Today the vSAN Deep Dive ebook promo starts for the UK market! Unfortunately, Amazon only allows us to run these promotions in 2 stores, .com and .co.uk. So we scheduled them where possible. Starting today the ebook will be available on .co.uk for 0.99 pounds for a full week! So to be clear, it starts on the 20th of January and ends on the 27th! Pick it up here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/VMware-vSAN-6-7-Deep-Dive-ebook/dp/B07L8CNZ53/. After the 27th the book will return to the normal price. We hope you all will enjoy it.
Amazon allows publishers to create book promotions and I just created one for the vSAN 6.7 U1 Deep Dive ebook. The promotion starts on the 24th of December and will end on the 31st of December. The ebook promotion will be available only on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, as that is where Amazon allows publishers to create these. The price will start as low as 0.99 USD for the ebook in the US and will go up in increments of 1 USD over the course of 10 days, for the UK the price will start at 0.99 Pounds. The paper copy will also drop in price starting today and will return to normal on the 31st of December. (Note, unfortunately for the UK the ebook promo will start on the 20th of January, Amazon doesn’t allow me to schedule it sooner.) The paper copy will be discounted in all Amazon stores worldwide we have dropped the price by over 50%, in other words, for the US market you can pick it up for less than 20 USD, for EMEA it is less than 15 Euro. This should be a great deal to brush up your vSAN skills over the holiday season!
Make sure to pick a copy up using my referral links below:
I have had this question a couple of times and typed lengthy emails as a response, I figured I may as well write a blog post and share that going forward. Self-publishing, where do you start and which tools to use?
Well, I think the process is rather simple, but it takes a lot of time. Before you even get started writing a book you need to ask yourself if you will have the time to write a book and if you have the support of your family. As it typically means you will end up sitting in your home office for many evenings, and weekends, typing up content. Without the support of your family, or time, you won’t be able to finish it. Especially when it is your first book, expect it to take 6-9 months. Unless you get time from your work to add in extra hours during the week, and even then it probably takes 6 months at least.
Then there’s the question, self-publishing or a publisher? There are advantages to either, of course with a publisher a cut of the royalties will go to the publisher and typically as an author you will get between 8-12% (with 15% being the upper end). Big benefit of a publisher is the fact that they will provide editors, pay tech reviewers and will do all the formatting for you for both the paper and ebook edition. With self-publishing, you have to do that yourself, but it also means you are in control and you get to determine the price, which is nice as you can for instance price the ebook at 9.99 instead of the 40 USD a publisher will ask. (This will help with volume.)
Now when it comes to self-publishing, how do you start? I would recommend the following:
- Write a short summary of what you are going to write about and what you expect the reader to learn from the book
- Decide if you want a co-author or not, and ask the co-author if you want one
- Create a Table of Content (list of chapters)
- Create a timeline for completing the chapters
- Think about who you would like to ask as a technical reviewer, you may want more than 1
- Think about asking someone for editing/grammar, it helps to have someone focus on pure readability of the content!
- Think about which platform you will use to publish, Lulu vs Amazon (KDP) vs ?
Now when you have the above done, you can start writing, but what kind of tools should you use? I personally have used MS Word as the main tool to write books. When working with multiple authors we typically create a file per chapter and divide the chapters between the authors and work on them individually and store them in a shared dropbox folder. When you are done you can simply share the files with reviewers and editors. When you are done, you simply combine all the chapters and create a PDF. Now before you even do, make sure to check the publishing platform you will use and check whether they provide templates or not. These templates will be very helpful when you start the work to create a PDF. Amazon (KDP) will provide you various types of templates for different sized books. Also, when you create a PDF consider buying Adobe Acrobat DC. Not a requirement, but may help to produce usable PDFs, although KDP can also help with this.
The above is the print part, but of course, you may also want to create an ebook, typically this means you will need to redo all the formatting. KDP can do this for you, typically at a cost, or you can do it yourself. I have done this myself for most books (where Frank typically did the formatting for the paper copy), and for the ebook I have used various tools. I have a Macbook and I used both Vellum and Scrivener. Scrivener is a combination of a word processor/authoring tool and an ebook creator. Vellum was purely developed to create clean ebooks. That is why I moved from Scrivener to Vellum, as we do all our writing in MS Word, the only thing I need is the ability to create clean Kindle files. Vellum does that extremely well. It comes at a cost, but it was worth it! I tried importing the MS Word doc by the way various times, but I ended up doing copy/paste in the end, was much easier as it allowed me to also verify the formatting per copy/paste action.
Last but not least the tools used for the diagrams, it doesn’t really matter what you use. Visio, Powerpoint, Omnigraffle, it all works well. As long as you are consistent in terms of style and icons used. I would definitely recommend having one author create, or edit/verify all the diagrams. It just provides a more consistent look and feel and will make your book look more professional.
Before I forget, then of course when you are finished you will need to set a price. Now, when self-publishing I have always released the ebook at a fraction of the cost of the paper book. Simply because it allows you to reach more people, and of course because it is better for the environment. Yet is will cut into your royalties, but if you are considering writing a book to make money then you probably should rethink things. In most cases, tech books won’t make you a lot of money, put in the same amount of hours at the local MacDonalds and you probably make more money, but hopefully that is not what you were trying to achieve. Hopefully, your goal is to learn from the experience, share your knowledge and expand your horizon.
If you want some more great hints and tips, I would recommend looking at the self-publishingschool website, which has a huge amount of information on the topic of self-publishing, with a lot of useful video content.
A couple of months ago I was asked if I wanted to write a foreword for an upcoming ebook. I have done this various times, but this one was particularly interesting. Why? Well, there are 3 good reasons:
- This book is written by 14 community experts, many of which I have met over the past years.
- It is a free, but sponsored, ebook!
- All sponsor proceeds will go to charity.
The first book I wrote was also a book with multiple authors, it was only a handful of people and that was painful enough as it is. An insane amount of coordination is involved usually and I have a lot of respect for these guys, 14 people writing a single book is not easy.
On top of that, these guys decided to cover multiple VMware technologies, ranging from NSX to VDI to vSphere etc. Very cool if you ask me. Oh, and before I forget… They have already managed to collect over 25.000 Euro for charity. Great job guys, what an achievement. I am not going to say much more, just download the book (if you read/speak Spanish)! Thanks for letting me part of this.
A while ago my colleague and friend Kevin Lees reached out to me and asked me if I could go over some material he wrote together with Paul Wiggett. He also asked me if I would be willing to write a foreword. When Kevin send the document over I literally finished it within a day. What I enjoyed most about this vSAN book was the fact that it wasn’t a deep dive, it wasn’t drilling down on technology, instead the people/process aspect of things are being discussed. This is an area which is often overlooked, and definitely an area that deserves more attention when people are looking to adopt software-defined storage, or the software-defined data center for that matter. Thanks Paul/Kevin for providing me the opportunity to write the foreword, I just downloaded my free copy and I have to say it looks great.
If you are interested, the book can be downloaded for free through the VMware Virtual Blocks blog, simply go here and download your copy.