Why and How I Self-Published a Book

I just self-published a book. “How to Be the Luckiest Person Alive”.  I published it in paperback form, kindle, and free PDF (see directions below to get free PDF). The entire process took me three weeks. Using an established publisher would’ve taken over a year. [Important note:Since this post was written I have also self-published a new book, “I Was Blind But Now I See”. I describe what’s different about that book and also offer a special promotion for it here.] The below book is also free on Amazon Kindle for Amazon Prime members (and $1.99 otherwise).

I Was Blind But Now I See by James Altucher

I’ve written a prior post on my sales and advances on first five books which were all published with major publishers. (Also, including a part about how my wife finally fell for me). But I’m never going to publish in the morgue of the publishing industry again. This post today is about why I did it and how you can do it.

The book publishing industry is dead and they don’t know it. Its like how the typewriter industry died. And how companies like Blockbuster and Borders can’t survive. And the entire music industry is dying. And broadcast television might be on the way.  And the tablet industry is the first sign that companies like DELL might be in major trouble. And companies like Sirius mean the radio industry is dead.Why And How I Self-Published A Book

Why did I self-publish?

Advances are quickly going to zero. Margins are going to zero for publishers.  There’s no financial benefit for going with a publisher if advances are going to zero and royalties are a few percentage points. The publishing industry does minimal editing. The time between book acceptance and release is too long (often a year or more). That’s insane and makes zero sense in a print-on-demand world when kindle versions are outselling print versions.

Most importantly, the book industry sells “books”. What they need to do is sell their “authors”. Authors now are brands, they are businesses, they are mini-empires. Publishers do nothing to help 95% of their authors build their platforms and their own brands. This would increase author loyalty and make the lack of a meaningful advance almost worth it.

12 Million Typewriters Sold In 1950. 400,000 In 2009

(12 million typewriters sold in 1950. 400,000 in 2009)

I’ll give you a quick example. I’ve published five books with major publishers. The majority of books now are sold through Amazon. Not a single publisher told me I can log into Amazon Author Central, create an author’s page, link my author’s page to my blog, upload a video, have my twitter feed in there, have an FAQ in there, and all the other basic tools Amazon uses to market your book. Why? This is the world’s biggest bookseller. Why wasn’t I told about a basic marketing platform I could use?  I just learned about it last week after writing books for eight years. Now I have it all hooked up and I have a feeling I’ve only begun to explore the Author Central area and what Amazon can do for me.

I don’t want to trash the publishers. Again, I’ve written all about my publishing experience, complete with sales numbers. Here’s also another article about my reviews on one of the books I’ve published recently with a major publisher. I completely open every kimono (and its pretty hideous inside that kimono). They are all hard working people and have done good jobs but it’s just not worth it to me to go that route anymore.

Despite my five books I am sure zero publishers would’ve published “How to Be the Luckiest Person Alive!” . It’s not in my finance core. Publishers, just like in any business, put you in your little corner and you have to stay there. They want to pigeon-hole you. If you try to get up and go to a different corner they SLAP you down.  So publishers would ignore the topic of my book, despite the popularity of my blog which I would be able to demonstrate to them with the statistics. The statistics show that the less I spoke about finance, the more popular my blog got. People want more happiness, not more ways they can lose their money reading bullshit.

I recently looked at the Bookscan numbers for a bunch of very well known finance authors. They were all close to zero. Plus, in the link above I reveal all my numbers on my books. Again, almost nothing.  Know why? Because people know that reading these books won’t do anything  for them. Very few people make money on stocks. The stock market is largely a scam. Nobody makes money owning real estate anymore. Personal finance is a joke with zero percent interest rates. And, to be honest, most self-help books are written by people with no experience and are just filled with meaningless platitudes.

Thinking about finance is the opposite of the true goal, which is being happy. In this book, I talk about my many failures. Going dead broke after making millions. Rising from the gutter. Getting fired from jobs, kicked out of school, losing a marriage, being at a crossroads in life and figuring out which way to go, and all the times where I could’ve used a book like this to figure out how to grow from the core inward to find happiness, success, and the other tools I needed to come out of the hole and find the motivation to achieve some good for both myself and the world. This book describes that and the specific techniques I used. I’m brutally honest, to the point of risking people hating me. I’ve lost friends (at least temporarily) over the material in this book.

But so what? It works. It worked for me. It’s worked for others in huge, almost unbelievable ways.

And I’m willing to bet not a single publisher would’ve touched it. Nor would they have been able to get it out as fast as I could and as cheaply as I could. I don’t care about making money on this book. I don’t need to feed an entire corporate establishment. I want the ideas out there so I can help people. I want the ideas out there so, honestly, my name gets out there some more. Because this won’t be my last book. I have 10 more on the way!

And so do you!

Here’s what I did to self-publish.

–          I created an account on createspace.com. They are owned by Amazon. Great customer service. You have any question at all you hit a button that says “Call Me” and within 30 seconds they have a customer representative calling your phone.

Createspace Logo

–          I downloaded a Microsoft Word template they provided. This template took into account whether a page was a left page or a right page, it helped build the table of contents, kept the page numbers accurate, etc. In other words, the template used by any publisher in the world when they format your book.

–          I made a cover. Createspace had over a million options when you combined their templates with images, fonts, etc. I used one of their photos. Claudia used a photo I took, uploaded it and made her book, “21 Things to Know Before Starting an Ashtanga Yoga Practice”. 160 pages or so. My book is 166 pages.

21 Things to Know Before Starting an Ashtanga Yoga Practice

–          I saved it as a PDF and uploaded it. I let them pick the ISBN number.

–          I picked a price of $7.95 for the book. This was the minimum price I could go if I wanted them to distribute it to bookstores, libraries, etc along with Amazon. I get about a $2 royalty per book at that price. But if you chose a price of $20 then you would get about a $14 royalty. Much higher than any publisher will ever give you. I chose a low price because I’m trying to get as many copies out as possible. I have many books to go and want the audience to be happier and happier with each product.  Personally, I would prefer if you get the free book – directions below to get it.

–          They sent a proof. I liked it. Once I approved of the proof it was officially published at createspace.com. About two days later it was on Amazon.com.

–          I hit a button to format it as a Kindle book. Up until now everything was free but formatting for the kindle requires some work. That cost me $69. Three weeks later they sent me the documents formatted for kindle and I had to use Amazon Author Central to upload the kindle version. Again, I priced it as low as they would let me. $0.99. Within 48 hours it was on Amazon.

–          I also created my Amazon page, linked the RSS feed of my blog to it, created a video and uploaded it, linked my twitter feed to it, etc.

If you have any questions or concerns about this entire process,  email me through my blog.

I obvious have no self-interest by creating competitors. The more people who publish in a graveyard, the better it is for me. But I honestly want you to publish your ideas and words.

We’ll all do this together.

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  • Bootdaddy

    Jimmer -you rock bro! I had the “big life” for 15 years and wondered why it felt so bad… Happiness trumps money every time. Glad you have the balls to put yourself out there and share your experience and knowledge.

