IntroductionI announced that I was starting a new book some time ago. I started it and have done very little about it since. This is not because of total laziness, although I have to admit it has been a factor! The short answer is that my "day job" has kept me very busy with sometimes more than full-time hours plus as much as 3 hours' driving on top. I also do volunteer work proof-reading for the International Meteor Organisation and I'm also an active amateur astronomer. I also have a family who I like to spend time with. To see a list of books I've had published so far, click here.
Being an AstronomerThis has been in the pipeline for nearly two years. Although I have added a few words lately, it is still at a very early stage and I have not included any photographs and diagrams, both of which I will eventually need. Despite the slow progress, I consider it will be a great beginner book when finished, even if it is after I retire! The idea is to really get to grips with what being an astronomer is about without re-hashing a load of data that is readily available on the internet or a public library. I am of the honest opinion that there are some excellent beginner books around but most fall into the trap of trying to do too much. Yes, the Big Bang is terribly interesting and important but it won't help you to find Mars in the night sky.
Phil's ScribblingsNot many astronomy writers would admit this BUT ... most astronomy books become out of date very quickly. Amateur astronomy is changing very quickly and all of the time. Many of us are actively trying out new equipment and new ideas. At the time of writing, I was experimenting with leaving a DSLR camera unattended while it takes repeated photos of the sky to capture meteors "on film". Yes, publishers can produce new editions but this is an expensive business. What I have done instead is to provide supplementary material for free on my website. This material is in the form of articles and booklets and can be read alone or can be read with my published works for updated information. Yes, this promotes my books but also makes them more useful for those who have bought and read them. For details, click here.
As an example, DSLR cameras were prohibitively expensive for most amateur astronomers but this is no longer the case. I have written a booklet about using a DSLR on its own and have updated it recently with information about photographing meteors.