Category: mathbootcamps

Releasing a book… one chapter at a time (linear algebra study guide)

This week marks the beginning of an interesting experiment. For a long time, one of the goals for MathBootCamps has been to offer review books (think: Schaum’s outline and similar) to students for a wide variety of topics. This is a huge undertaking; so big in fact, that it is hard to know where to even start. This has resulted in a lot of partially finished writing laying around in different folders.

Visitors to mathbootcamps.com, however, are probably not looking for an entire review book just yet. The majority of my traffic is from students who are trying to understand a specific topic and have found me through a google search.

With this in mind, I realized that I could release chapters, or even sections, of review books as they are finished. Each one would essentially be a study guide for that particular topic. These could then be made available to students visiting any related page on mathbootcamps.com. As a writer, this means I could jump from topic to topic (write one chapter for stats, write another for linear algebra – it’s more fun that way!) and adjust as I go based on feedback. Eventually, a group of study guides could then be offered together as a book, once a particular topic has been covered completely.

Yesterday, I made my first study guide available!



linear-combinations-and-span-study-guide-cover
Click to check it out (overlay – you won’t be taken to a new page)

A few things to note:

  • I went with “pay what you want” pricing. I want people to be able to access the information freely, but also be able to support MathBootCamps if they choose.
  • This would probably be chapter 3 or 4 of a linear algebra review book. But, with releasing chapters like this, there is no need to go in order. This would certainly be different were someone to try releasing a chapter at a time of a fiction text.
  • I’m using gumroad. There were several other options I reviewed and this looked the best for now. This choice and my experience will be part of a future post.
  • It was a ton of work to put this together. Even though the study guide is only 40 pages, I edited it at least three times and rewrote sections more than once. I had to come up with a style that would be used throughout and get around the tech stuff as well. This will go much faster with the next study guide.

There is still a lot to figure out. Gumroad gives me a sort of storefront I can send people to, and I need to work on making that look halfway decent. I will also likely make a special study guide page on MathBootCamps once more than one guide is available. Currently, I am working on the next study guide – statistical graphs/plots with the TI83/84 calculator, so that shouldn’t be too long from now!