The Simple Dollar Book 2: Electric Boogaloo

A while back, I mentioned some half-formed ideas about a book based on The Simple Dollar and, as you can see from the comments there, many readers thought it wasn’t the best idea. So I shelved it

I had a very serious nibble from a book publisher this past week who thought that my series, The Road to Financial Armageddon, would make a good title. She asked me to put together a proposal and I managed to just get that finished a short little while ago (yes, not only was I in the middle of a move, working a full time job, being a parent, and keeping the writing up for The Simple Dollar, but I also managed to crank out a solid book proposal in a week – thank you, caffeine!).

Here’s the deal. The book is proposed to be about 320 pages and it’s basically an expansion on the ten part Road to Financial Armageddon series (the title would probably be different). Basically, the material would be very similar – I would literally write a personal finance biography of my life (blurring a few details here and there for privacy reasons) and also include the applicable lessons I learned, much like that series. It would go substantially more in depth than that series, of course. The book would also include a twenty page or so compression of the best ideas from the 31 Days To Fix Your Finances series (this is just an idea we’ve bandied about that may or may not actually appear).

The question is does this idea appeal to you as a reader of The Simple Dollar? Would you actually be willing to pick this up in hardback or in trade paperback form? I would imagine the price would be comparable to most hardbacks and trade paperbacks.

I’m mostly using this, again, to judge interest in the idea. To me, it sounds far more palatable to a reading audience than my earlier book ideas, and this one actually has a good tug from a potential publisher.

Please, let me know what you think in the comments. As before, I’m quite happy if you don’t like the idea – feel free to say so – because if most readers think the idea is subpar, it’s probably really not worth my time investment, as readers of The Simple Dollar are really among the core people who would be interested in such a book and might buy it.

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  1. db says:

    Trent:

    I really think the real question is do YOU think you’d buy the book (assuming you hadn’t written it yourself that is).

    If you have certain dreams of becoming a real, honest-to-goodness author (as opposed to a real, honest-to-goodness blogger), then by all means work on the book and publish it.

    My thought is that you won’t be verbatim lifting either series and just putting it into a printed book — you’ll need to take that content and work with it to make it fit the published format. In that, you have decent content to start with, and you’ll find new stuff too.

    Does that process excite you? It will change the writer you are today, certainly.

    I remember some of the earlier comments and thought some of them weren’t very generous. My thought is that you’ll need to work a little to make the book truly publishable — but that its absolutely within your reach to do so. Every guru out there starts off being somebody who really doesn’t deserve to be in print. The best way to deserve it is to go through the process of doing it!

    Do it if your heart wants it.

    DB

    P.S. — Also be prepared to work to get the book read, and don’t rely on your blog family!

  2. Hippolytos Stephanepheros says:

    Dear Trent:

    If you have a publisher contacting you about writing a book, of course you should write it! Who cares what the people who read your blog think? This is a fantastically exciting opportunity! With a book, you will be reaching an entirely different audience, many of whom might have no idea that your blog exists.

    As far as I am concerned, I am very frugal indeed, and although I would love to see you publish a book, I wouldn’t buy it. I would definitely check it out of the library, though.

    Hippolytos

  3. miguel says:

    I think this is a bad question to ask this group, since I suspect most people here have their finances in order. You’d be preaching to the choir.

    I do think this is a good idea for a book, and it would help to open the eyes of people who think they are doing well by spending, spending, spending.

  4. Soni says:

    Sounds good to me.

    Be prepared for lots of work marketing it, though – time away from family, etc. Check out the late, great Ms. Snark’s Snarkives for great insider insight into the book publishing biz.

    http://snarkives.blogspot.com/

  5. smedley says:

    Trent!
    You only live once!
    And when opportunity knock…Knock…Knocks!

  6. David Hunter says:

    Trent go ahead and write it. You will get a lot out of the experience even if it isn’t a best seller. And it will probably help some people. And heck maybe I am wrong and it will be a best seller, I doubt you can judge these sorts of things. It certainly sounds like a better idea for a book than some of your past suggestions.

    Would I read it? Probably.
    Would I buy it? Probably not, that is what libraries are for. But who knows if I really enjoy the library copy I might.

    Cheers
    David

  7. Go for it! There are lots of people that need the practical nature of your writing that would greatly benefit from understanding what you have understood through experience. Lots of people still don’t get blogs (I know that sounds crazy but its true), and sometimes a book you can gift them is a really great thing to have rather than a ream from my printer.