  • Ben

    Just bought it for the Kindle. I go back and forth on the whole self publishing thing. I think it’s exactly right for people like you who have an established audience, but I’m not so sure about nobody novelists like myself.  I guess it all comes down to how much the Publishers help in getting your brand out there, and from what you’re saying they don’t at all. I’m just terrified of ruining my chances to ever build an audience. Do you have any ideas on how authors can take over the task of building their brands since publishers no longer do?

    Thanks for the great post. Been waiting on this self-pub one since you mentioned it in the “about me”.

    •  The publishers don’t help, though, Ben. The key is to figure out the ways to develop your personal brand. Start with the blogosphere surrounding your genre and build out from there. Sadly, the publishers won’t even touch you until you do that. But by then, because hopefully of posts like this one, it will be too late for them.

  •  Just sent it to her. Thanks Craig.

  • Self-publishing might be easy, but I think the hard part is self-_editing_. If I’m not mistaken, a decent editor is something included with a publishing deal. You need a unbiased pair of critical eyes (not yours, not your best friend’s, not your parents’) to rip the whole thing apart. This takes a lot of time and effort that few people can provide.

    • Publishers no longer edit. Max Perkins (Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Wolfe’s editor) was the last of his kind. 

      •  Really? How/why did this happen? How do authors find editors now?

        •  This has been a steady decline for decades. For awhile the agents became the editors. Now there’s really minimal editing in the industry. Not all the time. But a lot of the time.

        •  This has been a steady decline for decades. For awhile the agents became the editors. Now there’s really minimal editing in the industry. Not all the time. But a lot of the time.

      •  Really? How/why did this happen? How do authors find editors now?

      • Agreed.  A talented pair of unbiased eyes is worth it, but rarer to find.  This book helped me a lot between the first and second draft of the novel: Self-editing for fiction writers.  


        • Sooz

          I’m not sure if you received my B’Day wish yesterday. If not,  I attached reply to another J.A. article, I hope your day was extra grand! 

    • Publishers no longer edit. Max Perkins (Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Wolfe’s editor) was the last of his kind. 

  •  First of all, typewriters are not dead.  Completely.  Yet.  I’m a mechanical engineer, and find myself attracted to the machinery, plus the sounds and feel of the thing (DING!).  I use my typewriter almost every day to write on my blog (which I then scan in and publish online)  Also, I’ve noticed the boot time is pretty fucking fast, the battery life is epic, and I have had no problem with legacy file formats.

    Second, I think that self publishing is awesome, empowering, and a sign of the times.  To @95e98305e17ceeea9af3a01ca03faef1:disqus 
    , good luck with the self-publishing.  One of the biggest skills for business, that no one has ever taken the time to teach me, is how to sell yourself.  Remember, you only have to be talented enough.  The rest is hard work.  -www.awkwardengineer.com

  •  First of all, typewriters are not dead.  Completely.  Yet.  I’m a mechanical engineer, and find myself attracted to the machinery, plus the sounds and feel of the thing (DING!).  I use my typewriter almost every day to write on my blog (which I then scan in and publish online)  Also, I’ve noticed the boot time is pretty fucking fast, the battery life is epic, and I have had no problem with legacy file formats.

    Second, I think that self publishing is awesome, empowering, and a sign of the times.  To @95e98305e17ceeea9af3a01ca03faef1:disqus 
    , good luck with the self-publishing.  One of the biggest skills for business, that no one has ever taken the time to teach me, is how to sell yourself.  Remember, you only have to be talented enough.  The rest is hard work.  -www.awkwardengineer.com

  • Mkj Junk

    and what do you intend on doing with all the free email addresses you collect from the free ebook? Start an Altucher mailing list? ;) 

    •  If ur so worried about it make a new email address.


    •  If ur so worried about it make a new email address.


    •  Well, to be honest, I have no intent on using that list at all. I broadcast freely from a blog, I’ve turned every request for anyone to advertise on this blog, I’m giving away book for free, and for all I know most people are sharing the book so I have no access to those emails. Its just the only way I could find to give free.

      • Mkj Junk

        you could put it on rapidshare. In any case – the mailing list was sometihng i thought would be nice to have – altucher in ur mailbox – every morning – ur daily dose of neurosis combined with optimism and anecdotal advice.

  • BamBam

    Thanks.  Some good marketing ideas in there I didn’t know about.  I’m still looking to learn a bit more about how a publisher will work with a distributor like Amazon to manage inventory and plan for possible subsequent printings.

  • Anonymous

    This is a genius post. The info and the book could not come at a better time. I’m curious to see how happy you are with the sales/downloads. The only part that really scares me is no copy editing. Good luck.

    • Playstead: the pool of proofreaders for hire is growing by the day. I found a woman in my church with an English major who’d always wanted to make a living editing but never had the means. Today she’s re-editing my first three novels (ones which my first publisher kinda’ messed up [uh-hem].

    •  You could always hire someone like me for the copy editing. I come cheap because I’m doing the starving artist bit, but I am definitely a capable copy editor. 

  • Jeffrey

    Great Post!!

  • Jeffrey

    Great Post!!

  •  Mr. Altucher you are worth your weight in gold.

    • Brandon539

      James, I’ll go Mr. Nuttall one better and say you are worth MY weight in gold.   There, I just doubled your money.  Thanks for the book!

  •  Mr. Altucher you are worth your weight in gold.

  • Wow James! Since discovering your blog three weeks ago, I have gotten more done than I have the three months prior. It is due to the daily practice you talk about in the book. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  • >>>I obvious have no self-interest by creating competitors.

    Here is something I can teach you:

    No writer competes with any other writer.

  • James: my friend (@natedogreimer) told me about you yesterday. So glad.

    I’m leaving two legacy publishers this month and going all self-published from here on out. My fans are thrilled as they get their books sooner, cheaper, AND they get the third installments of two trilogies which the pubs decided to opt out of because “the market changed.” OK, but the reader didn’t! The 3rd book is a garaunteed sale to loyal fans! Come on people.

    My wife is also thrilled because I’ll be making more money than ever before, and my efforts in self-promotion (which no one tells you is what the traditional print pubs require you to do) while actually effect MY bottom line, not the publishers.

    One question: I know you are trying to get your name out there, but did the $.99 / 30% cut with the ebook seem less appealing than the $2.99 / 75%? I’m thinking of re-releasing the first 2 at $.99 and the third at $2.99. Like you, I’ll price the physical as low as I can.

    Thanks for the step-by-step list as I have the cover designs, I have the editor, I just needed clear direction on wading through formatting for ebook, and how to make a physical book available to those who want them still.

    -Your new fan. ch:

    •  You should probably do the $2.99 (or even 4.99) for all brand new books , 70% royalty version versus the 0.99. But I like the idea of re-releasing the older ones (at least initially) at 0.99 to continue to build your audience base. I’m also doing the Free but my endgame might be completely different. I wish I could’ve priced the Kindle version for free.

      • Thanks James. Have you posted on your endgame intentions elsewhere?  (Just curious; like I said, I’m a newbie here).

      • As to the actual mechanics of formatting the Kindle version, did you do it yourself AND pay $69? (I got lost there as you mentioned “requires some work”). 

