Halloween Ebook Sale: Immortal Clay

If you want something scary to read this October, the ebook of my novel Immortal Clay is on sale most everywhere for $2.99. If you saw John Carpenter’s The Thing and thought “hey, wouldn’t it be great if the alien had lived and escaped and eaten every living thing on Earth,” this is the book for you.

You can grab it from:

Google Play is coming in a day or two.

2021 Soroptimist Auction Results

I’ve been screaming my fool head off on social media for the last few months about my auction to support Soroptimist International Grosse Pointe. After I post this, I can shut up about it.

We raised $2200. The money will be used to help human trafficking survivors clear their records. This is an extraordinarily high amount for a single auction, and achieved that only because of the generosity of my readers.

Jay Hannah kicked things into gear by bidding $1000–and immediately donated the entire amount to SIGP. For all the charity auctions I’ve run over the last ten years or so, I don’t believe anyone’s ever done that.

Five minutes from the end, Tim Olsen sniped him with a bid of $1200.

Tim gets the special FreeBSD Mastery: Jails, signed by the membership of SIGP. Many left notes of gratitude, or signed the page that corresponded with their age, or both. I’m not going to show photos, because SIGP’s membership isn’t public the way, say, OpenBSD’s is. Trust me, it’s seriously signed. I’m also adding a couple extra books, because come on–$1200?

I’m also sending Jay some books, to thank him for his generosity. Because come on, $1000 without winning?

I had particular bonus titles in mind to send each, but I don’t have some of them. I went to take them off my brag heap, thinking I would order replacements, but they weren’t in the heap. Seems I need to audit the heap? Ah, well. Perhaps when I fill in the missing titles, it really will be taller than I am.

Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word. If you were wondering, the Soroptimist International Grosse Pointe tip jar is still open.

Auction Last Day

If you’re interested in the FreeBSD Mastery: Jails — Bail Bond Denied edition charity auction, it closes today at 5PM EDT.

The current lead bid is at $1000, but here’s the twist: he’s already made the donation in that amount.

If you win with a bid of $1001, you’ll raise twice the money and screw over the current leader. How often do you get to do something unquestionably good out of spite?

My Inevitable(?) Amazon Tech Ebook Exit

Warning: publishing business book neepery ahead, as I try to figure out a problem. It includes a bunch of tedious ground-laying. I also round many prices to the nearest dollar.

I am specifically talking about nonfiction here. The fiction business is different. (That’s the problem.)

Amazon’s Payment Model

Amazon’s direct publishing program, KDP, is one of several distribution channels that allows writers to reach audiences without going through a publisher. KDP is the largest such distributor. In any business, the largest distributor uses its power to impose extra rules that benefit it. One of those is the ebook royalty structure, which is dictated by the ebook’s price. Ebooks priced up to $2.98, the author gets paid 35% of cover price for each sale. From $2.99 to $9.99, the author makes 70%. At $10 and up, they make 35% again. (Traditional publishers have a different structure.) Authors also pay delivery fees, so the actual payment is a little less than that. Amazon clearly wants ebooks to be priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Other distributors might have limits at the bottom end, but generally pay 65% to 80% — and nobody else has this artificial $9.99 cap.

Amazon agreements have a Most Favored Nation clause where they can price match any other distributor. If an ebook is $9.99 at Amazon and $4.99 at Apple, Amazon can cut their price to match.

If I price an ebook at $9.99, I make about $7 at any distributor.

If I price that same ebook at $14.99, I make about $10 everywhere but Amazon, and $4.50 at Amazon.

In short, ebook prices of $10-$19.99 are a “dead zone” that benefits nobody but Amazon. I must price my book over $20 to make more per sale than I would by pricing at $9.99.

Novels versus Tech Books

Tech books are fundamentally different from novels. Writing tech books takes a different skill set than novels, and the potential audience is different. Amazon treats the two identically, to tech authors’ detriment.

I can write a mid-size novel in about a month, barring debacle. (Yes, other writers are different, I know.) I spent about a year researching and writing SNMP Mastery and another writing TLS Mastery.

The maximum potential audience for each type of book is very different. A novel’s maximum potential audience is effectively unlimited. It might sell ten copies or fifty thousand copies. A lucky few sell millions. The maximum potential audience for a tech book is far, far smaller. I will be thrilled to unreasoning giggles if SNMP Mastery sells five thousand copies.

