33 Things I Wish Somebody Would Have Told Me

I’ve migrated the website 33thingsbook.com to this blog post.

A programmer’s guide to quality code, great work relationships and respect.

What’s This All About?

tldr; It’s a free advice eBook - because I want you to do better than I have done. Download the pdf or ePub.

What’s the Story Here?

After writing my first book on PHP Design Patterns, I was fine. Life goal accomplished. And then it happened - a Google Alert that mentioned my name and had a link to an author website.

This is embarrassing…

This is the truth.

The alert said “Aaron Saray, One-Time Author.”

I felt like it was a punch to the stomach. Maybe it was ego. It was definitely ego. But, I thought it sounded like I had tried and failed. “He was only able to write ONE book - pfft!” So, I decided I wanted to write another one.

Why This Topic?

My agent had a lot of opportunities for me. Introduction to programming books, technical editing, essays about project management. But none of them really felt like I would be doing something DIFFERENT than anyone else. Anyone can teach you how to program. I always thought I had a different take on the world. And, I’ve heard a lot of times that I frame things in a very understandable way - “for a programmer.”

So, I decided to do some self-reflection about my career. I made a presentation called 7 Things I Wish Somebody Would Have Told Me and started touring local and regional conferences. The information was well received - and even used as a keynote. I knew I had something. So, I wrote 33 Things.

So, Why Is This Free?

My agent didn’t think that she could sell the book - but she tried anyway. It didn’t work.

I looked for a new agent. No one would take me. I heard a lot of excuses (too busy, etc), and started talking directly with the publishers. I finally ran across one that gave me some good, solid feedback.

We don’t know how to market this book. And, you’re not famous, and this reads too much like a memoir.

I’ll give them that - I do use a lot of stories in my writing. So, I can see where you might think that. But, to think that only famous people have things worth teaching really perturbed me.

Finally, I went and talked with a friend who worked for a small publisher. They offered to publish the book with a favorable royalty split.

But that never happened. 13 months later I exercised my right to terminate the publisher rights contract.

See, I had written it, edited it, and actually peer-reviewed and copy-edited it with some professionals I know. It was ready to go. But 13 months later, I kept hearing the same story “Next month…”

You Didn’t Answer the Question!

I could have self-published the book I suppose. I could make some money that way. But, it occurred to me that people who I think would most benefit from this type of work - my advice - may not be able to afford to purchase the book.

So, in the spirit of my Open Source roots, here is a free, open-sourced book. I’ve spent literally YEARS on this. I’m proud - but my motivation is still simple and pure:

Please read the 33 Things I Wish Somebody Would Have Told Me - and learn, grow, and become a great programmer!

Download the pdf or ePub.

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