  • Congratulations, James! I picked up the Kindle version. Look forward to reading it. I’ll put my feedback on the Amazon book page as a review. Again, well done!

  • So happy I discovered your blog. I am ready to move forward with my writing and I value your advice and knowledge. Will be checking out your book. Thanks for sharing your views on publishing. 

  • Michael Sullivan

    Thank-you James (again!) for sharing.  Not only have your post been entertaining, but I learn something new on every read!   

  • Ha, best compliment ever. Made my day, thanks.


  • Self publishing is surely the way to go 

  • Kenneth Yasny

     what a beautiful article! with links, and all…
    I am a nutritionist, have written a few books and have a few more in the hopper. you have INSPIRED me to write and self-publish them.
    thank you!

  • Anonymous

     great post- I just bought it for $0.99 on Amazon. Great example of technology working for win-win-win.  Of course, I could have gotten the free PDF from you, but it’s worth the buck to have it immediately on my kindle & iPhone.  Also it’s a way for me to pay you something, yet it’s so cheap it’s not a big loss if I don’t love it.  This is the future of books.  Also, your engagement with your readers on the web is a huge value-added for your fans.  Nice.

  •  This is exactly the information I needed. The how-to. The how-to-without-going-broke (which I already am, as you know). Thank you for this. And thank you for emailing me, even though I can guarantee I would have seen this post since I pretty much pull up this site every day to see if there is something new. 

  • UraniumC

    thanks James!  Perfect info as I begin my new journey.  I’ll be studing this and the related posts closely.

    However the most striking thing on the 1st pass:  400,000 typewriters sold in 2009??!!  Really??  I had no idea they were even still being made.  wonder who buys them? 

  • I am going to miss real books when they’re gone. 

    • Sooz

       Me too,Brooke.

      Although, I always thought it would be great to carry a lightweight notebook rather than schlepping150lbs of college text  across campus.(another reason why I wish I had never gone to college) 

  • Sooz

     I would have to agree.

    full disclosure: I’m not being paid for this endorsement…:))

  • Sooz

    I have a dear friend who attempted to complete the Engish Honors program and never finished due to obstacles/ other obligations/life hurdles. She use to proof read/edit all my college papers(I told you she was a ‘DEAR’ friend! that’s a ‘God’ awful job taking on any of my writing in particular Lit. of the Bible papers..:))) . She is brilliant at this sort of work. The minute I read your article I called her and said, “This is your future”. Her response, “But don’t you have to have a completed degree?”
    I gave her the’Confidential’ link and will continue to prompt her in this direction. It would be so perfect for her and Brooke, too. Both of you have a talent that is very much appreciated(from my non~writing abilities to the best writer’s out there).
    What a great opportunity!

  • You may want to link up your paperback and kindle versions. Simply email Kindle support, they’ll do it for you in a day or two.

  • Jamal

    You are my new hero James (not saying that because you are giving away a free book though, I just enjoy your blog way too much for my own good). Thanks. :) 

  • CMS

    Thank you James.

     For me, you published this a the perfect time. I’m not just in the middle of redesigning and creating a biz but also reviewing and recreating my values and personal goals.

    That is exactly what the doctor ordered: food for thought. Getting synapses to click in new ways.

  • Dicky_howard

    Great information James, thanks again and keep up the good work!! 

  • Dicky_howard

    Great information James, thanks again and keep up the good work!! 

  •  great post! i love reading simple easy steps!! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Jimmy H.

    Awesome as always….thanks a million 

  • Antonionio

    Love your take on the market. However, I don’t understand how people continue to invest with you when you continually call the market a “scam.” What am I missing here?

  • Kevin M

    A big thanks for the reading material, James. Can’t wait to crack open the PDF tonight.

  • Thanks for the PDF!
    I see the same dying business model in the world of recorded music…ex-CD Baby founder, Derek Sivers, also saw the virtual handwriting on the wall.

    • Yes, its an interesting thing now to list the dying industies. Is broadcast TV dead for instance. Will we ever have shows like “Lost” again? Are telephones dead? (as opposed to Skype powered ipads with bluethooth), etc. 

  • Mark Stefenson

    James, could you update us with how many times its purchased/downloaded off of Amazon? Your presence will obviously get you downloads, but it would be interesting to see the success of someone with no web presence.


    • Yes, I’m going to write a future post in a few weeks everything I did to market the book, how many copies, etc. 

  • Retired1

    This is great stuff!

    I’ve been wondering how to do this for
    a long time. As a 62 year old I’ve been compiling a list of “life’s
    lessons”. Self-publishing would be perfect!

    Thanks so much James!


    • Well now you MUST do it and report back here so we can all download it. 

  • TEST TEST 1..2…3

    • TT, get back to Slope of Hope where you belong!

  • Great post James!  I’m really looking forward to the post-publisher world.  This will get rid of a lot of waste in the system and offer bigger profits for authors.

    • Definitely it will. And I think the publishers realize this but they dont know what to do about it. 

  • Claude Tiramani

    Hi James, great book. I just finished reading the book (in about 4 hours)….one of the best books I have ever read …in fact, I have sent the link to couple of my friends who are doing their MBAs and still dreaming about getting a cozy job on the wall street so that they can make millions one day. Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences and knowledge. You are by far one of the best writers out there….

  • As someone who has written 21 books let me say I agree with you 1,000%. Very eye-opening!!!

    • Thanks Tim. What are your 21 books about. Do you mostly self-publish? What mechanism do you use to self-publish?

  • Pandorascircle

    Great post! Looking forward to reading the kindle version. 

  • This is an awesome post. I think there is at least one book inside every person if not more.  The trick is to find the writer within and you definitely have found your inner writer.  Congrats!

    I have been one of those fighting the kindle….but after moving books, donating books, waiting for delivery of a book, having to return a book to library – I absolutely see the beauty of kindle – PLUS it is way better for the environment.   

    Last holiday season..my son bought a kindle for my mother – guess what he gave me? ….an M&M coffee mug.  :

  • Hugh

    What a wealth of knowledge! I totally enjoy reading your blog! I discovered you through the Kirk Report and you are so correct about stocks. Although I have great respect for Charles, I have been trading stocks for years and never really made any big money. Keep up the great work!

  • Love your stuff….
    We met a really long time ago when I worked at E*TRADE in Manhattan at their flagship behemoth of a branch. 

    I love what you are doing with the blog and the posts etc…  great reads, great controversy and great happiness!

    Thank you for sharing your life lessons, trials and tribulations… I love the genuine encouragement for others to TRY. “I honestly want you to publish your ideas and words. We’ll all do this together.”

    You’re SuccessFULL so why not share the secrets…lol – ”

    Here’s a quote from john Wooden that I read everyday…..

    “SUCCESS is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming”

    Also while we are on the subject of speaking up through writing… here is a poem I wrote back in college, published for free right now for the first time on James Altucher’s blog!  Instantly for FREE:

    Voices Guide 
    Not all the songs were written
    Not all the songs were sung.
    Never heard your voice,
    Was it your choice? 
    Talents in you
    Talents in me 
    Be-bop do-wop,
    At least they try 
    Creation in you
    Creation feels me 
    You feel you
    I feel me
    Singing a song can tell we
    Are connected. 
    All the emotions
    Bigger than all the stormiest oceans
    Felt inside,always reside
    only in you

    speak up
    seek up
    or forever try to keep up
    with your self
    or be
    left on a shelf
    Book never written?

