19.99 to $49.99 and is made available in print and e-book formats. This is expensive, but the authors receive only a very small portion of that price. With Windows 8.1 Book, we are using the pricing model popularized by mobile apps, but with a twist: We're also letting you, the reader, pick your price so you can pay more (or less) than our recommended price of $2. Yes, $2.

Formats. So what does $2 buy you these days? In this case, it provides you with one or more electronic versions of the book in the following formats: PDF, MOBI and EPUB. When we reach the 1.0 release, we will make the book available in Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble NOOK formats too, though those versions will need to be purchased separately from those e-book stores. (The price should be roughly the same.)

Time frame. Windows 8.1 Book is being actively written at this time. We expect to reach a "finished" state—what we think of as the 1.0 release, or the point at which work on a traditionally published book would conclude—by late 2013 or early 2014. However, as noted below, this book will be updated regularly going forward as well.

Scope. This book will be a complete reference to Windows 8.1 for end users. We will focus on what's new and what's changed in Windows 8.1, and will assume that most readers are already familiar with previous Windows versions.

Length. Our expectation is that this book will be between 400 and 600 pages in length when complete. It won't be shorter, but it could be longer.

Ongoing updates. Windows 8.1 Book will never really be complete. We plan to update the book aggressively going forward, and whenever Microsoft updates the Windows 8.1 OS or the bundled apps. This was a key reason for self-publishing and doing so electronically: We can and will update this book regularly, and it will never be out of date.

What we expect from you. We want to hear from you while we're writing the book, and if you have any feedback about what's already written, the topic coverage, the formatting, or whatever, we're listening. We will also need help naming the book—Windows 8.1 Book is just a working title—and designing the cover. Readers who provide actionable feedback will be listed in a special Thank You section at the end of the book.

Want to get involved? Buy or download Windows 8.1 Book today!