After the NYC Code Camp last month, a bunch of the speakers went out for a couple of drinks and appetizers. We got on the topic of writing books and articles. There were folks like Don Demsak promoting the notion of independent self publishing vs. folks like Kevin Goff advocating the need for working with a good publisher when writing.
What's more important for the author? "Fame"? (actually reaching & helping more readers) Or money? (Tech authors rarely make any money off of books.) What came out during the discussion is that there are pros and cons to each approach of authoring and publishing that play toward these two factors. At the end of the night, a true consensus wasn't reached.
So, while there may be some debate as to what the best way to publish is, there's one thing that there is likely little doubt on: Whatever you write, the content better be good!
Here is an interesting post from Keyvan Nayyeri that I picked up on DotNetKicks last week. Keyvan provides some good tips for writing a .NET article. While he talks about .NET articles, this advice applies for any technology related article.
Regardless of the channel, you absolutely must have a good editor - having written two books myself, I know that it was the editor that ensured they had quality - look at any published book, fiction or non-fiction - in almost all cases, the authors give effusive thanks to their editor.
That said, it helps if you know what you are talking about - but when you finish writing, you always look back at what you were in the beginning of the process, and wonder how anyone so clueless could have had the gall to think they could write anything :-)