next tech book: Sudo Mastery

Last weekend I amused myself by tweeting:

Stupid contest: give the title of the tech book I’ve just started writing. If correct, you get to make me a sandwich.

The answer is Sudo Mastery. Obviously. Although there were some amusing and hopeful alternative suggestions.

As with DNSSEC Mastery, I’m making the in-progress draft available for purchase. I did this with DNSSEC Mastery, and people seemed pleased. So, let’s try this again.

You can buy Sudo Mastery now for $7.99. You get access to the early drafts of the book, the version sent for tech review, and the final version. Incomplete drafts are in PDF format, because I can’t see anyone loading an incomplete book onto their e-reader. The finished book will be in PDF, epub, and mobi.

The in-progress version also includes various markup and reserved pages for physical layout, as well as whatever notes I make during the writing process. The version currently on the site includes the outline for the part of Chapter 3 that I haven’t written yet.

When the book is complete, I will raise the price to $9.99. Buying early gets you a 20% discount.

You can also choose to overpay for the book (or any title on the site) if you desire. Because some of you want to. If you’re trying to make a go of being a writer, rule number 1 is: when someone puts money in your hand, you take it and say “Thank you.” There’s even an option to just give me money without getting anything, because people have said that they want to do that.

I will announce new versions of the book via Twitter. You’ll get an update every few chapters. As it’s a Mastery book, they’re short chapters. I’ll announce major milestones, just as a complete manuscript or completed tech edits, here.

I’m doing this for a couple reasons. One, people liked it last time. I get paid early, which is always nice. Feedback is good. And I expect that, once again, only my hardcore fans will buy an incomplete book. Some people will look at this as a 20% discount for preorders, which is fine too.

When you buy the book doesn’t matter to me. Sales made via third-party ebookstores are better for my career. They book the book’s sales rank and increase the book’s visibility. But the only people who will be interested in this offer are those interested enough in my work to stalk me via my blog or Twitter and, frankly, there’s not really enough of you to directly impact my Amazon sales rank.

You all do impact my sales, mind you, but indirectly. Every time you tell someone that they need to read one of my books, every time you leave a positive review on a book, every time you slap your boss and say “Dammit, make the support guys read this book so they leave me alone,” you help me a great deal. And that support drives bookstore rankings.

But as far as my stupid contest went: the best answer by far came from Darrin Chandler, who said:

Liked Absolut OpenBSD, but have since switched to Svedka. The morning afterboot still hurts.

I’m still in pain from that one.

4 Replies to “next tech book: Sudo Mastery”

  1. Since these are self-published, and it looks like you are going to have a series of them, the next two questions I can think of are:

    1: Have you registered a site for the series yet instead of having them as a subpart of your own?

    2: You could totally pull a L. Frank Baum and after some number of books, just bring in some authors and have them bring out volumes 15-40 of ‘whatever Mastery’. It’s more franchising than self-publishing at that point.

  2. Justin, I don’t intend to have their own site for them. Perhaps a sub-section of my site at most. Maintaining three web sites for myself is enough of a pain, I’m not about to make it four.

    I can’t see myself franchising, either. That comes suspiciously close to publishing other people’s work, which I don’t want to do. I want to be a writer, not a publisher or editor. Anything that comes out with my name on it would have to meet my standards. Very few tech writers write the way I think they should, and I’ve given up tilting at that particular windmill. (I’m not saying they’re bad writers; there are some good tech books out there. But I have definite ideas about improving the craft, and they’re pretty orthogonal to what most other tech writers believe.)

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