Contribute to the PowerShell/DevOps Community - and Win $$$!

Thanks to some generous grants, The DevOps Collective has some spare cash - and we figured what better way to use it than to hold a contest for contributing to the community? So that’s what we’re doing. If you’ve ever thought, “yeah, someday I’ll do something to help the community,” well that day has come - and there’s $1,000 on the line! All you need to do is think of a PowerShell or DevOps related topic that you think needs explaining. Better “documentation,” so to speak. Perhaps a problem you’ve had to solve that you think others might benefit from, or an aspect of the technology that people just don’t understand. All you have to do is write an ebook on that topic, much like the many free ebooks we offer at https://powershell.org/ebooks.

Here’s How it Works:

Start writing your book. We’ll provide some topic ideas below. It’s possible that more than one person will pick the same topic - and that’s fine. Different perspectives are valuable!

Complete your book by the end of November, 2016. That’s a long time off - so don’t procrastinate and put it off until the last minute! If you write about 1,500 words a month, you’ll be done in time. And that’s only 50 words per day!

ZIP up your contribution in accordance with the rules below, and send it to the “admin” email alias here at PowerShell.org. By December 2016, we’ll publish all the entries, and begin soliciting user feedback. If you submit earlier, we’ll publish earlier - so you’ll have more time to garner good feedback on your book! Books will publish to GitHub, and as the author we’ll make you a Collaborator. That means you’ll be able to make additions or corrections at any time after your book goes live.

We’ll collect reader feedback and votes for 60 days. At the end, the contribution with the top reader score will win $1,000 (for non-US participants, we will send this via PayPal and let them convert to your local currency; within the US, we’ll send a check). Everyone who has a completed book published will receive a small gift, as well as recognition.

Our top feedback recipients will also receive an introduction to a "real" book publisher, if they choose. If you enjoyed the writing progress and want to produce a "dead trees" book, you'll be well on your way.

The Rules:

1. Your book must total at least 8,000 words when completed. That’s about a dozen pages in a standard Word template, without images. You cannot submit a partial book, although you can later make expansions or corrections as needed.

2. You must write in Markdown. All files must be plain-text, with an “.md” filename extension.

3. You must include a book.txt file that lists your chapter filenames in order.

4. Chapter files must start with a top-level “# Heading” that is the chapter name.

5. Images must be in an /images subfolder, and must be included in chapters by means of a proper Markdown image insertion.

6. Code blocks must be neatly formatted, and properly set off using proper Markdown syntax.

7. Your book’s subject must be on Windows PowerShell or DevOps topics.

8. You must be willing to release your book under a Creative Commons "Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International” license, and be willing to allow readers to make a donation to the nonprofit DevOps Collective, in addition to downloading your book for free. We'll be publishing your book alongside our other ones, and treating your ebook the same way we do ours.

9. You're allowed to co-author.

10. Our main audience is English-speaking, but you're welcome to write your ebook in another language if you prefer.

Topic Ideas:

These are just some of the ebook needs we’ve run across…

  • Using Regular Expressions in PowerShell (including capture groups)
  • Building a Continuous Integration Pipeline (with whatever tools you like)
  • Working with XML Data in PowerShell (including finding values, updating data, etc)
  • Bootstrapping a DevOps Culture in Your Organization
  • Creating a Simple GUI by Using WPF

There are lots more needs. Why, just browse the PowerShell.org forums and look for commonly asked questions - those're great ideas for an ebook!

And don't think that you need to be an expert writer. Most people prefer reading something that's less formal and more conversational - just write like you'd speak out loud. You can even write a "stream of consciousness" piece - decide to solve a problem, and then write about every hurdle and success you have along the way. Those experiential pieces can really help someone else understand "the process" better. Write something you'd like to read! Even (or especially) entry-level material is more than welcome, as there are always new people who are just getting started.

Want Help?

No problem. Over the next several weeks, we'll be posting inspirational and practical articles from published writers to help you get started, to help you keep going, and to help you make the best book you can.

Just Say Yes!

C'mon, you know you've always wanted to contribute, and now's a great time to give back to your community! Start dreaming up ideas, polish up your Markdown editor, and get started!

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