Oh man… So before I get to the good news (another update to “The Yii Book”), I should answer the million-dollar question of “Why in the #$&*$%&(&% is it taking so long to finish this book?!?!”
I’ll start by saying that, in general, self-publishing is a ton of work, as I have to do everything myself. Which seems obvious and yet… Second, the switch from Yii 1 to Yii 2 is more significant than most upgrades I’ve dealt with (e.g., from PHP 4 to PHP 5). What it comes down to is a relatively simple chapter to update, like Chapter 16, takes at least 3 full work days to do. So updating the entire book–24 chapters–is at least a full 100 days of work. And I don’t have many free full work days in my life.
For context, when I started on “The Yii Book”, I was only working for myself, as a consultant and a writer. At that time, so long ago, I could spend many full days or even weeks on the book, which I did to get the first half of the book or so done. Shortly after I started publishing this book, I went to work for a company, which was the necessary decision for me and my family. (For starters, my family has really high medical bills, and we need the health insurance.) For the past four years, I’ve been working one job and trying to work on “The Yii Book” as I can, while also not forsaking my wife and kids.
I’m not trying to make excuses–it’s taken offensively too long to complete the first and second editions of this book–I’m just trying to explain that it takes a lot of time, and I don’t have much time. It may not seem like it, but “The Yii Book” has been consistently on my mind. My wife asks what my plans are for the weekend, and I repeatedly say “I need to work on ‘The Yii Book’.” To try to save time, I’ve stopped posting to Twitter, creating new blog posts, or sending out newsletters. To save time and, to be frank, because I’m embarrassed and frustrated by how long this work has taken me. (Although mostly I’m really burned out, so I’m not sure when I’ll take up those mantels again after this is done.)
So, in a normal year, it’s hard to make progress, but the past year has been especially trying, personally and professionally. We had a family loss, and another suddenly hospitalized. For these and other reasons, my wife and I have been traveling monthly. When I travel, little progress gets made (although I’ve spent quite a lot of time in airports and on airplanes working on the book). When my wife travels, little progress gets made as I’m taking care of the kids.
Again, I’m not trying to make excuses, just trying to convey that I’m overwhelmed, not negligent, let alone indifferent. When I try to console myself, I consider that this work constitutes two editions of a 600+ book, the quality of which is good. But that’s not a great consolation compared to the amount of time it’s taken. The best I can offer are my sincerest apologies and assurances that I’m giving what time and energy I can to completing this as quickly as I can.
Okay, so self-publishing is really hard and the past year has been terrible, where do things stand? I’m a bit more back on top of things and have been able to re-dedicate myself to the cause lately. I switched computers since the last update, so there were software changes, and rebuilding databases and sites and configuring and…but I was able to just push another update. I was targeting a four-chapter update, but I’m leaving town shortly and thought it vital to get this published before I go, so it’s just two right now (the translations in the internationalization chapter were a huge time suck). But here’s an update and know I’ve already started on the next chapter and I’ve mostly got my feet back under me again.