Breaking Bad Habits

    Keywords: Books & Publications

Alex: I've finished the first draft of my book and am in the process of going over it by myself to adjust the style of writing to be more consistent between chapters and fix the mistakes that I'm now able to notice, being about one and a half stones stronger than when I began writing. I should be finished this self-editing process in about a week and will then need other people to help me.

I've emailed He Xiaoren 6p, who I'm told lives in my city (Montreal), to see if she would like to collaborate, but if I can't get her as a co-author or editor, I'll need at least a couple of higher dans than myself (at least 5d) to check my facts and diagrams. Depending on their level of involvement, I'd give them either co-author or editor credit and some percentage of the royalties (though I don't expect there to be much money in this venture, it's more a labour of love).

However, I'll also need several weaker players to read my draft and tell me what is most helpful and what needs clarification. I'll need one each of players in the 25 kyu, 20 kyu, 15 kyu, 10 kyu and 5 kyu range. I can't afford to give everyone a share of the royalties - if I did, it would amount to just a few bucks each, hardly worth the bother - but you'll get a mention in the "Thanks" section and a free copy when it comes out.

Anyone who'd like to help me out, please leave a message on this page. For the kyus, it'll be first come first serve. For the high dans, I doubt I'll get more than I need, but if I do, I'll choose two or three based on playing strength, previous publications and geographical proximity (to keep the cost of mailing hard copies down).

Alex Weldon: This is a book I'm working on. I figure it's okay for me to create a page to discuss it for the time being. If it seems too much like self-advertising, I'll delete the page once the discussion dies down.

The idea behind this book is to create a sort of dictionary of common mistakes. I give a lot of teaching games on KGS, and see my students making the same mistakes again and again. I made a list of these mistakes and set out to write a few pages about each, including suggestions for how one might "unlearn" the mistake.

I decided to take up this project for two reasons. Firstly, most of the literature out there focuses on good play - there is a lack of books aimed at eliminating the worst moves from one's game, which, I feel, is the fastest way for kyu players to improve.

Secondly, I am just finishing up a series of courses in desktop publishing, and am planning on going into business as a designer/photographer/copywriter/printer, starting this summer. One of the pieces of equipment I'll be buying is a perfect binder, for making softcover books of the same type as most Go books. Given my interest in Go, one of the business ventures I would like to attempt is to publish and sell Go books. I'm hoping that other players will eventually come to me with their manuscripts to be published, but I thought the quickest way to establish myself as a printer of Go books would be to put out one of my own. With luck, I might attract enough attention to bring others to me with their own work.

I'm aware that my rank is a few stones weaker than most Go authors - I do not plan on publishing anything without first having everything checked over by one or more high dan amateurs. I know a few whom I believe would help me. Anyone who would like to talk about this issue, or other matters relating to the book is welcome to start a discussion page.

I would also like to present a sample chapter so that people can see the format and type of content I have planned. I would appreciate any comments, be they about content or style, but keep in mind that this is a first draft that I have not yet edited or had looked at by any stronger players.

axd: With all respect, but I call this page an obvious attempt to use SL for your own commercial purposes:

  • Calling for papers to be printed, published and sold by you. this belongs on your home page, not here.
  • Your sample chapter seems to be an appetizer. The subject looks interesting; if you can shove it somewhere into SL and break the link with your project (which sounds interesting as well), that should be OK. Same for this page: the subject is very interesting and deserves a place in SL, but there should be no link to your project. Once your book is published you might add links to your book from this page, for example. Meanwhile, you could express your interests in this page by linking to it from your home page, explaining THERE what your intentions are with this page. I bet other authors venturing in SL have done all this successfully.
  • in a certain way you are already claiming authorship on something that is far from finished.
    • geno: Because this is part of a wiki, does everyone who posts to this page or sub-pages get an author credit? Copyright is retained by the original authors, so a release of some sort is required from everyone whose contribution here becomes any part of a book. (If this page is allowed here at all, of course.)

ilan: Get real!! You are obviously wrong for obvious reasons, for example, that so far, a lot of free useful information which could help a lot of people (maybe not be, but so what...) has been posted on a site intended for this exact purpose. It also seems obvious to me that you have never published a book on a specialised topic like Go, because you would realise that you can't make any money this way, in fact, you lose money in the sense that if that is your intention (to make money) you are wasting a lot of time and effort for little financial return. Maybe some people here who have written Go books can estimate the money they made as an hourly rate. I would very be surprised if it surpassed the minimum wage.

