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My presentation style is really interactive.  I try to write my presentations so that I can go off on wild tangents when it’s a great question that pertains to the presentation.

It slaps! It chops!

It slaps! It chops!

In every session, though, I get at least a couple of questions that are good, but don’t quite relate to the topic.  They’re just enough off-topic that it would take me more than 5 minutes to answer.  When that happens, I either point people to a webcast or a book.  Sometimes the book is Grant Fritchey’s excellent Query Performance Tuning Distilled, and sometimes – many times – it’s Professional SQL Server 2008 Internals and Troubleshooting, and my name’s on the cover of that one.

Inevitably somebody groans and says, “Here he goes promoting his book again.”  Wanna know why I do it?

Because nobody else will, and I think it’s worth the money.

When you write a book for a publisher, that publisher has a team of marketing people who want to help promote your work.  One of their tricks is to give free copies out to encourage bloggers to write reviews. They ask the authors who should get review copies of the book.  Rather than guess, I just tweeted, “Who wants a free copy of our book to review it on their blog?”  I got dozens of responses, so Wiley shipped them out back in January.

We got exactly one blog review.  Pinal Dave (Blog@PinalDave) wrote in his review:

“There is no doubt that this book is by far one of the best books available for anybody who is interested in SQL Server Internals and applying its knowledge to real world troubleshooting scenarios. I think this is one of the must-have books for understanding SQL Server, and believe me, you will find yourself flipping the pages of the book when you are facing a trouble with the SQL Server instead of using search engine!”

So at least it was a good review, so I wanna thank him for that.  We’ve also gotten 8 5-star reviews on the book’s Amazon page, all glowing.  (Granted, a couple of them are from my family, who share my wacko sense of humor.)  But that’s it on the blog front.  I’m not upset with the people who got free review copies and didn’t write reviews.  I know people are busy, and they’ve got real jobs, and it’s a massive book to try to digest.  This post isn’t about them.

This post is about what it takes to have a successful book go out the door.  You can’t bang away on a word processor for months, throw your baby out into the wild, and expect it to fend for itself.  You have to get in front of people and say, “The answer to your question is in here.  I know, because I either wrote it, or I read the work of my coauthors, and I give it My Seal of Approval.”  Chapter 6 on Locking & Latches alone by James Rowland-Jones is one of the best chapters I’ve ever read in a technical book.

I don’t make money off the book royalties.  To put things in perspective, I would have a bigger impact on my money if I changed my health plan from PPO to HMO.  I flack this book because it solves real problems, and I know because I hear the same questions over and over when I present.  How do I troubleshoot deadlocks?  Page 216.  How do AWE, PAE, and /3GB interact?  Page 36.  How should you configure MAXDOP?  Page 163.  How many TempDB data and log files should I have?  That’s page 300.  I could go on and on.

It’s a good book, and if you’re struggling with how SQL Server works, you should buy it.  If you buy it and read it, you should review it, whether you liked it or not, because there’s some really crappy books out there, and your fellow SQL Server professionals need your help to pick the right one.

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  1. I’ll review it if I get a free copy ;)

    Seriously, this is on my book list to expense for work along with “How to become a rockstar DBA” by a little known author called Tom…

  2. Brent, do you have an affiliate code on that Amazon link. You should. Bazinga.

  3. Your book is outstanding, Brent. I am one of those people that learn from doing. I rarely read books for fun or curiosity. I read books in the midst of active work (performance analysis, infrastructure configuration, what have you). I have an enormous number of books for any given SQL Server area I may encounter. As I am primarily an Infrastructure DBA with a bit of an emphasis on Performance Tuning from the infrastructure side (and because I know from having corresponded with you on technical issues and am convinced that you REALLY know your stuff) my purchase of this book was a no brainer.

    I am on a contract as I write this at a huge law firm in Times Square. Twice during this brief engagement, your book has given me the exact insight and confirmation I required to get the job done.

    If you are an Infrastructure DBA guy like me, it would be foolish not to add this book to your library.

    Chuck

  4. I have an autographed copy ((HUGS)) to BrentO. Now all I need is a blog to review it on. Funny that the American Sewing Guild doesn’t want a SQL book review for their newsletter (but they happily published the pattern review I did for a purse pattern…go figure). :) Anyway… I’m working my way thru the book.

  5. I bought a copy for our team bookshelf as soon as it came out (I’m the Training Manager as a secondary responsibility, Senior BI Consultant otherwise), just not had the time to read it yet.

    I’m just embarking on upgrading one of our client’s SQL Server 2005 systems up to SQL Server 2008 R2 with a lot of performance tuning work to be done, so this should present the ideal opportunity to get through it.

    Thanks Brent.

  6. You don’t make any royalties? Or did you mean “you aren’t going to get rich off the royalties”?

    I used to be a top 500 Amazon reviewer, then they started censoring my reviews, so I opted out of writing for free for them. I may get back into that racket at some point, but I’ve been looking for other places to send my book reviews. Any ideas?

