On July 12th last year, I received an email out of the blue with the subject “Packt: Authoring a book on GitLab”. They were asking if I’d like to write a book on the GitLab platform, my favourite one stop shop for project version control, management, and DevOps. I’d written a few blog posts mentioning GitLab before and have always espoused it’s value to friends and on social mediums. Apparently my writings paid off, because they were discovered by this acquisition editor at Packt Publishing who was looking for a budding writer to put some words on a page about my favourite version control platform.
So after some back and forth, I realised this was not a spam or con and legitimate and it was above board and they actually wanted me to write for them! Me! So I worked out a contract with them and started writing. Thankfully they were incredibly helpful with helping me plan the book, they had their own (confidential) planner for books like mine where they take you through some exercises to help work out the audience, the main topics, the chapters, and a rough guide to the content before you start working. All in all it was really helpful and I had great support in getting up and writing.
The process itself took about 5 months, including 3 weeks vacation (Spain, Morocco, and Portugal, woohooo!) and some editing on the end. I broke the book down into 7 chapters in the end:
- Introducing GitLab
- Setting Up GitLab
- GitLab Flow
- Issues to Merge Requests
- Continuous Integration And Continuous Deployment
- Porting from GitHub or Subversion (SVN)
- Advanced And Paid Features
These went through a variety of topics with the aim that readers could start with not much technical knowledge at all and come out able to do everything from use a version control system to manage their work, to setting up their own GitLab instance, and even get a continuous integration/continuous deployment system running.
At the end of the process came the moment that I thought was impossible: it was published. In late November/early December my book went up on the Packt store available for purchase. I was also paid during the process of writing and on publishing (with royalties as well) and now have three copies sitting on my dining room table.
Interested In Writing?
Packt was excellent to me, they made concessions for the fact I had a pre-planned vacation, they were always courteous and friendly and helpful in their contact. If you’re looking to become a tech writer, you can apply on their authors' website.