Every author knows this going in. $ git commit murder might sell a million copies. It won’t, of course, but it might.

Compare a $5.99 novel ($4 payment) to one of my $9.99 ($7 payment) tech books. Fifty thousand readers for that novel nets about $200,000. My five thousand readers at $7 each is about $35,000. That is not much for a year’s highly skilled work.

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon really pushes authors towards their Kindle Unlimited program. This is a flat rate subscription program, where authors get paid on the number of pages read. Books must be exclusive to Amazon, however. If someone reads a novel, they read every page. If someone grabs a tech book, they might read only one chapter. I design my books to be read from front to back, letting the reader build a comprehensive body of knowledge on the topic, but I know dang well some of you read one chapter and fuddle through without context. The KU program as it is currently structured is hostile to authors and non-Amazon readers alike, and I will not participate. That post is several years old, but the basics haven’t changed.

Additionally, I can destroy the career of any author in KU by setting up my own instance of scam software and aiming it at them. It would cost a couple hundred bucks of cloud computing and a couple days of my time, sure, but any number of the folks I’ve pissed off by insisting that women exist in tech would gleefully pay that to take me out. (As an aside, that’s the same reason my print books are non-returnable despite several bookstores requesting otherwise. I don’t know that enough of my haters are adept enough in the publishing biz to run the Returnable Books Exploit, but I can’t take that risk.)

Finally, consider the word monopsony.

The smaller maximum audience size, combined with techie reading habits, makes Kindle Unlimited absolute death for my tech books.

Mastery Book Goals

Most tech books are huge. I wanted to write shorter tech books that dive deeply into narrow aspects of system administration. I saw a gap that $9.99 ebooks would fill nicely. The books would be about 30,000-45,000 words each, and cover what every sysadmin must know about the material. The argument over whether or not the books achieve that is best had over a drink, but that’s the goal.

Some of my topics were poorly chosen. SNMP Mastery wound up at over 60,000 words. I looked at the completed book and thought: a fair price on this would be $14.99. If I do that, though, I make less on each ebook sale at Amazon. I might figure out how to survive that. I would not survive thinking of Amazon making more off my work for purely arbitrary reasons.

The books must be fairly priced, both for you and for me. I won’t ever get wealthy writing tech books, but if I don’t pay the bills I’ll have to go to work for someone else. They must be a win-win purchase.

Long Term Pricing

Prices increase over time. This is not a surprise.

Consider the cost of tech books through the years. Ebooks should not be priced the same as print books, and booksellers discount print books, but print books have the MSRP on the cover so they’re a decent yardstick for measuring scale of change. My books Absolute BSD, Absolute FreeBSD, and Absolute OpenBSD are all about the same size and have similar audiences.

These books cost $39.95 in the 2000s, and $59.95 in the 2010s. I expect them to hit (ugh) $79.95 in the 2020s.

Amazon is fairly rare among dot-coms in that it started off thinking very long-term. Its long term goal is to make books inexpensive, just like they make everything inexpensive. They’re not looking at 2021, they’re looking at 2030 and 2050.

Why would they ever eliminate the dead zone? Keeping it fits their long term goals. I would like to be wrong, but I’m pretty confident the $9.99 hurdle is perpetual.

The Future
Writers might not need pants, but we do need health care and gelato and caffeine. The price of the Mastery ebooks must eventually increase, along with everything else. This change is not imminent, but I can see the day approaching and am considering strategies against it.

My main options for “price increases above $9.99” seem to be:

  1. Drop Amazon Kindle for all new books. Amazon’s print book description would have near the top: “Due to Amazon’s discriminatory treatment of technology authors, ebook versions are available everywhere except Amazon.” I don’t know how long that note would survive, but I would take great satisfaction in posting it. It might alienate Kindle fans, though.
  2. Increase prices into the $10-$19.99 dead zone, and hope that my proceeds on other distributors overcome my Amazon losses. Theoretically possible, but rewards Amazon for discriminating against tech book authors.
  3. Artificially increase the price above $20 on all platforms. If I need to make $10 on each ebook sold at Amazon, I could increase the ebook price to $30. Thanks to the Most Favored Nation clause, the price must be identical on all platforms. I think $30 is an unfairly high price for SSH Mastery or even the overly long SNMP Mastery. Not a win-win, I won’t do it.

