SP2013 book

Posted on 7/18/2012 @ 8:44 AM in #SharePoint by | Feedback | 2192 views

I want to share a sad reality about “tech books” in today’s world. Many of you may have heard or experienced much of this, but to some it may be a surprise.

Tech books are written with one aim – it needs to be a profitable venture for the publisher. I don’t blame the publisher for this, most books are not profit making ventures, and they are not in it to learn SharePoint, they are in it to pay their bills. Tech books are therefore written with a furious pace with one aim in mind – “time to market”.

That is not such a bad goal honestly, because you want to put the information in people’s hands when they need it, not 2 years later. So time to market, is good for the publisher, it is good for the reader.

Of course, the guy who gets screwed on this is the author. Why? Because the author has to figure out all this stuff to write, and do so at a furious pace.
Not only do so at a furious pace, but also once the book is written – it’s more or less frozen.
Every spelling mistake, every grammatical mistake, is frozen forever. Worse, every technical error is frozen forever.

Also the book publishing process usually means the manuscript goes through many hands. Many of them editing the text, to make it sound better – but not familiar with SharePoint. They, therefore inadvertently introduce errors. And then there is the project manager, who keeps breathing fire down your neck to keep the schedule on track. Hint: Not all PMs contribute positive value.

I’m not even going to bother with grammatical mistakes. People who complain about those in tech books have never authored a book, not recently at least. But technical errors is another deal.

Still it is impossible to avoid technical errors because,

  • You are authoring the book at a furious pace.
  • Books pay very little, you might say they are worth the marketing, but there are 250+ SharePoint books out there – you wouldn’t know an author unless they told you they are one. Given how little they pay, it is sometimes difficult to justify the time spent on them. Here is a shocker, in terms of hours spent – they easily pay less than minimum wage.
  • You are writing at a furious pace, when the product is still in Beta. Especially SharePoint, this product changes even after it RTMs. How can you make it 100% accurate when even the “experts” are figuring stuff out 4 years later.
  • The book goes through too many hands, it is impractical for the author to review every word, every single change.
  • And then the book gets pirated before the author gets to hold one in his hands. I remember Todd Bleeker emailed me about a PDF of my SP2010 book book on a Chinese website 2 days after I sent the final chapter. My reply was, I did it for the community, so its cool if they pirate it. Frankly, I cannot prevent it. Yes it sucks.
  • Many other reasons.

Given all this, I have decided, not to author a conventional book this time around. I have authored 10 books, hit double digits – been there done that. (or lets say I’m slow to learn).

But am I not going to author an SP2013 book? HAHA! Hell no! I’ve been working on one for a while now :).
It’ll just be done a bit differently this time, and you (yes you!) are a big part of it.
Also, I had a chat with my publisher (Apress) on this – and they are on-board with my idea. It is a “everyone wins” proposition.

More details on this very soon (as early as beginning next week). Until then, Happy SharePointing.

Sound off but keep it civil:

Older comments..

On 7/18/2012 9:00:09 AM Harish Mathanan said ..
Hi Sahil,

You got me all curious now..... :)

On 7/18/2012 9:04:14 AM Todd Bleeker said ..
Exactly! <Todd />

On 7/18/2012 9:07:19 AM Arnulfo said ..
eBooks are so much nicer. Faster pace and higher rewards. Looking fwd to your kindle version... ;)

On 7/18/2012 9:14:37 AM SB Chatterjee said ..
good post Sahil.. best for the new one..

On 7/18/2012 11:32:34 AM Rene said ..
Now you got me very curious as well! Looking forward to hearing more about it soon

On 7/18/2012 3:12:07 PM Erik Swenson said ..
I feel exactly the same... After I published my book I felt all alone and did not get any marketing help to promote my book. I didn't write my book for money as like you said for the time that you put into it with all of the revision cycles you are being paid very little for your efforts... I am interested in your "Everyone Wins" idea...

On 7/18/2012 6:57:36 PM Natesan said ..
Sahil, is this the big surprise you were hiding for past 2 weeks ? :D

Agreed! authoring is time consuming, laborious and less paying(as you said). Kudos to you,to do that for the community! Cheers :)

On 7/19/2012 1:41:55 AM Sahil Malik said ..

The big surprise is not this. The big surprise is, I will be Wintellect's SharePoint Instructor. Of course I'll be delivering training and consulting all across the world otherwise too. Until Wintellect updates their website, I'm only leaving this here as a comment, lets see how many people notice it .. heheh :-)


On 7/19/2012 9:44:46 PM Jack said ..
Sahil -

This is sad, but also the right choice. Earlier today (before reading this post) I said to myself I wasn't going to buy a single (paper) book on SP 2013.

It is sad for me, because I grew up with computers in the pre-internet era and books were how I learned everything. But that era's been replaced with Google, and up to the minute vendor websites complete with articles, code samples, even videos. Books can't compete.

I look forward to what you come up with - I presume it's an epub book of some type.

(As a side note, I never bought apress books because apress' font's and typesetting are horrible. An epub helps widen the audience because it puts control of the font face and font size into the hands of the user.)

My vote is that you leave your publisher and do it yourself - there is no reason to have a publisher anymore. In the old days a publisher would get you distribution, and would front money for the frist printing - Today, you can get all the distribution you need from 2 places: Amazon and the iBook store. You don't need a publisher to sell in either of those. Big Publishing is dead, Books are dead - I look forward to reading your ePub!

On 7/23/2012 5:58:41 AM Prabath Fonseka said ..
Hi Sahil,

This post is more like a fairy tale. But finally, at the end they lived happily ever after. :)

I read couple of ur SP 2010 books.

Thanks a lot for the contribution. And wish you all the very best with the new 2013 book. Waiting eagerly to get my hands on it.

On 7/26/2012 1:43:09 AM Sunjay Singh said ..
hi Sahil looking forward to the surprise. i am glad it is not a paper book. what i really would like is instead of releasing one big book, cant we have byte size books. kind of a deep dive into chapters, coming at regular intervals. we can pay for the whole book or just pay for what you consume, that ways both win. and also any addendum can be automatically updated.

this kind of summarizes what you are saying.. http://indiereader.com/2012/06/how-amazon-saved-my-life/ good read



On 8/16/2012 10:09:10 AM Yogesh Jagal said ..
Hey Sahil,

This has got us all excited now. Looking forward to see the first version very soon. All the very best.



On 12/5/2012 9:57:26 AM Frank Westmoreland said ..
That's odd right after you posted that comment no one appear to read what you had just posted saying that you quote "The big surprise is, I will be Wintellect's SharePoint Instructor."

On 12/6/2012 8:48:53 AM Sahil Malik said ..
hehe :) Frank .. the issue is, to know that people would have to come to this site, look up that URL again .. read the comment .. who has time for that! So, frankly, my site needs work to establish more of a community feel.