PowerShell Scripting and Toolmaking – The Last Book You Will Ever Need

At long last it is finished! Don Jones and I have recently published the first iteration of  The PowerShell Scripting and Toolmaking Book. This project was first announced in January 2017 with an early release program.   The first edition was finished and in reader’s hands by the end of February 2017.  We appreciate all of your enthusiasm and support but I also realize there are some questions around this title so I thought I’d touch on them.

What about the Toolmaking Month of Lunches book?

This is perhaps the number one question. Don and I refreshed the Learn PowerShell in a Month of Lunches book published by Manning, primarily to reflect a few minor changes in PowerShell v5 and to at least recognize that PowerShell is moving into the open source world. In terms of learning PowerShell from the very beginning the essential fundamentals are unchanged which is I think of the book more of a refresh than revision.

We considered doing the same with the Toolmaking book. But there was no real technical requirement to do so. PowerShell had not changed enough that the book was obsolete. It is still very relevant. But there were things Don and I had long wanted to do with the subject that couldn’t fit into the Month of Lunches model. So we decided to venture off on our own.

Who or What is LeanPub?

You may wonder why we didn’t simply publish again with Manning? They are great people to work with and they offer one of the top line-ups when it comes to tech books you should have on your shelf. However, there is a tough challenge facing Manning, and other tech publishers: how to keep up with a rapidly changing world. Traditional book publishing is a long process so that you end up with a properly produced and edited book. When we went 3 years between software releases that worked just fine. But now, at least in our world, we get new releases on a much faster cadence.  it is not uncommon for a tech writer to finish a manuscript only to have a new version come out before the book can be published.

So if that world is agile, we need to be as well. Think of LeanPub as a “books as a service” platform.  Don and I could write the book, with the capable technical assistance of Michael Bender, and publish as we went along. Did someone find an error? Was there a formatting goof? We can fix it and publish a new edition. In fact, the version you can buy on LeanPub is considered our “Forever” edition. When you buy a copy you are buying into the future. At some point we may add new content or fix errors. We’ll republish and you get that new version.  LeanPub offers a variety of digital and ebook formats. I personally love the Send to Kindle feature. And interestingly the majority of readers are opting for the PDF format.

Oh, and all of the book’s sample code and exercises is published as a module (PowerShell-Toolmaking) to the PowerShell Gallery.

Can I get a hard copy?

The whole point of using LeanPub is to quickly publish new versions as necessary. But some of you like holding a real book. You can, but here’s the deal. First, you can order from Amazon. If you pay close attention you’ll see that right now this is labeled as a First Edition.  Hard cover editions will be essentially point-in-time snapshots of the “forever’ manuscript. At some point we may make enough changes or add enough new content that warrants a 2nd edition. If you own a hardcopy 1st edition and want the content from the new edition, you’ll need to purchase it.  That’s why the hardcover edition is offered at a lower price point. Owner’s of the LeanPub “Forever” edition don’t have to worry. Of course, feel free to buy both!

I’m Sold!

If you are interested in the Forever edition, head over to http://bit.ly/PSToolmaking and order a copy. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you’ll also see that this title is being offered as part of a bundle with other PowerShell books. A lot of people have been taking advantage of that offer.

Finally, we’d sincerely appreciate any kind words you can spread about the title. One drawback to not using a publisher like Manning is that we have no advertising or marketing budget. We rely 100% on word of mouth. So any blog posts, Amazon reviews and even a simple tweet would help.

If you have questions or comments about the book, using the feedback and discussion features on the book’s LeanPub page.

Thank you for support.

PowerShell Deep Dives Report

PowerShell Deep DivesSo I have the royalty statement for the PowerShell Deep Dives book for the second quarter of 2015. For those of you who own a copy, thank you. For those of you who aren’t aware, even though I have a royalty statement, that doesn’t mean I got paid. I have the statement because I was the primary editor for this project. If you didn’t know, this book is entirely a charitable affair. No author or editor receives any financial compensation for their efforts. All proceeds go to Save the Children.

