Free Stuff and a SQL Server Standard Update

October 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm (PASS, sql server standard, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, )


Great news. We’ve managed to get one article all the way through the process. We’ll have our first publication out within a couple of weeks. We might even get a second out at the PASS Summit. We’re working through the final details on contracts, author payments and the layout of the magazine, including cover art. That brings up a question. The intent is to publish high quality articles by great authors (and believe me, we’ve got exactly that coming down the pike). In order to reflect this, instead of just an HTML layout, we’re going with Adobe Acrobat so that we can get that magazine feel, but online. My question… We’re trying to decide what to do with cover art. Our options are:

  1. Some type of stylish picture, say, stamps or coins, or maybe pictures of tables to show off the idea of a database’s tables… you know art
  2. A picture of the author. Personally, I wouldn’t wish my own photograph on someone at the scale we’re looking at and I’m pretty sure others won’t either, but it’s a possibility. It’d look a bit like the Wrox books.
  3. Just plain old, boring, text. I really don’t like this idea. I don’t think it’s in keeping with the idea of a “magazine” even though we’re doing it all online. Still, it’s an option
  4. Something I haven’t thought of

I’m putting the question out. Do you like those Reilly books that have some non-sequitor line drawing on them? How about the Simple-Talk books, all of which (and I didn’t know this until this morning and I have a book published by these guys) have a picture of a gate, for Red-Gate? Simple books like Apress with an abstract graphic & some text?

I’m fishing for ideas here. We’ve got a few days. Mind you, I’ll make a decision with or without your comments, but I’d really like to hear what people think. If we use your idea (assuming it’s not just “I like #1”) I’ll ship you out a copy of my performance tuning book. If we pick one of our own ideas, I’ll randomly draw from one of the commenters. Either way, you’ve got a shot at the book.

Oh, and while I have you reading, I still need more abstracts. We have to feed the beast.

15 Comments

  1. Raghuram (AJ) said,

    I connected a few points of yours and it led me to think of a possible starting point. I might be way off the target but this could lead to a better idea by you/your editorial team/fellow readers.

    A typical cubicle at an office. It has a lot of objects that have some resemblance with SQL Server terminologies. For instance…

    ‘Cube’ itself
    ‘Storage’ cabinets or ‘Files’
    Table
    ‘Keys’
    File with ‘index’ labels
    Open draws – ‘Partition’?
    ‘Monitor’…etc

    So, I was thinking of a cover page with a few authors’ standing at/around this cubicle and balloon-tips that point out the objects like those listed above. Then of course the name of the magazine and other text that accompany it would appear at the appropriate locations on this page.

    Just a weird thought.

  2. Leo Pasta said,

    I think #1 would be good. Definetely not #2 neither #3.

  3. Brent Ozar said,

    Wrox just stopped doing the author photos on the cover (right about the same time my book went into publication – hmmm) so that frees up the option, but the tough part is getting high enough quality headshots of the authors. If you publish it on the cover, you need a really high res shot. Most geeks seem to crop their head shot from an existing photo (and crop out the beer in their hand) and the results are pretty tiny.

    I would turn the cover into a photo contest. There’s several good photographers in the SQL Server community. Create a Flickr group, let PASS members submit their photos to the group, and then once a month you pick the winner. You don’t even tell the winner – they have to find out by looking at the Standard. That way it builds up a little more buzz and excitement. You could have last month’s winner be the judge for this month.

  4. Bill Booth said,

    I don’t think articles have the burden book covers do. You don’t have to compete for attention on a crowded shelf or Amazon page. I favor the Apress style, prominent subject and simple design. Smashing Magazine has some great examples of the use of typography in cover design.

  5. Oscar Leeper said,

    Some ideas

    Get a gigantic yellow cylinder just like the one used in the SQL graphics, and get a picture of it someplace interesting – in a garage, in the middle of a parking lot

    Instead of quality headshots(cost conern expressed above), just get a horrible class picture of the author from grade/middle/high school.

    For a series of books, find a neutral background, and in a way similar to the first idea, make giant full color cardboard cutouts of familiar SQL Server symbols, like the yellow cylinder, the cylinder with a green arrow, the sql agent icon, the table icon, etc.

    Another related idea – take those symbols and fashion them to look like street signs. Photograph them set up alongside roads.

    Hope these ideas get something going for you.

  6. Damodaran Venkatesan said,

    A faucet flowing sample pieces of information (like names, financial info, address, etc) into a bucket.

  7. scarydba said,

    Excellent input so far. Thanks everyone. We’ll let this run for another couple of days and then announce a winner.

  8. Twitter Trackbacks for Free Stuff and a SQL Server Standard Update « Home of the Scary DBA [scarydba.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com said,

    […] Free Stuff and a SQL Server Standard Update « Home of the Scary DBA scarydba.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/free-stuff-and-a-sql-server-standard-update – view page – cached Great news. We’ve managed to get one article all the way through the process. We’ll have our first publication out within a couple of weeks. We might even get a second out at the PASS Summit…. (Read more)Great news. We’ve managed to get one article all the way through the process. We’ll have our first publication out within a couple of weeks. We might even get a second out at the PASS Summit. We’re working through the final details on contracts, author payments and the layout of the magazine, including cover art. That brings up a question. The intent is to publish high quality articles by great authors (and believe me, we’ve got exactly that coming down the pike). In order to reflect this, instead of just an HTML layout, we’re going with Adobe Acrobat so that we can get that magazine feel, but online. My question… We’re trying to decide what to do with cover art. Our options are: 1. Some type of stylish picture, say, stamps or coins, or maybe pictures of tables to show off the idea of a database’s tables… you know art 2. A picture of the author. Personally, I wouldn’t wish my own photograph on someone at the scale we’re looking at and I’m pretty sure others won’t either, but it’s a possibility. It’d look a bit like the Wrox (Read less) — From the page […]

  9. Gail said,

    A flag with a SQL Server-related icon/clipart on it, of just the words SQL Server. It is the SQL Server *Standard* afterall.

  10. Gail said,

    *sigh* typos again. replace ‘of’ with ‘or’ in the above comment.

  11. scarydba said,

    Actually…. I like that one a lot. Stand to attention and salute the standard, the SQL Server Standard… Hee, hee. I could get into a lot of trouble with just about everyone with this one. Thanks Gail.

  12. scarydba said,

    Note, I didn’t say we had a winner, just that I’ve been provided with a… let’s call it a weapon.

  13. Greg E said,

    When you say ‘magazine’, what always comes to mind is some static content (like the Name) mixed with something related to one of the main articles.
    So put your static text on there – be boring but identifiable.
    Pictures of the authors – unless someone is really well known, belong in the table of contents or the article.
    Now for the dynamic content……
    If Spatial Data was one of the articles, I’d put the faucet (from above) on a server, flowing onto a map. The map would be the most prominent obeject on the cover, with someone pointing out something interesting to the audience.
    So I like the faucet idea.
    Greg E

  14. Dave Schutz said,

    Since the title is Standard how about the pictures being non-standard. Following on an earlier post, maybe the flag in non-standard places/positions. Perhaps flying in unusual places or ideas; something completely asymmetrical, but related to an article inside. Users can try to guess which article the flag is pointing to, or they can just assume they know. I’d definitely stay away from idea 2 and 3.

  15. scarydba said,

    WINNER:

    Leo Pasta. I’ll post it on the main site too. Leo, get in touch and let me know where to send the book: grantedd -at- gmail.com

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