Other options do exist, like release windows, but these are the primary strategies. Of them, numbers two and three are unacceptable.

Decision Factors

If you look at my 2020 income, Amazon is my single biggest source, at 36%. My Amazon sales are pretty evenly split between print and ebook. Let’s call it 18% each. Taking an 18% pay cut would suck. Some of those readers would buy elsewhere, sure, but businesses must be pessimistic. For my calculations, and my laziness, let’s say Kindle is 20%.

(Dear tech author friends: don’t use my numbers. What percent of your sales are on Kindle? Do you know? And yes, I’m a freaking unicorn, I get it.)

Let’s say I write another tech book that should be priced fairly at $15, and examine it in three scenarios based on a baseline 1000 ebook sales.

Scenario 1: I price this book at $9.99, and sell 1000 ebooks across all platforms. I make $7 per book, and make $7000.

Scenario 2: I drop Kindle. I make $10 on each sale through every platform except Amazon, but sell only 800 books. I make $8000.

Scenario 3: I keep Kindle, but price at $14.99. I make $8900, at the price of feeding Amazon’s anti-tech-author discrimination. Plus, they make about $2000.

Is my annoyance at Amazon’s bottleneck practices worth $900? Is reader convenience worth $900? How about the two of them combined, against an “I win, you win, Amazon WINS BIG” situation? Good questions.

So what’s my actionable plan?

  • Write shorter tech books that can be fairly priced at $9.99. (We all know how I will fail, but it’s a goal.)
  • Watch inflation.
  • Continue disintermediating readers.
  • Steer readers that cannot be disintermediated to distributors other than Amazon.

I wrote this post to try to figure out the Kindle exit conditions. I guess I’ve already hit them. Or, I sell out for a few hundred bucks. Those folks who know the technologies I write about will understand that ethics matter to me, though.

This might get interesting…

Forthcoming Mastery Book Price Changes

Just like the rest of the industrial world, the print book supply chain is struggling. All over the world, my printers are raising their prices. My indie publishing unit, Tilted Windmill Press, must roll with the changes. If you want print books, I recommend purchasing them soon.

I don’t know what the final prices will be. I have many titles, and churning through them all is a right pain. Some will require cover updates, because I foolishly put the prices on the back cover just like big publishers do. (I have built Tilted Windmill Press by producing products that can compete with the big publishers, which meant looking like Big Publishing books. Unfortunately, Big Publishing lets books age like milk, when my books age like wine.) (Also, why did nobody warn me that this insane business might succeed? I had dozens of exit strategies for my inevitable failure, but never asked “What will you do if your self-pub biz–hang on, hear me out–works? What if this book is still in print in, oh, I don’t know, TEN YEARS?”)

Prices are going up everywhere, for everything. The pandemic has everything higgledy-piggledy, and there’s no way to know where it will settle down. I’ll post shortly on what that means for my ebook side.

“DNSSEC Mastery, 2nd Edition” Cover Reveal

You might have glimpsed this elsewhere, especially if you’re a Patronizer, but here’s the cover of DNSSEC Mastery, Second Edition.

The original is Baraldi’s “Romans Engaged in Learning,” as reimagined by Eddie Sharam. Of course, Unix history being what it is, this is clearly “Tux Engaged in Learning.” Beastie is doing the teaching, thank you very much.

The book is still open for sponsorship, but I hope to finish the first draft this month.

Auction Against Human Trafficking

My wife works with Soroptimist International of Grosse Pointe to support their anti-human-trafficking efforts. They usually hold a variety of fundraisers, including a 5K race in September.

2020 and 2021 have been less than optimal fundraising years. Running a 5K on your own is much less interesting than trying to outrace a whole bunch of folks.

This year SIGP is raising money for the Joseph Project, a non-for-profit organization who connect human trafficking survivors with skilled pro bono legal counsel. One of the worst parts of human trafficking is that people must break the law to survive, let alone escape. Survival usually means a criminal record. I’ve written about human trafficking before, and completely support the efforts to give these folks a new chance.

