Jan 2015 Status & Next Projects

Welcome to 21 January 2015. Here’s the news.

I finished the first draft of Tarsnap Mastery yesterday. Today I went through it one more time, then shipped it off to Colin Percival for his comments on the last few chapters. Once I have his corrections, I’ll solicit reviewers.

Networking for Systems Administrators is at the copyeditor. It’s due back Friday. I expected this book to be pretty easy, but the tech reviewers savaged it. The end result will be a much better book, but it still wasn’t much fun and took longer to repair than I expected. With any luck, though, I’ll be able to get the electronic version out before the end of January and print in mid-February.

These two books are not available for pre-order through the Tilted Windmill Press web site. Books that I offer direct pre-orders on have done much more poorly than books without direct pre-orders. (Part of that might be topics, of course.) Other authors tell me that Amazon uses a book’s initial sales velocity to compute a book visibility to other buyers. More than 90% of my TWP book sales come from Amazon, so I care what happens on that platform.

The sequel to Immortal Clay is rolling along.

Now that Tarsnap Mastery and Networking for System Administrators are in a lull, I’ve started seriously pulling material together and filling in the outlines for my next FreeBSD Mastery books:

  • Jails (#fmjail)
  • ZFS (#fmzfs)
  • Specialty Filesystems (#fmspf, because #fmsf is taken)

    If you watched my most recent BSDNow interview, this is not a surprise.

    The books will assume you know what’s in FM: Storage Essentials, and there is a certain amount of interconnection between all three. For example, to use jails you should know about devfs and unionfs. The Jails book will include the incantations to perform the devfs and unionfs tasks needed for jails, but the explanations for them will be in the Specialty Filesystems book. Similarly, the Jails book will have ZFS rituals in it, but the ZFS book will have the knowledge behind those rituals.

    So, if you know some of these systems but not all you only need buy exactly what you need.

    I might split the Specialty Filesystems book into two parts, one for local filesystems and one for networked filesystems, depending on how long the book gets and the final content. My goal for these books is to make them about 30,000-40,000 words.[1] FMSE was 45,000 words, and N4SA is about that long. The sudo and Tarsnap books are closer to 30K, while SSH is right around 35K.

    I expect that once I finish them, I’ll have a bundle at Tilted Windmill Press much like the existing Security Bundle.

    When will these be finished? I really want to take the finished print books to BSDCan in June.

    [1] Why restrict book length? While the various ebook platforms do not restrict how long books can be, they do restrict how much I can charge for them. Most traditional publishers do not have that restriction. I must stagger roughly around that fuzzy intersection between “give good value,” “include what the reader needs,” and “can’t pay the mortgage.”

    Note that the on-demand printers do limit the size of print books. The bindings at the larger size books are not great. I refuse to release shoddy print books.

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