writing

Moving on, aka 'New job, 2019 edition'

Since 2014, I've been working for Acquia, doing some fun work with a great team in Professional Services. I started out managing some huge Drupal site builds for Acquia clients, and ended up devoting all my time for the past couple years to some major infrastructure projects, diving deeper into operations work, Ansible, AWS, Docker, and Kubernetes in production.

In that same time period, I began work on my second book, Ansible for Kubernetes, but have not had the dedicated time to get too deep into writing—especially now that I have three young kids. When I started writing Ansible for DevOps, I had one newborn!

Ansible for DevOps - 50% off on LeanPub for Black Friday 2017

Though I've had a little less time to work on the book lately, I'm still very much invested in keeping Ansible for DevOps the best and most up-to-date guide to using Ansible for infrastructure automation. It's been over two years since the first '100% complete' edition was released, and in that time I have published over 200 updates on LeanPub—and even have full test coverage for all the book's examples, which are open-sourced and available in the Ansible for DevOps GitHub repo!

Ansible for DevOps - 50% off for Black Friday 2017

For this year's Black Friday, I'm discounting the book—50% off—but only on LeanPub. I like to push readers to LeanPub, because:

Self-Publish, don't write for a Publisher

I'm not a writer. I'm a software developer who communicates well. Because I'm a developer and software architect, I spend time evaluating solutions to find the best one. There are often multiple good options, but I try to pick the best among them.

When I chose to write a book two years ago, I evaluated whether to self-publish or seek out a publisher. I spent a lot of time evaluating my options, and chose the self-publishing route.

Because I'm asked about this a lot, I decided to summarize my reasons in a blog post, both to posit why self-publishing is almost always the right option for a beginning author, and to challenge publishers to convince me I'm wrong.

Podcast interview with Len Epp on the LeanPub podcast

Today LeanPub published it's 25th episode of the LeanPub Podcast, and in it, Len Epp asked me about a wide range of topics, including AI, the impact of smartphones on interpersonal relationships, how I got started in computing, and how I self-published a bestseller, Ansible for DevOps, on LeanPub.

A few decent quotes from the interview:

[On how I learned technical/tutorial writing:] Go sit down, sit through all the tutorials, and then write up a guide that will help people to quickly get up to speed on it”. Because the manuals you get with the manufacturer are pretty much junk.

As a technical person I hate the idea of DRM on a book. Because it’s like, when I go to a bookstore and buy a book, I don’t have like a locking mechanism that I have to unlock to read it.

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.

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:

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