books

Finished writing my first book, Ansible for DevOps

After almost two years of writing, editing, and rewriting my book, I've finally completed the first edition of Ansible for DevOps, and it's available for sale on Amazon, LeanPub, and iTunes!

Ansible for DevOps cover - book on Ansible by Jeff Geerling

The book is 400 pages long, just shy of 80,000 words, and was a huge effort. It's such a relief to finally have it 'out the door', though publishing-as-I-write has been a great experience. Pre-first-edition, I've already sold over 2,200 copies of Ansible for DevOps on LeanPub!

Here are a few blog posts from Server Check.in where I describe more of the publication process:

$25K in book sales, and I'm almost ready to publish

I started writing my first book almost two years ago. At the beginning of the project, I set an ambitious goal: Write a 90-page introductory-level technical book on some relatively new software, and sell 200 copies.

As a developer and dabbling entrepreneur, I calculated that if I sold the book for around $10-20, and wrote the book based on real-world scenarios I'd already encountered (meaning very little extra research/discovery required), I could make enough money to keep things interesting while helping a few hundred developers pick up the new software more quickly.

Almost two years later, Ansible for DevOps is almost 400 pages long and has sold over 2,000 copies—and I haven't yet published the book.

Books sold per month

What follows is an analysis of what led to this success, and some cautions for those considering writing a book.

#vBrownBag DevOps presentation - Oct 29 [Updated]

In the middle of preparations for next month's Souls & Goals soccer match, I've also been very busy with Ansible-related activities.

I'm still making progress in writing Ansible for DevOps (over 45,000 words, and over 900 people have already bought the book on LeanPub!), and I've been invited by the folks at Professional VMWare to present in their #vBrownBag DevOps Series! I'll be talking about Ansible for an hour or so, and I'll be sure to post the link to the presentation after it's over.

You can join the presentation live (starts at 7:30 p.m. CST tonight, October 29) by registering at http://professionalvmware.com/brownbags/.

Writing on LeanPub - $0.21 per word

I've been blogging for 10 years, and I've written over 800,000 words in posts. As time progresses, I try to clearly convey more information with fewer words. It's been hard to quantify the value derived from those words, however, since the only measurements I could make (e.g. a small amount of ad revenue) have been subjective at best.

For almost seven months, I've been writing Ansible for DevOps, publishing on LeanPub as I write. In that time, I've written ~41,600 words (with roughly 60% of the book complete), and have had ~800 readers purchase the book (either standalone, or in a bundle).

Self-Publishing a Book (on Ansible)

I've published the first portion of a book I've been writing, Ansible for DevOps. This is my first-ever book, and I've written a little about the process of writing on Server Check.in's blog: Self-publishing my first technical book on LeanPub.

Ansible for DevOps cover image

I'm excited about the early feedback I've already received—and I haven't even finished writing half the book! I'm hoping to finish the first complete draft of the book (and continue publishing it in stages on LeanPub) by summer 2014.

Self-publishing my first technical book on LeanPub

Update: Almost two years later, I've finally finished the book! You can purchase Ansible for DevOps on LeanPub, Amazon, or iTunes.

For the past year, I've seen many accounts of first-time authors finally taking the plunge and self-publishing a book on some technology or another, and finally decided to do the same.

Like many of these first-time authors, I felt I was prepared for the project, for the following reasons:

A few of the best books I've read in a long time [Rinzler's Making of Star Wars]

I recently noticed the video below on the official Star Wars YouTube channel, and I immediately popped over to Amazon.com to put The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi into my wish list (it's set for release on October 1, 2013!).

I've read both of J.W. Rinzler's other existing Making of Star Wars books (Episode IV, Episode V), and I thoroughly enjoyed both of them (read my review of The Making of The Empire Strikes Back here). I can't imagine Episode VI's book being any worse!

Review: The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Jeff's Rating: 5/5

tl;dr: Odds are 725:1 you'll love this book! If you enjoyed Star Wars (IV-VI), if you want to learn about moviemaking, if you appreciate art—you'll love this book by J.W. Rinzler.

I've watched the original Star Wars trilogy too many times to count. My Dad introduced me to the series in the late 80s, and since then I've watched the movies as they were adapted for VHS, TV, LaserDisc, DVD, and now Blu-Ray.

I have strong opinions about who shot first, which of the trilogy was the best movie (this has changed as I've grown), the proper viewing order of all six existing Star Wars motion pictures, and which cut(s) of the film(s) were best (I don't believe the 'original theatrical cut' was the best—and I wonder how many people who advocate such a release realize that there were more than one...).