    P.S. why do you have two LinkedIn profiles? Do you have a clone….? It all makes sense to me know since I see you everywhere on the WWW

  • Thanks, James.

  • Oren

    James I love your blog like a fat kid loves cake, but in between your posts I find myself sad and alone and looking for more whimsical writings to ‘use’ my time on. Are there any other blogs/etc that you would recommend?

    • Anonymous


    • Ok, I have some of those. Need to figure out how to post about it. 

      • Oren, http://www.jonathanfields.com/blog/ This is another Great blog I read.

        • Oren

          Thanks Rich, looks interesting!

  • Hi James. Thanks for an outstanding book! I really like the honest style and the thinking behind it even more. That kind of thinking is rare these days. To give something back to you, I’d like to reciprocate with one of the ideas in your book: An offer you can’t refuse: Let me do the formatting and cover design of your upcoming book. For free. DM me or shoot me an e-mail via ab AT alexanderbecker DOT net. Rock on!

    • Ok, Alex, I will. I’m thinking of doing a book every 2-3 months now. 

      • Cool! Let me know when you have some details.

      • You’ll be like the Weezer of the book industry.

      • And I’ll be happy to proof read it for you if the Trading Goddess is too busy.

  • Jan Morrison

    I’m curious. That’s just me. Curious. So I’ll read your book because that’s what you want, eh? Ah there, now you know I’m a Canuck.

    • Passagemakers

      who cares if you are a canuck, or a shinook. just be you.

  • James, 
    What do you think of commercial publishing for credibility purposes? Surely if anybody can self publish this degrades the value a little?


    • Daniel, you bring up a good point. Perhaps the one (but dying) purpose left for publishers is that some billion dollar company says, officially, “this guys is salesworthy” and, you’re right, that lends some credibility. A couple of comments, though: 
      a) note, i say “salesworthy” and not “quality” (they do publish Snooki after all)
      b) have you ever looked at the spine of a book to see who the publisher is? Sometimes I do and often its a publisher i dont recognize. Does it matter?
      c) You can build your credibility in other ways, and publish, and then no matter what anyone says, you’re a published author. 

      I think you should go for it. Let the ego deal with the credibility issues. But let your readers enjoy your words.

  • aclarke

    why the Amazon page shows kindle edition as $2.99 ?  Shouldnt it be $0.99

  • Thank you, James for the free offer. I’m reading the book right now, seems to be so valuable, :) 

  • Thanks so much James! I’m much more optimistic about working on my book now :)

    • Briana, tell us what your book is about. Keep us updated so we can buy when it comes out.

      • I’m writing a book on planning a wedding on a budget of $10K or less, since the average American wedding is around $30K. Then, I’ll write how to plan/have a wedding in 3 months as opposed to a year :)

        • What great ideas. I bet easy to market also, without the help of a publisher. And without the one year delay. And without the requirement it be 200 pages.

          • Definitely. I’m hoping to maybe do a tour of bridal shows to market it if it does well. How long did it take you to write your book?

        • God, that is brilliant (no sarcasm, it truly is,) and for many of us from ethnic backgounds weddings are HUGE. Learning how to do a good function without bankruptcy is key.

  • WOW amazing!!! I am half way through my first book and have been pondering about self publishing. Thank you so, so much for this article. I look forward to reading your book :)

  • Cyndy Lovejoy

    James, thank you for sharing the free PDF of your book.   I just uploaded it to my iPad and I look forward to reading through it.  

    Cyndy Lovejoy

  • This looks fantastic…seems to easy to be true, though???

  • Scott

    Have you stopped offering the free download? I tried twice to get it (on 6/2 and 6/3/11) by following your email instructions and still have not received it.

  • Scott

    Have you stopped offering the free download? I tried twice to get it (on 6/2 and 6/3/11) by following your email instructions and still have not received it.

  • Scott

    Have you stopped offering the free download? I tried twice to get it (on 6/2 and 6/3/11) by following your email instructions and still have not received it.

    • Duderkins

      the email address is disabled

  • Scott

    Have you stopped offering the free download? I tried twice to get it (on 6/2 and 6/3/11) by following your email instructions and still have not received it.

  • Scott

    Have you stopped offering the free download? I tried twice to get it (on 6/2 and 6/3/11) by following your email instructions and still have not received it.

  • Brilliant post that is a spot on assessment of the slow-to-die publishing industry.

  • I work full-time as a book editor. Pay is low, though I’m expected to be an expert in many things. I work very hard with authors who may not have writing and organizational strengths. I absolutely do extensive editing on the books assigned to me — I do developmental and content editing, and we also source copy and technical editing. We market our books heavily. We help our authors on Amazon and elsewhere. We actively promote them on social media. Our authors make money. I have nothing against self-publishing for the right authors and the right books — and as a writer myself, I’m often in favor of it. But you’re foolish to make blanket statements about how books are edited as if it applied to every publisher.

    And in all kindness, I think you could benefit from working with a committed, talented, and experienced editor, as long as you could be respectful to their profession and accept their help.

    • Elaine, thanks. It just seems from my experience that you are the exception and not the rule. I also don’t like the enormous time lag between book finishing and publication. 

      • Yes, the time lag is long, I agree, and it’s frustrating for authors. As someone down the thread said, it’s not the self-publishing that’s at issue — it’s the self-editing, but it’s thorough editing, as well as professional layout, that takes time. A good editor will have an overall vision in mind for the book as well as a rigorous sense of detail, and in the end will make a better book for the reader.

        The publishing industry as a whole is not writer-friendly, though — we definitely agree on that. A writer should be prepared to work hard no matter which publishing vehicle they choose, and have professional standards and ethics. That’s what I see lacking from so many authors in both realms. And to your point, publishers should also have the best standards and ethics.

        • Anonymous

          The publishing industry isn’t supposed to be writer-friendly. It is supposed to be reader-friendly. One thing a lot of dead and dying industries have in common is they have forgotten that their first loyalty must be to the customer.

          • I worked at HBO and I’ve published 5 books with major publishers plus have dozens of other friends from bestsellers to worstsellers who have published with major publishers. The big difference between HBO and the book publishers is that they were very focused about creating brands around their talent.

            The talent was king at HBO. The talent is the writers, the directors, the stars, the producers, etc. HBO ONLY focused on the talent because they had no contact with the consumers at all (they sold their feed to cable companies who then touched the consumers).

            Because of this model of focusing on the talent they leaped so far ahead of everyone else in the broadcast/TV industry (“its not TV. Its HBO”) that they created a real moat despite all the technologies that are now fighting to bring them down. But they can’t be stopped. As opposed to the publishers who have lost their real barriers to entry.

  • Anonymous

     Dear James, About 3 years ago I wasted $350 attending the Texas Writers Conference. It was more like speed dating with agents. It could also be called ‘Come See How Important Agents Think They Are!’ Before I attended, I looked at self-publishing as vanity publishing. After spending 2 days with the bloated egos in the publishing industry, I had a different idea about who was really the vain one.

