Thursday, July 12, 2012

Writing a Roller Coaster Book

A reader recently emailed me asking about how I went about researching and writing my book, Coasters 101:An Engineering Guide to Roller Coaster Design. I decided to share my response with the rest of you here.  

I was indirectly working in the industry during some of the initial writing process. I worked for an engineering services company that did a few small jobs for some amusement industry clients. In my spare time I also did some computer modeling work for one of my friends in the industry. I’m also a member of the ASTM F24 committee on amusement ride safety which sets safety standards and regulations for the industry.

The genesis of my book actually sounds pretty similar to the plan other bloggers have followed. I have been writing articles for 
this blog for a couple years. I started by revising those articles and then put them into a logical order.

Many ride design firms are small so you it's not a problem setting up a phone or email interview. I’ve visited and interviewed a few ride manufacturers myself (which you can find on on this site). In my experience, the easiest and most open design firm to interview is the Gravity Group, based in Cincinnati, Ohio (they primarily design wooden roller coasters). I haven’t had much luck with European manufacturers. I did do an interview with a representative from Stengel Engineering but from the time I initially contacted them to final publication of the article it was well over six months!

I’m a big fan of the amusement industry so writing a book on it was a very enjoyable experience for me and totally worth the time involved. Please feel free to comment below and ask more specific questions. I'd love to help any others interested in publishing their own book or starting their own website!

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