Goessel native writing books about computers

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN RUSTY WHITCHER
John Goerzen has a brain for computers.

He’s so knowledgeable about them, in fact, that he has written several books about computers that have been published.

The self-taught Linux programmer recently had his latest book about computer programming published. The book is titled “Foundations of Python Network Programming.”

Linux is an operating system and a competitor to Windows.

Goerzen said Linux is more customizable and is free to anyone who desires to use it. In fact, the designers of Linux have encouraged the sharing of the software.

Goerzen, a system administrator and computer programmer at Excel Industries Inc. in Hesston, is no stranger to the area.

After graduating from Goessel High School, he attended Wichita State University for a while.

“I was working at Southwind when they were bought out,” he said. “My job kind of went away, and I moved to Dallas. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in computers.”

From Dallas, Goerzen moved to Indianapolis, where he met his wife, Terah. After a few years in Indianapolis, they longed for small town life and moved back to Hesston.

During this time, Goerzen found a new hobby: writing computer programming books.

“I worked with a project called Debian,” he said. “Debian takes Linux and makes a nice integrated package. There was a publisher who was interested in someone to write a short 150-page book who was willing to talk to first-time writers.”

Goerzen teamed up with another writer and wrote the manual.

He then was able to find a literary agent who has helped him find other projects. Goerzen has never met any of his co-authors in person.

“On my latest book, the technical editor was from Norway,” he said.

Goerzen has been involved with five books. His writing process begins with a proposal of each chapter, including a summary of what he’ll write about and the estimated length.

“My agent will often go around and he’ll say ‘Hey, I know this editor over here who is looking for this kind of thing’ and he’ll talk to people,” he said. “Sometimes it’s been the other way around where an editor says ‘We want this book, could you write it for us?'”

Once they find an interested publisher, they negotiate a contract and set a timetable for publishing. Goerzen often works with several editors, including technical editors and copy editors.

“On my latest project there were three main editors,” he said. “There was a development editor who was kind of the guy in charge of the book, there was a copy editor looking at grammar and the technical editor looking at technical topics.”

The writing process usually takes six months to a year.

Goerzen hasn’t really entertained the idea of writing a textbook yet.

“Writing a textbook may appeal to me someday,” he said. “Textbooks on computers are based more in theory, and I tend to write more about the practical aspects.”

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