Announcing my new Lisp book
I’ve been playing around with the possibility of writing another leanpub book for some time now. I’ve had more ideas than I can count, but never any actual hope of starting, let alone finishing such a project. I’ve spend most of 2015 coming up with cool project ideas, only to abandon them a few hours later when a better idea came up. I’ve had so many days with an idea/day ratio above 1 that I got a bit discouraged at one point. I decided to go for a book when for whatever reason my mind managed to quiet down for a bit, maybe my meditation practice finally started to work? Or switching to vaping and black tea as a source of nicotine and caffeine maybe made me a bit less jittery, I don’t know. I came up with the name “Full Stack Lisp”, and like all great ideas that start out as a name with no substance, I actually had to figure out what the hell it meant. I’m still not sure, but I’m working on it.
The basic idea is simple: Write down everything a person familiar with basic Lisp programming needs to know to get an application built and deployed. This means how ho set up a development environment, how to choose a storage layer, how to actually code a web application, how to test and debug, how to package, deploy and manage the running app in production. It also might mean how to use Lisp to help out with the front end. Or even build the front end in Lisp, because why not? Why not squeeze in a QT app using a Lisp API in there?
The details are a bit uncertain as I’m still in the research stage. I have literally hundreds of tabs open, I’m evaluating so many new Lisp tools and libraries, some of them just brand new. The Lisp ecosystem is evolving fast, and I’m having difficulty keeping up. I view this as more than a good sign, not only is Lisp a very active language now, but the ecosystem is in serious need of a resource like “Full Stack Lisp”. Basically, it’s a book I wish someone else would write instead of me. Unfortunately, just like the case with my previous book, volunteers willing to do it are in extremely short supply, so the Lisp community is stuck with my mediocre ass :) No programmer Valhalla for me I’m afraid.
I posted a link to the books leanpub page a couple of days ago to gather feedback about the possible price and here are some stats as of the writing of this post: 71 interested readers, with an average price most are willing to pay of 20 dollars. My estimate is that the book will take at least 360 hours to complete, and if I spread it around in my weekends and evenings(and still pretend to have a life) it will take about a year to complete. Judging by the these numbers, the interest seems sufficient for me to commit my time to this project. My hope is that I’ll start publishing chapters by the end of September. That’s when you’ll be able to actually buy it(If you don’t know, leanpub lets you buy incomplete books to help the author out during writing). I hope to be able to get a realistic publishing schedule by then as well so you’ll know when to expect new material.
I’m bouncing around ideas in my head about the pricing as well. For example one idea I have is to charge 20$ minimum(leanpub let’s you pay as much as you want beyond a minimum price set by the author) during the early stage of the book. By the time the book becomes half useful I’ll increase the price to 25$ or 30$. Like I did with my previous book I’ll publish the HTML version free on the web, and of course it’ll all be on Github under a creative commons license, so you’re only paying if you want the PDF/EPUB/MOBI format, or if you want to help me out financially. I do this because I want my writing to be accessible to a wide audience, but I’m not going to subject myself to a year of impostor syndrome and self-hatred because of missed deadlines just for the glory of it all, might as well make a little extra cash for my time :)
Happy hacking fellow lispers!