    You are right on with your comments about why self-publishing is the way to go! I had no idea about the Amazon author’s page. While I put my book project on hold because I didn’t think it was the right time, I just pulled it out recently and your info is invaluable!

     I just downloaded your book on my Kindle and can’t wait to read it this evening.

    Thanks for your fabulous writing!

    • Thats funny about the writers conference. I cant remember but I might’ve left out my experiences with agents so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings but I have some fun stories to tell.

      • Renan Piccolo Colombini

        Please tell them. And don’t see me as a creep green haired stalker, I just stumbled upon the blog now

  • Hey James-

    Just to let you know I bought your book in Kindle form (even though I love, love, love paper) and stayed up all night, curled in bed with my phone, reading.

    The next morning, I revamped my movie, scrapped everything, and redid the story boards. I then thought of an exhibition I could put on at the same time. Then, while biking I met a small scale publisher here in Portland, who then pointed me to other people doing installation art and interview subjects.

    So, new directions and new ambition.

    Thank you for helping me discover what was already in my head!

  • Hey James-

    Just to let you know I bought your book in Kindle form (even though I love, love, love paper) and stayed up all night, curled in bed with my phone, reading.

    The next morning, I revamped my movie, scrapped everything, and redid the story boards. I then thought of an exhibition I could put on at the same time. Then, while biking I met a small scale publisher here in Portland, who then pointed me to other people doing installation art and interview subjects.

    So, new directions and new ambition.

    Thank you for helping me discover what was already in my head!

  • Very encouraging James – will give it a shot starting today. Two questions (if you don’t mind): Do you think self publishing works as well for fiction? How did you tackle promotion? Is it mostly through your blog?
    As an ex music publisher thanks to massive bank fraud which I’ve spent 4 years uncovering ( http://www.ianfraser.org /examining-hbos/ ) I do agree the music industry, like the book publishing industry has got to find new models. But the biggest hurdle is the volume of traffic the new models have – how do you get your book above the parapet?

    If a jobs worth doing (and all that). So I’d love to know your advice on this subject.

    many thanks

  • James, can you share some numbers? The number of hard/kindle/free pdf copies sold/downloaded?

  • James Hayes

    I need help,,,,I am with lulu.com…But seam to have it all here…

    I will be back and back to this page, I am going to do it your way…


    • I felt like lulu wasnt always responsive to answering my questions. I felt like they were overloaded and didnt really care so I decided not to use them. I hope you are having a better experience now.

  • Concrete Dovetail
  • sign guy

    This was one of the most educational yet interesting posts for me as a budding author. I just signed up with fastpencil for my first book on how to remember names. Thanks james

    • What a great idea for a book! Tell us the title when its out.

  • James, I don’t know HOW I found this blog today, but I believe in prayer, so you may be one of my prayers answered. I’ve been so frustrated applying for new jobs and blogging and
    teaching first grade and I want to do more. I have several books in me and now I have a vehicle for expression. That’s HUGE. Thank you for your honesty. I really love that in your
    style of speaking. Your voice comes through and it makes people trust you. Thanks again for your blog posts. You give a lot so I hope good karma comes back to you. :D

    • Thanks Pattie. Please let me know if you do a book. I’m sure you will have fun with it.

  • InvestorAuthor


    Thanks for this blog. Really has had me thinking all day.

    I just finished my first investment book with a major publisher. I’m starting to lay-out book #2 and I cannot figure out why I should deal with a major publisher again. The economics of it are stupid. They do next to nothing. And i didn’t enjoy working with them at all. I’ve been gravitating towards signing with a small niche publisher. Someone who can do the copy editing, contacting and get me international distribution (important for me). But maybe I’m just kidding myself? I publish to put investment ideas out to people I respect. Not unlike a doctor writing journal articles I suppose. So I would far prefer to do a shorter book every 6+ months. Make it a small price. And I really don’t care about the advance or the royalties (although I would like to keep ownership even if there’s no real money).Any thoughts on a small niche publisher with the right terms vs. self-publish?cheers.

    • Particularly for investment-related books where there are so many vehicles to get the word out about the book.

  • Thanks for a very inspirational piece. It does get frustrating to wait months on a rejection from a publisher, and in the meantime tying up your manuscript because many publishers do not like simultaneous submissions. We choose to go the self publishing route with our books, and are just in the beginning stages of it. Marketing and promotion are problems, but we are still happy with our decision.

    • Believe me, I’ve been there and its frustrating. No more.

  • Bob Nightingale

    I’ll have to check this out.  I was looking at spending about $1000 at iUniverse to publish about 300 pages & 25 copies of family history in book form.  At least I won’t lose that on my first book!

    • $1000 is a lot! That’s as if you were doing a coffee table-style book.

  • Myfyna

    I just bought your book…cause I think you’re one of the best voices out there.

  • Greg Speicher

    Hi James, great post. Thanks for sharing. Can you explain how to set up the auto email response to get the PDF and why you set it up this way?

    • I think I’m going to do an FAQ based on the questions here and that will be included. I’m not sure the way i did the auto-responder was the best so im going to think abotu that a bit more.

  • Wolf

    I was just having a play around with CreateSpace – great template for my Microsoft Word Document!

    Since it in based in America, and I’m from Australia, I was curious how the tax situation works: I saw a couple of complicated forms that I would need to fill out; if I don’t, then the US would ‘with-hold’ 30% of the royalties I may make.

    This part of self-publishing is complicated!

    Any advice, or light to shed?

    Thanks – great and helpful article.

    • Sabby

      id like to know too!

  • Anonymous

    All right, I read the entire article and I still don’t get it.  Why would anyone bust his chops to write a book for nothing, other than an ideologue?

    • The same reason published authors do. Published authors get even less money than self-published in most cases. So whatever those reasons are, the same reasons are here.

      Except for one huge difference (actually two):
      A) total control
      B) comes out the day you want it to rather than a year later.

  • Simon Constable

    This is an awesome post James. A great service to writers everywhere.

    • And I know you have stories, Simon. YOU more than everyone should self-publish. Don’t let the editors hold you back!

  • Dr Ellen

    This is a fabulous resource for writers, James. THANKS! [I can tell hair-raising stories about POD publishers and other attempts to gain access to major publishers.] BEWARE POD publishers, including VANITY publishers. Also check out WRITER-BEWARE: http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/ and http://accrispin.blogspot.com/

    Self-publishing is not easy, and Amazon is a bit of a tricky place, too — but if you have a project you have confidence in, then GO FOR IT. Be sure to also check out WRITERMARKET: http://www.writersmarket.com/

    I have a PDF of my children’s book on the web at http://ekrpublications.wordpress.com/ — I plan to follow James’ advice and offer it for free as soon as I can make that change to my blog. 
    Dr. Ellen

    • Ellen, thanks. I bet if you just PDF it and upload it to createspace it will be print-on-demand just like that, for free. And then try the kindle ($69). I bet they can do it.

