I read a while ago, that some authors don’t read their reviews. I am a bit more inquisitive, and can take criticism, so I do read reviews.
I have had some really positive feedback for both volumes, BGP has three and a half stars, MPLS is running at 5 stars (but there are less reviews).
Many people have come to me directly, saying that they have really enjoyed my books, and the majority of reviews also reflect this. However, there are a few people who have raised criticism with it. Justifiably so, as well.
Let’s backtrack a bit, so you can get a feel for the process and thought process behind the first volume.
Originally I had only planned to release it on Kindle – it’s an easy process, no overheads, and I can publish cheaply, because my costs are low – again this goes back to the whole issue of books being far too expensive. I am not out to get rich from writing, so I price my books at an affordable level.
It took about three months to write, and I lived and breathed it. I did read through it, and everything made sense. Here we probably have the crux of the issues. Everything made sense to me, but at this stage I didn’t really have anyone to read it over, who knew the subject matter. So, whilst everything made sense to me, I think that the complete immersion in it meant that I was not subjective about it, and quality control slipped.
Anyway, a guy at work said that releasing in print was easy, through Createspace, so I went ahead and did it. Taking the kindle version, and changing the layout.
I did not expect it to be so popular. Originally, I said to my wife, if a couple of people tell me they found it useful, then it will all be worth it. It’s sold really well. Far better than I had ever expected.
The process has become better and easier. Things changed with the MPLS volume. Instead of writing it in Pages, then moving to Word, I wrote directly in Word. Pictures were inserted, rather than dropped onto the page, and formatting was changed. I used OnmiGraffle to create the diagrams, instead of using screenshots from GNS3. Things were easier, and it looked “cleaner” and more polished.
The next volume, VPNs and NAT, followed the changed approach, and shares this “cleanness”. Code is indented, the pictures look better and sharper.
I read the reviews. Many of them were positive. Here are some of the positive ones:
Others were not:
I tried to connect with Micah on Linked it, but he wasn’t having any of it. I actually agreed with his review, yes I did have a typo for the private AS numbers, and no the book didn’t have any outside editing. It fell far short of the other volumes.
Lastly, we get to Ahmed’s feedback. Well, there are plenty of engineers who have been on the field for many many years, without gaining certification, and they are perfectly capable of doing their job, and teaching it to others. Certifications do not equal ability. They equal knowledge on a particular day.
Anyway, I am not bitching here (well… may be a bit….), but I have actually taken the feedback on-board.
I have republished my book BGP. I have gone right through it, the grammatical errors have gone, the diagrams have been re-done, the troubleshooting section has been re-done, so that the majority of it is just one topology. The formatting matches the other volumes. The print version is done and I will re-do the kindle version to match it. The beauty of Kindle is that I can get Amazon to update peoples copies.
Where does that leave people who bought the print version?
Here’s the issue, I now feel the need to make some kind of reparation to the people who bought the BGP book. It fell far short of what I now consider the be the level I publish my books at. I hope you understand that this is a learning curve for me, and that the process is continually evolving. To those that have enjoyed it, I thank you. To those who didn’t enjoy it, because of the issues highlighted above, I apologise.
I have been thinking how to make things better. I am a firm believer in the concept that if you do something wrong, then you should fix it. Whilst I can’t send a new copy to everyone, I can still do something for you, and that is to give you my time.
Here’s where you come in. If you bought the BGP book, and were less than happy with it, then let me know. Either send me a picture of you and the book (I like to know who my readers are, and I am building up nice relationships with some of them), or send me the receipt for the book. My email address is in the book.
In return, I will work on something just for you guys. I am not sure what, but in the comments section below let me know what you would like to read about. I can’t do an individual book per person, that would take years, but if the ideas are good, then those who get in contact with me will get it, and it’ll be a PDF, minimum of say 150-200 pages.
I hope this makes up for what was lacking with the BGP book.