When I received my personal copies of the book back in October, I was of course overjoyed at being a Published Author. Nonetheless, I was sorely disappointed at one feature, or rather, the lack of one feature.
The pages of my book were gray, even though they were supposed to contain some blue accents. Unfortunately all blue colours, shades and nuances had been replaced by their gray equivalent, except on the cover. That made the book harder to read.
Meanwhile the problem has been solved, and gray copy owners can win a blue copy by participating in my contest.
Initially I assumed someone at Peachpit had decided to lower production costs by leaving out the second colour. (Later I heard that Peachpit never does this.)
At that particular point in time Wendy Sharp, my editor, was on sick leave, so I couldn't discuss this problem with her. I sighed a bit, reminded myself that despite of the grayness I still was a Published Author, and left it at that.
When Wendy returned to work a few weeks later, she asked me how I liked the book, and I replied something like
Great, except of course for the gray. I assumed she knew about the substitution, but instead she was very surprised, grabbed a copy, did some investigating, and finally told me the printer had made a grave mistake: he had forgotten to add the blue colour!
We faced a problem. By this time the book had already been released officially, was being distributed, and the first eager web developers were ready to buy it.
Besides, although the printer would deliver a proper, blue version of the book ASAP, actually getting these new copies to Peachpit's distribution centres would take a few weeks more, and from there they still had to be shipped to the retail shops.
We really didn't want to halt the book distribution, tell people
We're very sorry but it'll take a few weeks more and wait for the blue copies to arrive.
Therefore Wendy and I decided to hush the whole thing up and continue to distribute gray books. When the blue book arrived, Peachpit would silently start to ship it instead of the gray one. The left-over gray copies would be destroyed. I assume that has happened by now.
So if you own a gray copy of my book, you have a valuable collector's item on your hands.
Unfortunately the gray book is less readable than the blue book, especially when it comes to the code examples in the sidebars (the big blue (or gray) boxes with the rounded corners). These code examples are white, because that fits the blue background colour best. However, on a gray background colour the white misfires dramatically.
The code examples in the main text have the same problem: they are supposed to be blue, and their gray equivalent is hard to read. I already received a few complaints about these issues.
A true fan would not hesitate, run to the bookstore and purchase a blue copy, too. However, I think that some owners of gray copies will hesitate to fork over money yet again for a book they already own.
Therefore I decided to run a contest in which gray book owners can win a blue copy, too. This will allow them to keep their valuable gray copy in pristine condition by safely locking it away, using the blue copy in their daily work.
Contest: Create a serving suggestion for my book. The best two to five serving suggestions will win a blue copy.
Entries will be accepted until 21 April 2007.
In order to get you in the mood, here's my own serving suggestion:
Serving suggestion. Saint not included.
Now I'm an indifferent designer at best, and I'm sure many of you can do much, much better. Show me your ideas! Create a serving suggestion, put it online somewhere and send me a link. Please select the "Contest" subject.
Entries will be accepted until 21 April, at which time the contest will close and the jury (consisting of me and my cat) will take a final decision. Winning serving suggestions will be published.
I’m speaking at the following conferences:
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