An Apology, an Explanation, and a Plan

December 2, 2013

You may have noticed, and possibly found yourself quite frustrated by, the fact that I have not updated “The Yii Book” in quite some time. Once again (once again!) my sincerest apologies for the delay. I have not been as productive on “The Yii Book”, or as communicative, as of late as I would have liked, or as you certainly deserve. Though a lack of updates or information conveys nothing to you, “The Yii Book” has been constantly at the forefront of my mind, and no one wants it to be done more than I. I know that progress has been somewhere between slow and terrible, and while there are reasons, I don’t want to make excuses. Basically it’s been a ton of work, and life is complicated. I can see how it could seem from the outside that I’m not prioritizing “The Yii Book”, but it’s on my mind constantly, I’m well aware of how poorly I’ve done (in terms of the schedule), and I really am making decisions towards the goal of finishing it. On that note…

Some of you may also have noticed that I’ve just completed a different book: the second edition of my “Effortless E-commerce with PHP and MySQL”. What happened there? Well, first, I was contractually obligated to write that book, and write it by a very hard deadline. “Very hard” in the sense that if I didn’t complete it in time, the publisher could take the book away from me and have someone else write it. Second, revisions of books are infinitely easier to write than first editions, no matter the subject, so it was not a comparable amount of either time or work. And with a traditional publisher, there are other people doing work that I have to do all of when self-publishing. Third, and most importantly, when I originally set the deadline on the e-commerce book, I never imagined that “The Yii Book” would not be done by that point. Never. But clearly I’ve been atrocious at judging the amount of time and work “The Yii Book” requires all along. But the primary reason there have been no updates on “The Yii Book” as of late was due to this other book (and because life is complicated). So where does that leave “The Yii Book” today? I’ve got a multistep process to right this wrong and complete this book…

First, I’m going to extend the free updates phase on “The Yii Book” to two years from the time the 1.0 release is complete. If the first complete edition is done in X of 2014, then you’ll get free updates until X of 2016. That will include updates for Yii 2 (which, like “The Yii Book”, is taking longer than some would like) and anything else significant that comes along in that period. If Yii 3 comes out by X of 2016, I’ll update the book for Yii 3 for free (which, that won’t happen, but…).

Second, I’ve got a plan in place to get back to regular monthly updates, starting in December. There’s not that much left of the whole book, and really only maybe 4 chapters of what’s new material (as opposed to the chapters of examples). I was able to get a decent amount of writing done over the holidays, and while driving (well, while my wife was driving), so am “back on the horse” there and will return to monthly updates until the book is finished. I don’t want to estimate when that will be, as I’m quite clearly horrible at that, but it will be ASAP.

When I accepted the position at Stripe, I accepted it on a part-time basis so that I can continue to be a good husband and father and continue to support readers of my books. That includes both existing, traditionally-published books, and self-published books. Thus, I’ve already taken on fewer hours at Stripe to make time to write and help readers. If need be, I’ll take additional days off at Stripe in order to get regular updates out. I’m going to do what I have to to complete this book ASAP.

Third, since my having to complete the second edition of “Effortless E-commerce with PHP and MySQL” has impacted the schedule of “The Yii Book”, there’s a little something I can do there. I get 20 free copies of a traditionally-published book, which I normally give out in my newsletter or on social media. This time, I’ll set aside those 20 copies for owners of “The Yii Book”. I’ll cover shipping, too. I’ll set this up after I get an update out, but I imagine the process will work like this:

  • I’ll provide a way/place for you to indicate your interest in the e-commerce book.
  • At a certain point in time, I’ll randomly draw names from that pool.
  • The drawing will be weighted so that more copies are given to people that purchased “The Yii Book” earlier (i.e., those that have been waiting longest).

That’s my thinking there. As I said, I’ll create a system for this once I get the next update of “The Yii Book” out.

Once again, my apologies to you for the too-long delay, as of late and in general. This is not how I would have hoped progress on “The Yii Book” would have gone (although I think the book itself is good). And betraying your trust and good faith is absolutely the last thing I would want to do.

My thanks, as always, for your interest in “The Yii Book”, for your patience, and for just generally joining me on this little self-publishing experiment, that has turned into a saga.