  8. Laurel says:

    I do at least 95% of my reading online at this point (which is really a tragedy), and 100% of my self-improvement/financial improvement is online.

    I don’t really have the patience for self-improvement/financial improvement books… I need my advice/tips in small doses. My attention span on such subjects is a bit limited.

    So I would not buy such a book, because I NEVER buy that kind of book, even though I do read your blog and other finance/productivity blogs online.

    Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write it, though – it just means I’m not your target market! :)

  9. dave says:

    there is no down side to giving it a go. i’d at least get it from the library(frugal).

  10. S. B. says:

    In all honesty, I probably would not read it because the proposed topic does not really seem to translate to my personal situation. But I wouldn’t let responses like mine discourage you — I’m sure there are a lot of people that would be interested in reading it.

    But while we are on this topic…you said: “yes, not only was I in the middle of a move, working a full time job, being a parent, and keeping the writing up for The Simple Dollar, but I also managed to crank out a solid book proposal in a week – thank you, caffeine!”

    Now that is the book I would buy and read! (i.e. a book explaining how you get so many things done in a timely manner) I wish I had your time management skills…

  11. Hojimoto says:

    Go for it!

  12. Dave says:

    Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

  13. DJ says:

    I think 320 pages is too long, as was the 600+ pages you envisioned for the original book.

    Also, it’s a bit ironic that you who repeatedly discourage your readers from buying books, but rather finding ways to get them for free, are now going to be relying on people purchasing your own book.

  14. Jake Smith says:

    While I read your blog religiously, it is highly unlikely that I will purchase your book. With the plethora of personal finance blogs and websites out there, it doesn’t make sense financially to purchase a book on the subject…

  15. Joel says:

    Trent:

    I’m going to echo what a lot of other people on here have said already. The blog audience (especially those of us who subscribe to and read YOUR blog) is not the target audience of a book. We are converted, more or less. Most of us have gone through the kind of meltdown that you did to one degree or another and have come out or are coming out on the other side.

    But other people haven’t had that revelation yet. Would I read it? Probably. Would I buy it for myself? Doubtful. Would I buy it for friends in similar circumstances? Very likely. I have given away nearly a dozen copies of The Total Money Makeover to friends and relatives since Christmas.

    I would be interested in reading about your book-writing experiences as well. Your narrative style is fun. :)

  16. I think this is much more likely to fly than the previous idea. It’s a good bit shorter, and you’d be writing from a position of strength/knowledge. For you previous idea, I think it would be tough to sell yourself as a personal finance expert at that level when you readily admit that you basically “discovered” personal finance within the past year. Instead, if you write about how you got into trouble, what it was like to be teetering on the brink, and steps you took to move away from the edge, it would be much more compelling.

    To be completely honest, I doubt that I’d buy it. However, I’d be happy to read and review a complimentary copy. ;)

    Nonetheless, I think it would be far more saleable than the previous proposal (though 300+ pages might still be a bit much, even though it’s about half the length of the previous idea).

  17. guinness416 says:

    Hey congrats, and yes I’ll buy it. I think I commented in your previous “book post” that I didn’t think you had the experience (a year or so out of financial meltdown) to offer general advice, especially to people with different lifestyles to yours. But I think your writing on your own story/family/etc is really excellent and while I was never in financial armageddon myself will definitely read your book and see what pointers I could pick up.

  18. George says:

    I think it’d be a good idea, and I’d stand a good chance of buying it, or harassing my library to order a copy.

  19. guinness416 says:

    That’s a good point George. All the people saying “oh, I’d NEVER buy a book” but wanting to support the author should be telling their libraries to get it, and then checking it out!

  20. Barbara says:

    Most financial books seem to be cut and dry nuts and bolts kind of things and they bore me or tell me stuff that I already know. I think your personal take on getting finances in order backed up by your actual experiences is something that’s probably missing in the market of financial books. (Also is seems like many of the financial books are written by already rich guys/gals.) Like the others, I would probably not be the market since I have found your awesome blog already! But I think it could benefit a great number of people. Good luck!

  21. Anna says:

    Yes, do it. If a publisher is interested, it means that someone who knows the market thinks such a book will sell, probably to the vast numbers of people who are still more book-oriented than blog-oriented.

    Conventional wisdom says that personal stories are always more compelling than dry advice. And your personal story is what is being packaged and marketed.