Meanwhile, here I am with a variety of stuff that’s explicitly designed to raise money in the most daft way possible, and a whole mass of readers who couldn’t be unemployed if they tried. To try to cover the gap, I’m auctioning off something that was never before available online, and never will be again.

The Bail Bond Denied edition of FreeBSD Mastery: Jails.

Only five copies of this edition exist. One is in my archives. One was auctioned off at BSDCan 2019, the other at Penguicon 2019. The fourth will be reserved for the next charity auction I attend in person.

The fifth is being auctioned off right here. The members of the Grosse Pointe Soroptimists Club are signing it to express their gratitude for your generosity. I’ll sign it myself, thereby destroying their added value.


This is your only opportunity to get this book without being present at an event I’m at. Yes, I’m opening this up to seven billion people.

The auction rules are simple:

Comment on this post to bid. I advise bidders to click the “notify me of new comments by email” button, so they can see when they’re outbid.

The auction runs from now until 5 PM EDT 25 September. Most of the bidding happens on the first and last days, but I want to leave time for the Internet’s slow publicity machine to catch on. If bidding is frenzied in those last moments, I’ll leave the auction running to squeeze the most cash out of you get the best result for the Soroptimists.

Once the auction closes, send your donation to SIGP Paypal, by following the link on grossepointesoroptimist.net and send me your receipt. I will mail you the book at my expense.

Note that you don’t need to win a silly book to donate. You can donate out of your own generosity. I promise they’ll appreciate it. If you need someone to blame to keep your hard-boiled reputation, tell them I made you do it.

“$ git sync murder” is out, so: how many books have I written?

The hardcovers are in stores now, so I think it’s official. $ git sync murder is out everywhere except my print bookstore. You can get it at all of the usual stores. I have the ebook in my store.

Every time I release a new book, or dare to show my face in public, folks ask me how many books I’ve written. My answer is, “define written and book.” That’s not as snarky an answer as you might think.

First, they’re asking the wrong question. I’ve written many books that were not published and that you will never read. Immortal Clay didn’t pick up a bunch of 4-star and 5-star reviews by being the first novel I ever wrote. It got those by being my fifteenth finished novel in a series of deliberate practice that continues to this day, and my first published novel. So, let’s change the question to “how many books have you published?”

Here’s the current output of the SNMP object where I keep my publications catalog. (Accessing this object is an easter egg in the Networknomicon or, if you’re still attached to your sanity, SNMP Mastery.)

