Categories
General

Writing and selling an ebook during COVID-19 lockdown

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Coming up with the idea

Two years ago, I decided I wanted to write my first ebook and sell it to the public. That ebook was all about writing your first ebook (very meta).

I started writing and got so far, then suddenly stopped. I’m not sure what happened, it could have been a decline in confidence or an overwhelming sensation of anxiety and depression, but I didn’t go back to the idea until this year during the lockdown.

Fits-and-starts

During the beginning of quarantine, I didn’t have any thought or motivation in writing a book. However, I did have a lot of inspiration for reading books, and this year is the most I’ve ever read.

It then got to a point where I felt motivated to work on personal projects again, and I started getting social on my Twitter, invited all my friends to my Facebook page, and, most importantly, began where I left off with my ebook.

I went from worrying about what people might think about my work, to not giving a flying f*ck what people might think.

It wasn’t exactly a straight and narrow road, some days, I would spend an hour or two writing and other days, it would be 5 or 10 minutes. I did whatever I could to muster up the motivation and courage to keep on writing. The most important thing that changed is my mindset. I went from worrying about what people might think about my work, to not giving a flying f*ck what people might think.

That change in mindset ultimately helped me get to the finish line and release my work to the public. Once it was complete, I uploaded a PDF version to PayHip and a docx version to Draft2Digital. So far, I have made four sales totaling £7.96, and my ebook is still being published to the Amazon marketplace. Once it hits the Amazon marketplace, I think I can make a couple more sales, but I won’t be taking much of an income from that, so I’ll try and persuade people to buy with PayHip instead.

Marketing my ebook

What did I do to market my book? Well, I’m glad you asked because I haven’t done anything special.

I went to Twitter, where I have ~3,000 followers. This is a handful, but nowhere near the amount of the greats. I started off writing a thread on how to make and sell an ebook, and then posted that thread to Hacker News for more exposure. Which I’m not sure even worked. I then waited until the evening and posted an update to that thread announcing the release of my book.

Also, posting to my Facebook business and personal pages but didn’t receive any sales from there. I had a few likes and comments, but nothing too exciting. The same also goes for LinkedIn; actually, many people have had quite a bit of luck with LinkedIn, but I’m yet to see any positives from there just yet.

Once I received my first sale, which I believe was sent from Twitter, I took a screenshot of the graph and posted it to Twitter underneath my sale announcement. This announcement prompted another sale from a close follower, which I was super happy about; she’s always been a very supportive Twitter follower and friend.

This all gave me even more confidence to post on Indie Hackers. Now, I’ve never been very active over there, and that’s definitely on me, but everyone there is super supportive. From now on, I will be far more active on IH and hope to build closer relationships over there. I say this because I had two more sales from posting updates to IH, and there have been so many great, supportive comments which make me want to push further.

Moral of the story

The moral of this story, you need to find your circle of online friends. Be supportive to those you are personally attracted to, and they will support you back. That support will then grow further to new people where the reach and positivity can grow. Nurture and love your followers, friends, and family, and you will reap the rewards.

Gain confidence early and gain confidence now, because the longer you wait, the worse your fears will grow. There are plenty of books to help with this, and I recommend “How to stop worrying and start living,” “Feel the Fear and do it anyway,” “The Chimp Paradox” and “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”

Categories
General

Favourite books of 2018

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Please be aware that the links in this article are affiliate links. If you click on them, I will gain some sort of commission. All money gained will help future blog posts.

I’m not sure about the number of books I read this year, but I read a good amount. They’re mainly self-help books and a few on marketing, so if you’re looking for something on web dev or graphic design, then I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

Helping your inner thoughts…

  1. The Chimp Paradox will help understand and manage your mind. When I struggled with job loss, my mind was all over the place. This book actually helped me understand what was going on, and how to act.
  2. Feel The Fear and do it Anyway is another great book. If you’re looking to really challenge yourself next year, then I 100% recommend this book. It makes you think what you’re really scared of and helps create these thoughts of “What’s the worst that could happen?”. What’s the worst that could happen if you don’t do this, and what’s the worst that could happen if you actually go through with it?
  3. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is another one if you’re constantly worrying and just want to live.