    And, yes, I’m guilty of getting review copies of works and not getting the time to write up the review. Perhaps I should take the summer off and catch up.

  7. Brent, I do think your book is (very close to) perfect, and I think I was the first person to buy it from Amazon in the US, way before the book was available in Sweden. It has been on my list of reviews (not that important), but so far I have recommended it to about 101 people. :) And I have it as a recommended book on my tiny blog.

    By the way, thanks for the great book. I use it at least 3-4 times a week.

  8. I will definitely be buying this book. I just promised myself I would first finish the other 3 SQL books that I’m currently half way through (one of which is Grant Fitchey’s that you mentioned above).

    Thanks for all your good work.

  9. Hi Brent,

    This book has really helped me professionally, one of my client where I do consulting, I had configure extended events for longest duration using this book.

    I in fact, had informed Jonathan who wrote that chapter in book for the same that I have learned from this book.

    Many thanks again,

    Kind Regards,

  10. you should get Denis at lessthandot to read it and write up a review. ;)

  11. I am about 2/3 of the way through and I think it is worth pimping.

    Unfortunately, a chimpanzee has better writing skills than I do so it may not be a good idea for me to write a review…. Although there is a Stephen Jones who is high profile so maybe my name recognition will be enough. :)

    In all seriousness I have been planning on writing something once I finish reading it because of the amount of time dedicated to free tools. Usually when something is mentioned in a book it has a sizable price tag.

    cut short… meeting .. argh

    • Thanks, everybody! I’m glad you guys are liking it.

      @Steve – hahaha, chimp. Every time I see your comments, I think it’s the other Steve Jones, heh. :-D But yeah, I was really impressed at the way Christian laid out the table of contents – half internals, half free tools for troubleshooting. It really helps DBAs find all the cool resources out there.

      @Pinal – thanks, sir!

      @Karen – yeah, not getting any royalties yet. We got an advance, but the book sales haven’t been enough to hit our first royalty check yet. I don’t know what the magic number is, but the $60 PDF price isn’t going to help our numbers. That pricetag is just ridiculous.

  12. You wrote a book?!?! That’s awesome, man!

    Seriously though, I am -just- about done with it and already have been going through the review in my head. Love it so far. I think it is one of the most useful SQL books I’ve read. It has internals information, academic/background information but it is also a lot of rubber meeting road. That is key. Any DBA (accidental or not) can get something they can easily find and use that day from this book.

  13. I have to buy my books out of pocket, so I have a limited amount of funds.

    Who is the target audience for your book? DBA/Developer? What level? Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced?

    I’m working my way through Alex’s new book on Defensive Developing (the free ebook version).

  14. I really like the book, I decided to get it after reading some of your blog posts and you had a follow up on them about the book and more information. You could say curiosity got the best of me. I am glad I did buy book, it is a great reference. Thanks for you hard work and good information about SQL and SQL Server.

    • Thanks, sir! I’m glad you liked it. If we do another version for the next version of SQL Server, are there any more tools or areas you’d like to see covered?

  15. Hi Brent,

    Like others I decided to buy the book having followed your blog for a while now. It’s taking me a while to get through it but that’s a good thing as the level of detail and knowledge is very high!

    Certainly one to keep in close reach at all times when near a DB server!

    Keep up the good work :)

  16. If I would be a DBA, I would order it straightaway. But since that’s not my main occupation, I’ve sent the link to a colleague (who is a DBA) instead.

    So, any chance that you’ll ever write an advanced BI Development book? :-)

  17. The bad news is that I’m one of those people who received a review copy of your book, and hasn’t eval-ed it (yet…I still intend to).

    The good news is that I pimp your book too, both on our webcast, and in every session I’ve given this year (including NTSSUG, SQLSat41 Atlanta, and SQLSat35 Dallas). The first chapter alone makes the book worth the price.

    Interestingly, the other book that I pimp in every single session is Grant Fritchey’s execution plan book. Sometimes, #awesomesauce is universal.

  18. How does one go about procuring a signed copy of said book? I really enjoy your blog, so I have no doubt that I’d enjoy your book, plus I need to start rebuilding my reference library since I just started a new DBA gig earlier this month!

  19. Well, my boss bought a copy of the book at TechEd 2010 and I’ve started reading it.

    I’m currently on Chapter 1: the life cycle of a query.

  20. OK. I have set before myself the goal of becoming a DBA. Towards this goal I have joined SQLServerCentral, read many of Dave Pinal’s and Brent Ozar’s blogs, watched a lot of Brent Ozar’s videos. I want to say how grateful I am to these. Tomorrow I sit for the certification.
    Now I have read the reviews here and am trying to gauge if this book will be as beneficial to me as the aforementioned sources. Afterall, the people who are recommending this book sound quite experienced. What is the best FIRST book to by if you are a beginner SQL Server DBA? Is this the book Brent?

    • Helen – no, instead I’ve got a list of recommended books for different career levels. Click Books at the top of this page and check ‘em out. Hope that helps!

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