SNMP table: TWP-MIB::mwlBooksTable

 titleIndex                                             title year      genre      length
          1                                       Gatecrasher 1992    fiction full-length
          2                               Believe it or Else! 1993    fiction full-length
          3                           Gatecrasher 2nd edition 1995    fiction full-length
          4                 Women who Run with the Werewolves 1995    fiction   anthology
          5                                      Absolute BSD 2002 nonfiction full-length
          6                                  Absolute OpenBSD 2003 nonfiction full-length
          7                   Cisco Routers for the Desperate 2004 nonfiction full-length
          8                                         PGP & GPG 2006 nonfiction full-length
          9                     Absolute FreeBSD, 2nd edition 2007 nonfiction full-length
         10      Cisco Routers for the Desperate, 2nd edition 2009 nonfiction full-length
         11                             Network Flow Analysis 2010 nonfiction full-length
         12                           Horror Library volume 2 2010    fiction   anthology
         13                                   Opening the Eye 2011    fiction       story
         14                               Breaking the Circle 2011    fiction       story
         15                                       SSH Mastery 2012 nonfiction full-length
         16           Vicious Redemption: Five Dark Fantasies 2012    fiction full-length
         17                                    DNSSEC Mastery 2013 nonfiction full-length
         18                                      Sudo Mastery 2013 nonfiction full-length
         19                          Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd ed 2013 nonfiction full-length
         20                       No More Lonesome Blue Rings 2013    fiction       story
         21                            Sticky Supersaturation 2013    fiction       story
         22                                          Lavender 2013    fiction       story
         23                                        Pax Canina 2013    fiction       story
         24                              Wednesday's Seagulls 2013    fiction       story
         25               FreeBSD Mastery: Storage Essentials 2014 nonfiction full-length
         26                                     Immortal Clay 2014    fiction full-length
         27                               Waking Up Yesterday 2014    fiction       story
         28                                   Calling Control 2014    fiction       story
         29                                Moonlight's Apples 2014    fiction       story
         30             Networking for Systems Administrators 2015 nonfiction full-length
         31                                   Tarsnap Mastery 2015 nonfiction full-length
         32                              FreeBSD Mastery: ZFS 2015 nonfiction full-length
         33                                     Forever Falls 2015    fiction     novella
         34              Spilled Mirovar (Prohibition Orcs 1) 2015    fiction       story
         35                                      Whisker Line 2015    fiction       story
         36                                    Wifi and Romex 2015    fiction       story
         37                                       PAM Mastery 2016 nonfiction full-length
         38                     FreeBSD Mastery: Advanced ZFS 2016 nonfiction full-length
         39                   FreeBSD Mastery: Advanced ZedFS 2016 nonfiction full-length
         40                   Kipuka Blues (Immortal Clay #2) 2016    fiction full-length
         41                                   Hydrogen Sleets 2016    fiction full-length
         42             Drowned Mirovar (Prohibition Orcs #2) 2016    fiction     novella
         43                  Butterfly Stomp Waltz (Beaks #1) 2016    fiction full-length
         44           Earthquake Kitten Kiss (Beaks spin-off) 2016    fiction     novella
         45                        Butterfly Stomp (Beaks #0) 2016    fiction full-length
         46             Forced to Talk, Like, With Your Mouth 2016    fiction       story
         47            FreeBSD Mastery: Specialty Filesystems 2016 nonfiction full-length
         48                                 git commit murder 2017    fiction full-length
         49                                savaged by systemd 2017    fiction       story
         50                          Httpd and Relayd Mastery 2017 nonfiction full-length
         51                                        Ed Mastery 2018 nonfiction     novella
         52               Ed Mastery, Manly McManface Edition 2018 nonfiction     novella
         53                          SSH Mastery, 2nd edition 2018 nonfiction full-length
         54                     Absolute FreeBSD, 3rd edition 2018 nonfiction full-length
         55                           Bedazzled by Blockchain 2018    fiction       story
         56                                         Face Less 2018    fiction       story
         57                Boundary Shock: Tuesday After Next 2018    fiction   anthology
         58 Boundary Shock: Robots, Androids, Cyborgs, Oh My! 2018    fiction   anthology
         59                         Sudo Mastery, 2nd edition 2019 nonfiction full-length
         60                            FreeBSD Mastery: Jails 2019 nonfiction full-length
         61                     Terrapin Sky Tango (Beaks #2) 2019    fiction full-length
         62                                 Winner Breaks All 2019    fiction       story
         63             Boundary Shock: Apocalypse Descending 2019    fiction   anthology
         64                      Fiction River: Superstitious 2019    fiction   anthology
         65                                 Snot-Nosed Aliens 2019    fiction   anthology
         66                        An Interpretation of Moles 2019    fiction   anthology
         67                                      SNMP Mastery 2020 nonfiction full-length
         68                      Boundary Shock: Alien Dreams 2020    fiction   anthology
         69                                The Networknomicon 2020 nonfiction full-length
         70                            Cash Flow for Creators 2020 nonfiction full-length
         71              Boundary Shock: What Might Have Been 2020    fiction   anthology
         72                                  Face The Strange 2020    fiction   anthology
         73                                  Bloody Christmas 2020    fiction   anthology
         74                              Drinking Heavy Water 2020    fiction full-length
         75                                        Final Gift 2020    fiction       story
         76                                    Woolen Torment 2020    fiction       story
         77                   Drums with Delusions of Godhood 2020    fiction       story
         78                    Uncollected Anthology: Deities 2020    fiction   anthology
         79                                    Woolen Torment 2021    fiction       story
         80               Aidan Redding Against the Universes 2021    fiction full-length
         81                            Fiction River: Chances 2021    fiction   anthology
         82           Fiction River: Dark and Deadly Passions 2021    fiction   anthology
         83                                       TLS Mastery 2021 nonfiction full-length
         84                                    Only Footnotes 2021 nonfiction     novella
         85                                   git sync murder 2021    fiction full-length
         86                        The Holiday Spectacular #2 2021    fiction   anthology

That’s 86 things with my name on the cover, excluding articles in periodicals and web sites. (I don’t have the energy to go through all that stuff.) So, I’ve published 86 books.