Biggest read of the year…

  1. Tools of Titans is a meaty book with many gold nuggets. It’s recommended you skim through this mammoth and pick up on the little things. You can then use it as a reference book for later in life. It’s a book that has is helpful every day.

This is just a small portion of what I have read this year, but I feel they are the most helpful. If you’re going through any kind of anxiety or depression then 1 and 2 were at least the biggest helpers for me, and I hope they can be for you. Hopefully next year, the list will be bigger.

What’re your favourite books this year?

Please let me know in the comments below, and I will try my best to read them.

Categories
Laravel

5 of the best Laravel books

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Laravel – Up and Running: A Framework for Building Modern PHP Apps Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Matt Stauffer

What sets Laravel apart from other PHP web frameworks?

Speed and simplicity, for starters. This rapid application development framework and its vast ecosystem of tools let you quickly build new sites and applications with clean, readable code. With this practical guide, Matt Stauffer-a leading teacher and developer in the Laravel community-provides the definitive introduction to one of today’s most popular web frameworks. The book’s high-level overview and concrete examples will help experienced PHP web developers get started with Laravel right away. By the time you reach the last page, you should feel comfortable writing an entire application in Laravel from scratch.

Dive into several features of this framework, including: Blade, Laravel’s powerful, custom templating tool Tools for gathering, validating, normalizing, and filtering user-provided data Laravel’s Eloquent ORM for working with the application’s databases The Illuminate request object, and its role in the application lifecycle PHPUnit, Mockery, and PHPSpec for testing your PHP code Laravel’s tools for writing JSON and RESTful APIs Interfaces for file system access, sessions, cookies, caches, and search Tools for implementing queues, jobs, events, and WebSocket event publishing Laravel’s specialty packages: Scout, Passport, Cashier, Echo, Elixir, Valet, and Socialite

Laravel 5.1 Beauty: Creating Beautiful Web Apps in Laravel 5.1 Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Chuck Heintzelman

Leverage the power of Laravel 5.1 to create a simple, clean and beautiful blogging application and the administration area required to maintain the blog. This book goes through the process of designing, creating, and coding a real-world application using Laravel. You’ll learn about: * Installing Laravel 5.1 * Using Homestead * Using Elixir * Database Migrations and Seeding * Form Requests * Views (Blade templates) * Authentication * And much, much more!

Build APIs You Won’t Hate: Everyone and their dog wants an API, so you should probably learn how to build them Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Phil Sturgeon (Author), Laura Bohill (Designer)

API development is becoming increasingly common for server-side developers thanks to the rise of front-end JavaScript frameworks, iPhone applications, and API-centric architectures. It might seem like grabbing stuff from a data source and shoving it out as JSON would be easy, but surviving changes in business logic, database schema updates, new features, or deprecated endpoints can be a nightmare.

After finding many of the existing resources for API development to be lacking, Phil learned a lot of things the hard way through years of trial and error. This book aims to condense that experience, taking examples and explanations further than the trivial apples and pears nonsense tutorials often provide.

By passing on some best practices and general good advice you can hit the ground running with API development, combined with some horror stories and how they were overcome/avoided/averted. This book will discuss the theory of designing and building APIs in any language or framework, with this theory applied in PHP-based examples.

Learning Laravel’s Eloquent Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Francesco Malatesta

Learning Laravel’s Eloquent starts off by taking you through setting up your first project and guiding you in creating a perfect Laravel environment. You will learn how to build the right database structure with the Migrations system and the Schema Builder class. Next, you will be introduced to the main element of Eloquent: the model. After treating the model as a single, isolated entity, you will learn how to create relations between them. You will be taken through organizing, filtering, and sorting your data with collections. You will then learn to enhance an application with new features using events and by creating new observers. Towards the end of the book, you will discover how to install, configure, and use the Eloquent ORM without Laravel. The book concludes by walking you through how to deal with complex problems and build advanced and flexible systems.