Alex Weldon: My intention is not to self-advertise. I've asked a couple of BQM questions pertaining to examples I was thinking of using in my book, and in both cases, a bit of discussion of the book came up, so I thought I'd create a page for it, in order to create a place for those discussions, to keep the other pages on topic.

Furthermore, this is a labour of love for me. As ilan says, there is not going to be much money made from this endeavor at all. I'll probably end up putting several hundred hours of work into the project before it's done. If I'm lucky, I'll sell one or two hundred copies, for a few bucks profit apiece. Go literature is not a business plan so much as a side use of the equipment I'll be buying anyway to run my real business.

That said, if there are others who feel that this seems too much like self-promotion, say so and I'll have this page deleted.

To geno: Yes, I plan on giving some sort of credit to anyone who provides me with helpful information, probably in the form of the usual "Special thanks to:" page. I probably won't be paying anyone (except for the person or people I get to help with the final edit), but that's because, as I say, there's no money in this anyway.

Morten My thoughts on this (several issues mixed up here, I think): Yes this is clearly a page about a subject which may have commercial value. So are all the KGS pages and various others of similar ilk. I don't see that as a problem.

This page, and all other pages on SL, are published under the OCL, which entitles any party to create their own work based on this page, with this amended work being available under the OCL as well. Alex will need to find a way to justify to 'buyers' that they need to pay for the book he is writing, since they can get the same material from SL. The OCL requires that any distribution of the modified work based on the orginal, be delivered free to third parties and marked as such. Where the dividing line between "modified work based on the original" and "new work" goes can of course be open to interpretation.

Either way, contributors to this page should already be aware that by contributing on SL, you have given up some authorship rights you may have had, as your contribution falls under the OCL. Again, in this respect, this page is no different from any other page.

At least Alex is open and frank about it - who knows what others are planning to use other pages on SL for?

Hicham: I find it great that Alex is putting a lot of time and effort in this project and is willing to help other people publish their go books. He is asking for help here and why shouldn't we help him? I mean if the reason is that he might make some money out of it (which is highly unlikely as Ilan pointed out), who cares! It is helping the "go world" in general so I am 100% for it.

I think a lot of people take this copyright stuff way too serious. the go business is not like the music industry, where there is a lot of money to be gained. What difference does it make if a game or a commentary is copyrighted or not? Ok, people put a lot of effort in making databases and problems, but they do it for the go community (I hope) and not for profit, otherwise they would be doing something else if they were smart. (This should be in the discussion page I think, but as all the others answered here..)

Gul: I don't think we should blame Alex here. Almost all Go books have pages describing them. I loved the sample chapter. It made things clear in a very easy way. Using 11 kyu games as examples i can actually understand them. Great thing.

IanDavis Irish 3k, happy to review but probably in the wrong range ;-)

Calvin AGA 11k, with some skepticism but quite interested.

nachtrabe: KGS 7k. I've worked as a technical writer and would be happy to review.

gdub: around 17- 20k range. I'd love to take part.

tderz 3d EUR: Proofreading on a subject one likes is fun.

minue622: KGS 7d - Hopefully, I can help you. If you want my help, leave message on SL or on KGS.

Migeru: EGF 9k, KGS 13k - really need to shake off my bad habits, so I'd love to help with this book.

Remillard: AGA 8 kyu, KGS 12? kyu. I've done a lot of technical writing so perhaps that can be of some help. I've also given quite a lot of thought as to why players have trouble with consistency, etc. Can't say I've ever come to any hard and fast conclusions, but maybe it'd be of some help. Good luck with the project and all. It's an interesting take on the issue of growing stronger.

Piotr (KGS 14?). I'll love to help!!! No royalties are expected :-))). If you're interested, please drop me a line:Piotr.Lewczuk(AT)

Gringo: Around 20k. Maybe I could be of some help. I'm not expecting royalties or anything.

meh: If you're still looking for people to review it, I'm offering. I'm KGS 5k. I have some experience in editing for people - there are a few people who regularly ask me to edit their papers for me, and I edit fiction, as well. My email is nscangal (at) gmail dot com. What I can see of your preview makes me think this is a book on a subject that most (if not all) players will find useful.

Mahasattva Alex: congratulations on your idea for a book curing bad habits. This looks like a great contribution to helping people understand this maddening but wonderful game. If you are looking for readers to give critical feedback, I am a volunteer. Send me a message on the KGS as "Mahasattva".

Chew: 8k KGS. If you still need help, you can contact me at Chew on KGS and Terr on GoDiscussions.

Breaking Bad Habits last edited by on January 27, 2015 - 05:31
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