  • Mutimba Mazwi

    Dear James (or Mr. Altucher),

    Thank you for the lovely articles detailing the effectiveness of createspace by Amazon. But I am not thanking you for the free e-book or PDF version: I am thanking you for your honesty and sincerity.

    Communication strategists and related thinkers have all jumped on the bandwagon of publishing research papers and wanting visitors on their websites to fill in page-long forms before downloading their work.

    Your work is proof yet that life can be simplified, but not simple!

    The download is on, but the conversation remains!

    • I like to have no friction between me and everyone else. Everyone else puts up the wall of “marketing” and “message”. Thats all BS. The entire concept of “Media message” means “lets figure out our 3 lies in advance so we can keep repeating them”. I hope everyone can be honest. But its hard for people.

  • Mutimba Mazwi

    Just curious; why don’t you go to WEDDINGS?

  • Prosperousguy

    Thx James, I have been wanting to publish a book on Automated Trading Systems for a while and although I did do a small 16 page e-book that I have been giving away, I will now use the timely info you posted to get out there and really write a book I can be proud of and to make a difference to others with.

    All the best, Mike Levin

    • Mike, publish today on createspace / Amazon and put the link here!

  • Terrific post

  • Terrific post

  • susan

    James, I just finished writing my first book for children.  I need to include photographs with the storyline.  Any suggestions or things I need to be aware of if I try self publishing?

    • DadosIver

      I’ve read that you have uploaded on this page, and I think you did a pretty talented writer. To be able to understand the text in this book is not difficult and tedious so I can read you create from start to finish. identity verification

  • Mrlucas9000

    If you were in college, you would probably learn about the Amazon author tools by word of mouth, from other students who were into self-publishing.  Just sayin…

  • ozzie

    Brilliant! Thank you for sharing this. I don’t see that anyone has mentioned this, but delete this if they have: you don’t need to email the book to yourself, simply click on the “File” tab to the far left, and select “Download original.” Voila!

  • I’m highly interested in how sales have gone for this book!?!

  • ScottSolomon

    I had a book idea to self-publish a collection of Dysfunctional Family Greeting cards, but when I Googled seems like the idea isn’t original.  My favorite was “Sorry We Missed You!!!  (At your mother’s funeral)”

  • Thanks to your post I am in the process of writing my own book. It’s called Currency Kings and it will feature the best forex traders in the world. Thanks again James

  • Thanks to your post I am in the process of writing my own book. It’s called Currency Kings and it will feature the best forex traders in the world. Thanks again James

  • Thanks to your post I am in the process of writing my own book. It’s called Currency Kings and it will feature the best forex traders in the world. Thanks again James

  • Dave

    can I get the ebook directly into my PC? I dont have kindle :(

  • Scott Thomas

    Incredibly helpful article!  I’m in the process of writing a tell-all, “whistle blowing” book about the industry in which I work. The industry is relatively popular with the public and an “insiders” book has never before been written, so I think there’s a shot it may have some success. However, I will need to write it anonymously … if my colleagues learn I wrote it, I’ll get fired, humiliated, then completely blown up.

    Is it possible to use create source and amazon to write a book under a pseudonym and remain completely anonymous so that NOBODY can trace the back back to it’s real author???

    Thank you, James.  Love your blog!

  • Sooz

    How cool is this entire thread, J.A.?
    I’m just sitting here reading so much that has been added since date of post. It’s clearly obvious the inspiration so many feel .How great is that?

  • I am so glad that you chose this Free to share bit. In my opinion the book isn’t going out for free and your currency is/are the countless people having it on their Google Docs to read anytime, anywhere.

  • Great blog and great book James. For me it’s a case of – ok this guy has been there and done it because I recognise so many of the points you make – shockingly so in some cases. As you say in many instances you have to have been in that situation to understand it and the only way to do that is to put yourself through it. This may well help prepare people though …

  • Hardeep S Rekhi

    I am on a process of writing my first book i.e. ” 300 TIDES ” which is 300 ways( quotes ) to understand the meanings of life , purpose , inspiration and motivation. i want your help to distribute my ideas. i don’t want any money just require your help how to forward my book to maximum readers.  waiting  for your response.

  • Thanks James, this is a really helpful post. I am writing a book at the moment and I was thinking about that if I don’t get a publisher, that I would self publish. But I felt that perhaps it would be harder to market it that way. So I’m glad to discover the Createspace also send it to book shops and you don’t have to wait for someone else to like it. But I still can’t help feeling, that perhaps a new author can benefit from the credibility of being supported by an established publisher?

  • Why is it too late for Dell to get into tablets?

  • Where is Claudia standing on the cover of her book? It looks like Lake Atitlan, Jaibalito.

    • Its the beautiful Hudson River. About 70 miles north of NYC.

  • RS

    Thank you James.  I appreciate your passing this on.  

  • Katie Whitney

    Dude, you rock! This is the first blog entry I’ve read about the demise of the publishing industry that didn’t make me feel depressed and nostalgic. Good luck to you in your quest to spread the word(s).

    • Katie, thanks.  I hope you get a chance to self-publish as well to see how the experience is.

  • Ok. Loving your style. I hate corporate america and the college scam. So you had me at college sucks! Looking forward to finding out more.

  • Zafar Sami

    Hi Jame,
    I tried the free book email method and Google Docs returned an error message “Sorry, we are unable to retrieve the document for viewing or you don’t have permission to view the document.”

  • Mr. James, I like how you write an almost honest blog. I feel a bit connected. keep posting! And maybe if i have the time (and the money) I’ll buy your book. ;)

  • Tvprasad

    Wow! Very interesting book., Just finished reading it in one sitting (NO kidding!).
    Actually I have already  been following some of these ides (of giving away ideas – see my blog at tvprasad.com ).  Looking forward to good times ahead…

  • drdisaster

    James–I finished writing a novel about seven years ago, and commenced my quest for an agent.  Out of who-knows-how-many queries I sent out, I got only one who wanted to see more (before they too rejected it).  I came across your blog a few months ago, and finally persuaded myself to follow your advice.  My book goes active on Amazon in the next week, something I probably would never have seen if not for your timely advice and warning about the publishing industry’s imminent demise.  Thanks.

  • Wow! Not only have you offered wonderfully valuable information here, you’ve captured the essence of how and why everything is changing. Basically, to borrow a phrase from Alan Kay, now we can all go out and invent the future. Thank you!

  • michelle

    i love this blog.  keep being awesome.

  • Hi James, I’ve been reading your blog for about 2 months now and I’ve read this 3 times. Thank you, I am finally going to take your advice and do this.  Thank you for your writing, your advice and your encouragement to the world.  Thank you!

  • Michelle Burleson

    Dear James, As Always, Thank you. Kinda the same thing, but only different: http://amandahocking.blogspot.com/2010/08/epic-tale-of-how-it-all-happened.html

  • Anonymous

    Hi James, I just the programming part of your scholastic training and man I have a dept of  $30K it is true I don’t know how to program other than “hello world” how funny don’t you think?

    Thanks I will read your book and start working on my business.