Except some of these are stories in anthologies. Anthologies are written by multiple authors. They’re only partially “by me.” Excluding those, the catalog has 70 entries. I have published 70 books.

Except some of those are basically chapbooks: single stories, put out on their own in print. I have many more stories than these, by the way, but they’re electronic-only. I ran out of energy before I collected all that information.

47 things with my name on them that are classified as either “full-length” or “novella.” This categorization is incorrect, however. The word “novella” means “a short novel.” The definition on “novel” has bloated over the last one hundred fifty years, driven by manufacturing concerns. Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, is about 43,000 words. Publishers would laugh at Doyle today and tell him to try a chapbook publisher based on the length alone. In the 1920s, a 20,000-word tale was considered a novel and might be published as such. I have a great big stack of Rex Stout mystery novels, and many of them contain fewer than 40,000 words.

Let’s take a nonfiction “novella.” Ed Mastery. It is a short book, but it’s unquestionably “a book.”

Alternately, consider Drowned Mirovar the second Prohibition Orcs tale. It’s over 30,000 words. In the era it was set, it would be a full novel that would appear first in a magazine, then as a standalone book. Today, it’s a prologue. As it’s packaged, it’s “a book.” It would look just fine on the shelf next to any of my 1950s novels.

Then there are collections. Vicious Redepmtion is a collection of my short stories. Aidan Redding Against the Universes collects short stories and novels. They’re listed here as “full-length,” which they certainly are. Should I could those as books?

Surely there’s a culturally-accepted standard or industry standard on how to count the number of books you’ve written?

Er… no.

Isaac Asimov established a standard that “if I appear in it, it counts.” He counted anthologies. He counted chapbooks. By that standard, I’ve published 86 books. I am uncomfortable with this definition.

I know authors who won’t count anything shorter than 60,000 words. By that standard, I’ve published 22 books. It excludes all of the Mastery titles except SNMP Mastery. That’s clearly not right for me, either.

For me, the original question is about milestones. It’s about accomplishments. I want to be able to say “I made this thing” and stand by it.

My preferred definition is, if I whack you with it, will it leave a mark? Bystanders would object, however. And I have created some titles that, while they’d leave a mark, I don’t consider them independent books. An example would be the Bail Bond Denied edition of FreeBSD Mastery: Jails. It is literally the exact same text as the regular FreeBSD Mastery: Jails, but with a cover drawn in crayon by yours truly. It is a thing. It gets offered up for charity auctions. I have a small amount of pride in it. It’s not really a discrete book.

So I’m trying this definition.

a) 15,000 words or longer
b) requiring distinct and discrete effort to create
c) something I’m not embarrassed to call “a book.”

This definition lets me exclude titles like the ZedFS version of FreeBSD Mastery: Advanced ZFS, the Beck and Provost editions of Terrapin Sky Tango, and the Manly McManface version of Ed Mastery. Only Footnotes might have brand new footnotes in it, but it wasn’t hard to make. It’s excluded. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of these, but only because they polish my reputation as the good sort of troll. I knocked them all off in a morning. (They’re still in the pic of me with one copy of every edition of everything I’ve written, because that picture is only for fun.)

It lets me include works like Ed Mastery and Cash Flow for Creators. I spent three weeks writing the cash flow book, and thirty years learning how to write the cash flow book. It include volumes like the Networknomicon, because producing that required a whole bunch of work. It was a different sort of labor for me, but that unspeakable tome fine educational work is clearly a discrete, unique book.

I’m also counting collections. Again, the “how many books have you published” question is about milestones. Writing enough of A Thing to create a collection is a milestone. Aidan Redding Against the Universes is the closest thing to a Brandon Sanderson doorstop I’ve produced on the fiction side. (Also, that hardcover has two different covers, one on the dust jacket and one on the laminate, and they’re both lovely.)

Applying this definition leaves me with these titles.