For the second quarter of 2015 only 47 copies of this book were sold worldwide. Since the book’s publication in 2013 it has sold 2280 copies worldwide, both print and ebook. Royalties for the 2nd quarter of 2015 were $368.13.

While the book isn’t intended to teach your PowerShell from the beginning, it will show you how to use it, often in ways you won’t find anywhere else. I’ve often said that the content of this book is similar to presentations at the PowerShell Summit. For that reason alone I think everyone should have copy. Add in the charitable factor and I don’t see why there aren’t more copies out there. If you bought one of the PowerShell Month of Lunches books (thank you), you should also have a copy of PowerShell Deep Dives.

So what can we do to drive up interest? Perhaps buy a copy and donate it to a user group to offer as a give-away. Run a promotion on your blog or from Twitter. Have your boss buy a copy for the office. Post a review on Amazon. Or if you have an idea, feel free to share it in a comment. Otherwise, just do it!

Thank you.

Updating Month of Lunches

Don Jones and I are often asked about our Month of Lunches books and when we are going to update them. This question seems to pop up more frequently now that Windows 10 is released to the wild and more of you are seeing PowerShell 5.0 for the first time. The short answer is no updates are planned. Here’s why.

If you are just getting started with PowerShell, which is the target audience for the set of books, the fundamentals haven’t really changed since PowerShell 3.0. In fact some fundamentals are unchanged since v2. Yes, there are a few new features in v5, but they are not features essential to you learning PowerShell. In fact once you understand the essential features, learning those new features on your own isn’t that difficult.

I realize potential buyers might look at the book and consider it “out-dated” but it isn’t. We developed these books to have a long shelf-life precisely because PowerShell fundamentals don’t change based on a version number. Sure, this might change at some point but so far we haven’t seen anything new in PowerShell that warrants revising the books for a beginning user.

Don and I have heard from many of you on how much you enjoy the books and how learning PowerShell has changed your career for the better. That is very humbling and I truly appreciate your support and trust. We hope you’ll continue to recommend these books to your friend and colleagues.

Save the PowerShell Children

PowerShell Deep Dives I just received the royalty statement for Q4 2013 on the PowerShell Deep Dives book. While I appreciate every sale, I know the community can do better. In case you didn’t know, this book is a compilation of PowerShell nuggets you won’t find anywhere else. Chapters were contributed by MVPs, leaders in the PowerShell community as well as Microsoft specialists. Nobody received any financial compensation for this project. All proceeds go to Save the Children. For Q4 2013 they received a check for $1,848.

Net sales for Q4 were 257 copies. Since I’ve never returned a purchased book I have no idea why there are any returns. Since publication we’ve sold 1733 copies. I have to believe there are more than 1700 people in the PowerShell community who would enjoy this book. Perhaps they simply don’t know about it.

If you don’t have your own copy you can get it from Amazon or Manning. If you are after a digital copy, you will need to get those from Manning. And if you already own a copy, please consider leaving a review on Amazon and encourage your friends and colleagues to get their own copies. They will pick up some great PowerShell knowledge and make the world a better place.

PowerShell Deep Dive First Sales

PowerShell Deep Dives Last year I had the pleasure of editing PowerShell Deep Dives, published by Manning. This book is a community project with chapters contributed from MVPs and leading members of the PowerShell community. You won’t find this content anywhere else.

Anyway, I have the first royalty report from Q3 2013. Looks like we sold a little under 1500 copies. The important thing, in case you missed the original news about this project, is that all proceeds are given to charity. For this book, Save the Children received a check for $3,338.30. That’s nice but I know we can do better.

So if you’ve put off getting a copy, what are you waiting for? If you have a copy, thank you. Now spread the word and tell your colleagues to buy a copy. You can get the title in print or ebook formats. You can also buy the book from Amazon. In fact, if you’ve read the book a posted review would also help. The more reviews the attention the book can get which should lead to more sales and continued charitable contributions.

Thank you again to all of the authors and editors on this project and to those of you who have a copy on your shelf. I hope you found a few things that made it worth your investment. For the rest of you, well, you know what you need to do.