A Book Apart

Real humans making really good books

May 28, 2020

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It’s been so much fun putting together this mini series of posts to celebrate our tenth birthday. When we asked our team and authors to share words of advice and insights on publishing a book, they also shared some of the sweetest stories.

A Book Apart mug in front of an outdoor fire pit.

Ok, some of the stories made us spit out our coffee. In a good way, we swear. See, we’re a little company made up of quirky, tender, creative humans who get to laugh, cry, stress, and celebrate together. And these are the stories that remind us why we love what we do. Because of who we get to do it with—and for.



“Is it the typing while crying after Word ate a whole day worth of changes? No, that’s not a fun story. Mounting a strenuous defense to save my favorite jokes while we were trying to get the word count down on Just Enough Research V2 was pretty fun! And meeting tons of new people who say my books have helped them is the best part—really makes it seem worthwhile.”
—Erika Hall

“In 2012(?) all the authors of the first five ABA books were present at Brooklyn Beta. We all piled onto a couch to take a quick photo celebrating our accomplishments of publishing our books. It was so sweet to be together and feel part of such an inspiring group of people.”
—Aarron Walter

“Picking the book cover color is a very memorable moment for me. It was a landmark in the book’s process because it meant we were getting closer to being done. And because A Book Apart’s book colors are such an iconic part of their design. I was so intimidated by having to choose that I was annoyingly vague in my ideas for Jason Santa Maria. Even though I’m a designer myself, and know how hard it is when a collaborator is unclear about what they like! All I knew is that I wanted a color that was bright and vibrant. When Jason sent me a few options, I was instantly drawn to this rich green because it reminded me of a photo I’d just taken on a dog walk along a lush green path.”
—Laura Kalbag

“It was fun getting to sneak in a fake Top Gun/Tom Cruise picture into a serious book about smarty computer things!”
—Remy Sharp

“I wrote the first book published by A Book Apart, HTML5 For Web Designers. In a way, we were all figuring it out as we were going along. Jeffrey, Jason, and Mandy told me that I should write in my own voice. I thought to myself, ‘I bet they’ll change their tune if I really write like I blog.’ So I wrote the first chapter very much in my own style. Then I waited for their feedback, fully expecting them to say that I needed to change it to sound more professional. But instead they all said ‘This is great! We love it!’ That’s when I knew that publishing with ABA was going to be different. Whatever the subject matter, each book sings with the individual voice of its author.”
—Jeremy Keith

“I would often procrastinate or leave my book work until later in the day (and then end up putting it off longer because my brain wasn't as sharp as the day wore on). I ended up creating space to write and get away from most anything that could distract me. I would book a roundtrip train ticket during a weekday from NYC to any location about two–three hours away (dubbed ‘Write Train’). I’d write nearly uninterrupted on the way out, have a quick lunch at the train station, then hop back on and write again on the way home. The trains were inexpensive and always all but empty. I don't know if it would work for everyone, but the sound of the train rolling over the tracks and feeling the countryside zip by really helped me focus a lot.”
—Jason Santa Maria

“I distinctly remember getting into an in-depth back-and-forth with Erin Kissane over the correct hyphenation of ‘sneeze guard,’ which remains the most fun I’ve ever had in a comment thread.”
—Ethan Marcotte


“A Book Apart works with authors to set a tone in their books—one that makes it easy for readers to follow along without feeling overwhelmed. It’s like a friendly conversation.”
—Candi Lemoine, lead customer advocate and PM

“It’s not a sole pursuit. The amount of support you get—and need!—from editors, friends, publishers, family, and more is both necessary and lovely.”
—Dan Mall

“With A Book Apart, you get a lot of support from the staff itself of course, but there is a community among the ABA authors that gets you an awful lot of support as well.”
—Chris Coyier

“ABA reaches so many of those people you meet briefly at a conference or workshop and don’t see again for years, and so many of them popped up to say hello when my book launched!”
—Scott Kubie

“I believe our books have the power to change the way people think and work. That inspires me endlessly.”
—Katel LeDu, CEO


Thanks for being a part of our story. 💗

➜ Read the previous post: a love letter to editors
➜ Read more posts in this series