Author Topic: Books and/or educational websites?  (Read 912 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Books and/or educational websites?
« on: February 07, 2018, 10:36:33 AM »
Has anybody ever written a book and/or created an educational website (Possibly with paid access to written information) as a side gig? If so, what advice do you have around the process of getting attention for your creation, selling your products, etc? It's a kind of vague question because I haven't decided what direction to go in yet. I could write a book and sell it to a publisher, make an e-book and self-publish, or create a website complete with blog, forum, and downloadable content (Basically, the e-book or individual sections of it).

As a bit more background information, here's a description of what I'm working on. I do engineering research, complete with boat loads of data analysis. Usually from laboratory experiments, sometimes from field measurement (e.g. "Install equipment in a building, and sensors to measure what happens, look at results 6 months later."). To make the data analysis process both less tedious, and less expensive for my customers, I wrote computer programs in python that automate the entire process. They load the raw data files, split them up into files from individual tests, identify the test condition in each data file, analyze each file to find the result from an individual test, and analyze the resulting data set to create regression. All while spitting out intermediate results to allow for easy error checking. This approach can turn a month's worth of boring, expensive data analysis into an hour of quickly checking to make sure that everything worked right. I'd also envision some content discussing relationship management, and collaboration with lab testers as this approach is highly dependent on them working with you.

Ultimately, I think this is a fabulous approach that many scientists would benefit from. It could be especially targeted to young researchers, and/or grad students as there's often significant pressure to become skilled at computer programming with limited support. A single resource talking them through the philosophy, potential approaches, available resources (e.g. python packages), and syntax examples could be a very valuable resource. I only need to figure out how to present, and sell it to the world at this point...

Thanks in advance!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Books and/or educational websites?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2018, 11:30:21 AM »
Chris Guillebeau of Side Hustle School has some good books on methods for starting a business or side hustle.

So does the author of

I listen to the podcasts by both.  Nation's podcasts are longer and provide lots more information on the tools to bring a business to life.


  • Bristles
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Re: Books and/or educational websites?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2018, 10:50:38 AM »
This is an interesting situation. Here's a couple of random thoughts:

a) Don't write a book. People drawn to this would be drawn to an easy solution. e.g., ready-made calculators where they could enter some values, adjust a few variables and it spits out the result I want. They don't want to learn how to do it, they just want it done.

b) I can see a couple possible ways of going:

   1) create an app - start with 1-3 of the most commonly used calculations and then target your marketing to people who would use it
   2) create a website with a few free calculators for the most commonly used calculations; charge a fee for more complicated calculations; charge a higher fee for them to give you the data and you write up a report

Bonus points if you can target a specific industry and modify the programs to deal with frequent questions/problems that arise in that industry. This also make marketing much, much easier.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Books and/or educational websites?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2018, 06:16:28 PM »
The mad fientist guy sells excel sheets that do fire calculations on his website.

If you really save that much time, this is a very valuable product. Would it be better to sell to individual researchers that are paying out of pocket, which sounds like what you are suggesting, or do more business development to sell subscriptions to firms or departments? Maybe you start small and grow into more business development.