  • Anonymous

    I am twice or may be thrice your age. I wish if I had met you or seen your web site earlier. Your writing is amazingly good and interesting.
    Long life for you (We call it Aubovan in Sinhala).
    Createspace the best I have found.
    I my case i started writing when I was on a long trade Union action in which I had no control. Others were controlling. I was bored to death and started writing. My first book was Buddhism Made Simple and it is there at Amazon’s.
    I use Linux and it has all the utilities for writing.
    KIT (Keep in Touch) with your writing.
    I promote Linux.

  • i think i love you. i’ll let you know when my book is available (for purchase AND free on goog)

  • Anonymous

    I like the way you fearlessly convince others to jump into the self-publishing pool. I have some manuscripts – non-fiction and will soon start taking lessons in the pool. Hope to emerge a winner…this post just encouraged me once again to give self-publishing a shot…and I enjoyed your post over at Problogger.net….

  • James is always ahead of the curve my light years

  • James is always ahead of the curve by LIGHT YEARS

  • free on kindle – write that book already http://www.amazon.com/Write-That-Book-Already-ebook/dp/B005GLBJGW/ref=sr_1_36?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1322263472&sr=1-36

  • Giovanni

    Question: Who bought 400,000 typewriters in 2009… and why?

    • mary

      I was wondering the same thing!

    • Gabriel

       Africans…. we don’t have electricity everywhere and still need typed documents. Is that OK?

      • himagain

        400,000 Africans are still typing things. That’s a big market!

  • Your email address isn’t working to get the free book.  I keep getting a message that says the delivery was aborted…  I just finished reading “I was Blind” and enjoyed it.  

  • James, sent the email to get the free PDF, but the email address came back as invalid.

  • I finished my first novel and, after having it edited professionally, hit up about 50 agents, with most of them either not replying or sending me form rejections.  That got me into researching about the publishing industry, and I came up with the same conclusions Altucher did.  

    The book industry is clinging in vain to a centuries-old business model wherein the Harry Potters and Tom Clancys subsidize the never-ending titles bound for the discount bin, which accounts for publishers’ stinginess with advances as well as overpickiness (I’m sure that’s not a word, but you know what I mean) when it comes to signing new authors.  Tragic since, like showbiz, book publishing is an industry that needs new blood to reinvigorate itself.

    As to acquisitions, it is entirely reliant on the acq-editors’ tastes & prejudices, which oftentimes is at odds with what the reading market wants at the moment.  Undemocratic, inefficient, and ultimately unprofitable.  This shouldn’t be the case as readership is slowly but surely crawling up, so now I’ve begun to go the Amazon.com self-publishing path.

  • Great post, but when I tried to get this ebook, I got this:
    “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:    LuckiestPersonAlive@gmail.comTechnical details of permanent failure:Account disabled ”

  • amazon/create space is both a huge boon and a hindrance.. as anyone can publish, with no criteria to assess its quality.  CS merely makes sure format is to spec.  BUT- then there has also been a buttload of crap titles put out by the major 5, also. 

    I’ll add that the Cs community is top-notch.  If you have a Question or issue- post it and you’ll get massive help-support from people who have worked through these same issues..

    I have also opted to publish via the indie route- for several reasons.

    1- no one should get rights to something permanently, when they will give it less than 6 months shelf time. thats crap!

    2- publishers are doing ZIP to promote authors or books.. and even upon submission, they want full business plans for what I the author will do to promote my book. all the legwork, none of the profit!

    also- it SHOULD be, that w/ POD and modern tech printing- publishers should be taking MORE risks, not LESS- with mid-stack authors and new authors.

    a publisher no longer has to make a commitment of many thousands and thousands of printed copies they used to need to printthat they MIGHT get stuck with. but no! rather than becoming more innovative, w/ less risk involved.. there is l
    there is less and less innovation breadth depth or new talent on the shelves.

    thank god for sites/ places like goodreads, smashwords, authorsden and their like.  also- for Amazon.. which does a lot toward leveling the playing field.. at least while not being entirely level.. players who otherwise never get a chance to get onto the field.. stand a chance- provided they 1- have put out something that is decent quality, and 2- do their legwork in promotion and audience building:)

    amazons create space community is hugely supportive.. the forums have covered many of the difficulties first time, and seasoned authors may encounter, and there are seasoned veterans who are very quick to step forward with input and help problem solve!

  • Chris Keane

    I’m in the same situation that you were. I have 15 books published, two still in print, 12 in the living room shelves, doing nothing. I maybe should have gone with CreateSpace instead of handing the first two hardcover books over to indy ebook companies for scanning and formatting, but I didn’t know. Now I do. Thank you. Your message is inspiring. I still don’t quite understand some of your terminology but I will find out.


    Christopher Keane

  • Alohav

    hi gang

    is the book in pdf format still available? i can’t seem to find download instructions.

    keep up the brutally honest style, i love it.
    the only way to live

  • Anonymous

    Pardon the re-post, but I think it’s worth stating again. With so many free resources for self-published authors, why would anyone go the traditional route these days?  Here are two free tools for self-published authors worth noting http://99cent-books.com and http://bookclubreading.com.  Thanks again for writing your story.  It’s very informative. 

  • Erinandpatbeattie

    James.. amazing as usual! i’m taking your lead :) 

  • Melissa9168

    hi James, i don’t own a Kindle but i do have iphone and Samsung Galaxy – can i purchase your books there?

  • grateful to find you. nodding with every word. that you shared your courage and honesty and what impelled you here matters so much. makes getting your book (s) a no brainer but vastly more gives the green light to the nudge i’ve been sensing for a while now. thank you. funny how we tend to get how to say yes to ourselves ….and yet even still…when others profess what we resonate with….there’s that okay. cool. more of a go ahead. i long for the day when i wont need that but hey. i value that i still do. and here your post / ideas are. so thank you for that. truly.

  • Anonymous

    I love you.

  • Hey James – this is a great article – thanks!

    I just got my first check from Amazon, $100 and I’m due for another one for $120. My Smashwords balance is $161. And that was from my “practice” books when I first found out about self-publishing.

    I just did my Create Space version of my new book “Lucky Bitch” and that’s the one that I’m actually building a platform around.. Very exciting to say the least!

    Already having a book to talk about has changed my business a lot, increased my list by 64% and my coaching income by many $$$$.

    I agree with you – we all have to share our successes here!

  • Krakondack

    James, I’ve published a Kindle book and went through the pricing exercise also.  Here’s what I did:  For 5 days I gave it away free, using Amazon’s promotional thing to get it out there.  1,500 people downloaded it.  But I also had links in the book to a web page with more info.  Only about 20 people clicked the link.  I’m estimating that only around 100 actually read the book.  There’s a Kindle crowd that linkes to download a lot for very cheap or free, then pick and choose what they actually read, which tends to be very little.  I concluded there was no benefit to me to do this.  Numbers downloaded is not a valuable metric if precious few actually read it.  I reverted to 5 bucks as the price, which is not too much for anyone who is legitimately interested in reading it.  It’s slow going so far, but no slower than the numbers reading it before. 

    • Have you tried $2.99 instead of $5 because I read somewhere that the price does well and still gets a high commission, but 99 cents book do the best? I say that because I am a voracious reader, but  I will spend no more than $3 on a book.