          1                                       Gatecrasher 1992    fiction full-length
          2                               Believe it or Else! 1993    fiction full-length
          3                           Gatecrasher 2nd edition 1995    fiction full-length
          5                                      Absolute BSD 2002 nonfiction full-length
          6                                  Absolute OpenBSD 2003 nonfiction full-length
          7                   Cisco Routers for the Desperate 2004 nonfiction full-length
          8                                         PGP & GPG 2006 nonfiction full-length
          9                     Absolute FreeBSD, 2nd edition 2007 nonfiction full-length
         10      Cisco Routers for the Desperate, 2nd edition 2009 nonfiction full-length
         11                             Network Flow Analysis 2010 nonfiction full-length
         15                                       SSH Mastery 2012 nonfiction full-length
         16           Vicious Redemption: Five Dark Fantasies 2012    fiction full-length
         17                                    DNSSEC Mastery 2013 nonfiction full-length
         18                                      Sudo Mastery 2013 nonfiction full-length
         19                          Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd ed 2013 nonfiction full-length
         25               FreeBSD Mastery: Storage Essentials 2014 nonfiction full-length
         26                                     Immortal Clay 2014    fiction full-length
         30             Networking for Systems Administrators 2015 nonfiction full-length
         31                                   Tarsnap Mastery 2015 nonfiction full-length
         32                              FreeBSD Mastery: ZFS 2015 nonfiction full-length
         33                                     Forever Falls 2015    fiction     novella
         37                                       PAM Mastery 2016 nonfiction full-length
         38                     FreeBSD Mastery: Advanced ZFS 2016 nonfiction full-length
         40                   Kipuka Blues (Immortal Clay #2) 2016    fiction full-length
         41                                   Hydrogen Sleets 2016    fiction full-length
         42             Drowned Mirovar (Prohibition Orcs #2) 2016    fiction     novella
         43                  Butterfly Stomp Waltz (Beaks #1) 2016    fiction full-length
         44           Earthquake Kitten Kiss (Beaks spin-off) 2016    fiction     novella
         47            FreeBSD Mastery: Specialty Filesystems 2016 nonfiction full-length
         48                                 git commit murder 2017    fiction full-length
         50                          Httpd and Relayd Mastery 2017 nonfiction full-length
         51                                        Ed Mastery 2018 nonfiction     novella
         52               Ed Mastery, Manly McManface Edition 2018 nonfiction     novella
         53                          SSH Mastery, 2nd edition 2018 nonfiction full-length
         54                     Absolute FreeBSD, 3rd edition 2018 nonfiction full-length
         59                         Sudo Mastery, 2nd edition 2019 nonfiction full-length
         60                            FreeBSD Mastery: Jails 2019 nonfiction full-length
         61                     Terrapin Sky Tango (Beaks #2) 2019    fiction full-length
         67                                      SNMP Mastery 2020 nonfiction full-length
         69                                The Networknomicon 2020 nonfiction full-length
         70                            Cash Flow for Creators 2020 nonfiction full-length
         74                              Drinking Heavy Water 2020    fiction full-length
         80               Aidan Redding Against the Universes 2021    fiction full-length
         83                                       TLS Mastery 2021 nonfiction full-length
         85                                   git sync murder 2021    fiction full-length

This makes $ git sync murder my 45th book.

Could this definition be gamed? Sure it could. But I don’t care enough to game it. I stopped counting my releases somewhere around 17 or 18 books. I counted titles on my brag shelf at one point a few years ago, using my gut as a definition, and got a number like 31 or 33 or something like that. I haven’t cared enough to count until today, when I’m putting off doing real work. Now that I’ve counted, I suspect I’ll maintain a silent count until I break 50 and then lose count again. 50 is a milestone, after all.

If you want to argue about my definitions, please find someone else to argue with.

“git sync murder” sponsor & Patronizer gifts now shipping

I woke up this morning planning to plunge into the text of the new edition DNSSEC Mastery. Before I made it to my writing desk, however, UPS dropped a heap of paper on my doorstep. The “$ git sync murder” sponsor and Patronizer gifts.

So I spent today transforming a bunch of this:

into a heap of this:

Sponsors and Patronizers are also receiving an extra gift this time around. (Remember, these are gifts. I make no promise what my backers will receive, only that they will receive something.) This gift involves four thousand degree flames, rods of raw glass stock, and several small explosions. It also involves cow, although fake cow, because both cows and BBQ fans object to four thousand degree flames.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting on the official release of $ git sync murder and answer the question “how many books have you written?” Hint: it’s a meaningless question, you’ll have to be more specific…