Design Patterns in PHP and Laravel Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Kelt Dockins

Learn each of the original gang of four design patterns, and how they are relevant to modern PHP and Laravel development. Written by a working developer who uses these patterns every day, you will easily be able to implement each pattern into your workflow and improve your development. Each pattern is covered with full examples of how it can be used.

Too often design patterns are explained using tricky concepts, when in fact they are easy to use and can enrich your everyday development. Design Patterns in PHP and Laravel aims to break down tricky concepts into humorous and easy-to-recall details, so that you can begin using design patterns easily in your everyday work with PHP and Laravel.

This book teaches you design patterns in PHP and Laravel using real-world examples and plenty of humor.

Categories
Laravel PHP Programming

5 of the best programming books

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Working Effectively with Legacy Code Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Michael C. Feathers

The average book on Agile software development describes a fairyland of greenfield projects, with wall-to-wall tests that run after every few edits, and clean & simple source code.

The average software project, in our industry, was written under some aspect of code-and-fix, and without automated unit tests. And we can’t just throw this code away; it represents a significant effort debugging and maintaining. It contains many latent requirements decisions. Just as Agile processes are incremental, Agile adoption must be incremental too. No more throwing away code just because it looked at us funny.

Mike begins his book with a very diplomatic definition of “Legacy”. I’l skip ahead to the undiplomatic version: Legacy code is code without unit tests.

Before cleaning that code up, and before adding new features and removing bugs, such code must be de-legacified. It needs unit tests.

To add unit tests, you must change the code. To change the code, you need unit tests to show how safe your change was.

The core of the book is a cookbook of recipes to conduct various careful attacks. Each presents a particular problem, and a relatively safe way to migrate the code towards tests.

Code undergoing this migration will begin to experience the benefits of unit tests, and these benefits will incrementally make new tests easier to write. These efforts will make aspects of a legacy codebase easy to change.

It’s an unfortunate commentary on the state of our programming industry how much we need this book.

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk


Clean Code Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Robert C. Martin

An extremely pragmatic method for writing better code from the start, and ultimately producing more robust applications.

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk


Refactoring – Improving the Design of Existing Code Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Martin Fowler, Kent Beck

Users can dramatically improve the design, performance, and manageability of object-oriented code without altering its interfaces or behavior. “Refactoring” shows users exactly how to spot the best opportunities for refactoring and exactly how to do it, step by step.

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk


Design Patterns Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Ralph Johnson, Erich Gamma, John Vlissides, Richard Helm

Capturing a wealth of experience about the design of object-oriented software, four top-notch designers present a catalog of simple and succinct solutions to commonly occurring design problems. Previously undocumented, these 23 patterns allow designers to create more flexible, elegant, and ultimately reusable designs without having to rediscover the design solutions themselves. The authors begin by describing what patterns are and how they can help you design object-oriented software. They then go on to systematically name, explain, evaluate, and catalog recurring designs in object-oriented systems. With Design Patterns as your guide, you will learn how these important patterns fit into the software development process, and how you can leverage them to solve your own design problems most efficiently. Each pattern describes the circumstances in which it is applicable, when it can be applied in view of other design constraints, and the consequences and trade-offs of using the pattern within a larger design. All patterns are compiled from real systems and are based on real-world examples. Each pattern also includes code that demonstrates how it may be implemented in object-oriented programming languages like C++ or Smalltalk. 0201633612B07092001

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk


Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Martin Fowler

This volume is a handbook for enterprise system developers, guiding them through the intricacies and lessons learned in enterprise application development. It provides proven solutions to the everyday problems facing information systems developers.

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

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