  • Twigstories

    Hi, James,

    Thank you. I feel so validated. I chose CreateSpace, too, after being told by publishers that my books would not be available for 3-4 years! After comparing publishers, CreateSpace offered everthing I needed, especially a design team that could work with the Disney artist who illustrates my series. I now have  two beautiful young reader books out there in schools and libraries. They have been endorsed by educators, researchers, and nonprofits, and are offered worldwide by Amazon as paperback, via Kindle, and by every online bookseller. 

    Thank goodness for CreateSpace because I didn’t know what I was doing – but they didn’t let me fall, or my books fail. After reading your article, I feel so smart!

    Thanks, and best of luck with all your endeavors in 2012!

    Jo Marshall, http://facebook.com/twigstories  and http://www.twigstories.com  

  • Michael Schroeder

    I published a book with a vanity press publisher (POD) eight years ago. I have the pdf of the book in my word files.  What do I need to do to get it published as an E-book? Thanks

  • Jashodhara

    I have just finished writing my first fiction book. Does your advice work for writers in the Indian space writing for an Indian audience? My content is probably not multi-cultural.

  • Jennifer Arfa

    I’m comparing Alex Becker to BubbleCow for help with self-publishing my first novel. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  • Gideon

    Thank you so much! I am about to finish writing a book, and didn’t really know what to do with it. Your writing provided great inspiration (BTW – I first read you in Hebrew, on Ha’aretz website, which translated your ‘bussiness card’ post; so your ideas do get far). All the best for you!

    • Jenniferarfa

      hey, what do you mean ‘business card’ post??

  • Sanguru1969

    James…  You know your post about self publishing was the only one I found that actually made sense.   Being that I am starting out and am a fairl;y good writer and have published items in some trade journals I need to go the next step and write a book.   Your article has provided more insight about details that anyone needs to get going especially resources and lessons learned.  I spoke to some authors and they told me about the publisher route…. No way for me rather a root canal. Self publishing makes so much more sense and the Createspace option has options that would be useful  Shall see how this works out for me..
     Thank you for sharing and spending your time to help others.  JPH

  • Extremely helpful post!  Thanks for sharing this step-by-step process.  I didn’t realize the commissions were that high through CreateSpace. Very good to know.

  • Interesting and helpful.

  • Hi James,

    I am fortunate to be a subscriber to the Harvard Business Review ‘Morning Advantage’; perhaps I have been living in the stone age, but I only just discovered you and your blog via this daily newsletter… I feel fortunate to have made this discovery nonetheless…

    I am commenting because I have been thinking of writing a book – I havent decided on the exact theme or layout, but I do know I want to write one. Maybe about my experiences in an anecdotal format, maybe about life (not that I am qualified to do so, but who is anyway?). 

    How would you recommend I start? What was the first thing you wrote when you started your first book? Was that the actual starting point which was eventually published?

    Keep the great work up – you have another happy reader here…


  • Indigocloud

    I’ve written 15 books – guess whose publishers had never told her about Amazon Author Central – yep, no prizes. Thank YOU!

  • Tirtha

    Great, James. Very helpful and inspiring. I have several books and a recent friend went the createspace way. Somehow I found you on line here, so I am grateful and will get all your books. You can find me on dharmasouls.wordpress. Thanks again and don’t disappear completely until I get all your books!

  • AllanMarston

    James I just discovered your Blog through Tech Crunch and I have become an absolute instant fan.

  • Jill N

    Thank you for this post and for being so honest. For some reason, people think that the publisher is like a golden parachute. They don’t realize how much the rules of the game have changed.

    I recently published my cookbook, The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes, after the publisher told me last May that they couldn’t publish until June 2012. Why? I don’t know but  it was their choice.

    I did it on my own and had a book in my hands in December. I quickly made back what it cost me for my book designer and I am much happier.

    I am now at work on my 3rd and 4th books. I have to check out Create Space based on your recommendation.

    I love that you “tell it like it is”. You also have worked hard to build “your platforn” and people need to understand that it takes time and energy to write a book and get it into the world. But it doesn’t have to be a painful or expensive process, as you express.

  • Gianpaolo Galli

    Ciao from Italy !
    I’ve followed your example and with Kindle Direct Punishing (By Amazon) I have my Italian ebook on dieting fro her online with just the net cost of the ebook cover. Thanks for you writings! Ciao.

  • James – thanks for your article. It helped to inspire me to publish my first ebook. Talk about a revolutionary change in the publishing market! To date I have sold 3 copies of my ebook for 99 cents each(one of those copies to myself,) and I am already profitable! Something like 40 cents in the black!

    • Jeff Parks

      How did you do that? Amazon.com was quoting me prices beteween $2-$5K

  • EmmaB

    Wow, very interesting, I’m writing my first book at the moment, and this is advice is brilliant. Thank you so much, I will be going down this road :)))
    I can’t wait to look up your blog.

  • Nicole

    Hi James,

    I have sent letters to many publishing companies and all have said, we are not taking any manuscript without an agent. Well, I’m going to try your way. Thank you.

  • Kelly McLean Easton

    I am working on my autobiography, and have been trying to figure out the best way to get it published without going through a publishing house. I have also wanted to go through Amazon to become self-published. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this article. You have inspired me to finish my book and get published as soon as possible.

  • prottasha


    frnds get into da lynk.den lyk da pics…………………………..plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz dn’t refuse da lyk.plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz lyk it.

  • Amanda Steadman

    Love Self Publishing and all the CONTROL you have with Create Space. Just ordered another load of books to sell myself locally and it really is a level playing field now so I am also showing others how to do it – very empowering!!
    Thanks for the blog James!

  • Rethinkr

    I must be missing something… youi say “Personally, I would prefer if you get the free book – directions below to get it.” but there are no directions???

  • Great info about the Author’s page. I have to do it on time. Thanks

  • I started self-publishing in 1989. Since then, my books have sold over 850,000 copies worldwide. I have had the ocassional traditional publisher over the years and would still go with one under the right circumstances.

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    The Prosperity Guy
    “Helping Adventurous Souls Live Prosperous and Free”
    Author of the Bestseller “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”
    (Over 225,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and the International Bestseller “The Joy of Not Working”
    (Over 275,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

  • I have always wanted to publish a book – even contacted an agent with a draft chapter once and was a little put off by the experience. The agent asked another author for comment who was vaguely critical – I asked for an explanation – perhaps it was the way I did it :)

    It is rare that someone takes the time out to explain how things really are. I appreciate your candor James. This and your previous post on your first five books are the most helpful summary on self publishing I have seen so far.

  • Thomas Daniels

    I have a book up on create space, (in your face tennis),and need to sell it more, I would thinking of just traveling and giving clinics,what do you think about that idea?

  • andrea

    James, you are the sh!t! thank you…

  • Mark Breen

    From the heart. I cannot impress upon you enough how much I can relate to this blog. For so long, I have wanted to share my story with the world. Instead, I have been sidetracked with advice to write a self-help book or something related to finance etc.. Thanks James! For you have given me the inspiration that I needed to tell my story. A story that is well worth sharing. I really appreciate your honesty and your humility!


  • name

    thanks for the information.