    Speaking from professional experience (I’ve been in publishing for many years), I must emphasize that your publisher needs to be the reputable kind who will pay you an advance against royalties as soon as the contract is signed, not the kind who will charge you to publish your book. If it’s the latter, run away immediately, and run fast.

    Read your contract carefully. The standard contract favors the publisher more than the author, but the terms in it are always up for negotiation if you know how and what to negotiate. Look for an agent who belongs to the Association of Authors’ Representatives, which requires its members to adhere to ethical standards:

    Agents do not merely market manuscripts to publishers, but negotiate contracts with them on terms more favorable to authors. An agent who does not have to beat the bushes for a publisher, since a publisher has already come to you and saved the agent that part of the job, will likely be happy to take you on and negotiate a good contract for you.

    Expect a good editor to make many suggestions about restructuring and revising your manuscript. Pay attention — you’re in this for the money as well as for the more intangible benefits, and the folks in the business know their business.

    Finally, don’t listen to the few people on earlier threads who told you your writing was bad. You have a good clear writing style. Everyone needs improvement, but you’re starting way ahead of the pack.

    Good luck!

  22. Anna says:

    For some weird reason the web site I included in my post above did not register. I’ll try again:

    http://www.aar-online.org/mc/page.do

  23. Ted V says:

    I think that stuff is the best, and most interesting, part of your site. Keep it personal and think you could have a winner. Best of luck.

  24. kim says:

    I wouldn’t but it, but only because I don’t buy any books. I would definitely ask my library to stock it so I could check it out.
    Is it a mainstream publishing house or a pay to print outfit?

  25. trb says:

    I’ve been lurking and soaking up wisdom for a couple of months. I find your ideas solid and personal enough to mean something to me. Here’s a fact that I think most people posting have missed – the market for people who are in financial crisis is significantly larger and more willing to spend money on books than the market for thrifty folks who are trying to get their affairs in order. Go to your local chain bookstore and watch people shell out cash for all kinds of things they could find at the library or do without – a title like “my financial meltdown” would speak to these people! How do you feel about making money off folks who are in near desperate situations, who haven’t yet come to the realization that they need to do something differently? Here, you get to reach us and the corporations foot the bill. On the shelf, it’s individuals who are out the $20. If you publish this book, Trent, it’s not for us, and many of the people who pick it up won’t be ready to make the transitions that we are attempting. But some of them will, and for them it will likely be life-changing, especially with the follow-up help of this blogging community.

  26. mjh says:

    the readers of this blog are NOT the audience for this book. I would imagine that most of your readers have already been through the meltdown themselves and are starting to emerge from the other side, with a newly forged frugal outlook that may preclude them from buying new books (as opposed to borrowing or buying secondhand).

    That isn’t to say that there isn’t any audience for a book of this type. Read the financial pages’ stories of America’s debt and consumption headaches and it will be crystal clear that there is.

    So I say go for it.

    I like this idea more than the other (actually I didn’t like the other much at all- as you know it was not at all defined). It is personal, so you don’ need to argue that you are “qualified”, as you would have with the broader idea. It could be read as a PF book, or as a memoir, just as Augusten Burroughs’ book “Dry” can be read as both a helpful book about alcoholism and as a powerful memoir.

    A few more points.
    *Please include an upswing- a hefty portion of the book that details the climb out of the pit, to prevent the readers feeling helpless.

    *perhaps a ongoing (not unnecessarily real-life) tally of assets, debts, net worth, mistakes made and lessons learned, at the end of each chapter. This would sum up neatly the key message from each life stage, and allow the reader to track the descent in more concrete terms.

    *part of what I enjoy in the blog, and would in a book, is how you outline not just what you have learned, but how you learned it. Make this a record of your financial education as well as your mistakes and mistake fixes.

    cheers from New Zealand, and best of luck with the book.

  27. Flexo says:

    I think you should go for it… but a recently released book carries the title Financial Armageddon, so I’d stay away from the title proposed by the publisher.

  28. vh says:

    Self-help books sell exceptionally well. A good flying guess at Suze Ormond’s net worth gives you an idea of how well self-help books on money sell. You are a far more engaging writer than Suze Ormond, your thinking is fresher, and you have fewer annoying mannerisms–at least in writing. With effective marketing, you could make a ton of money on a book based on The Simple Dollar (which, BTW, is probably the ideal title).

    The worst drech sells when marketed effectively and relentlessly–a rather dreadful how-to guide to math I wrote for a client a few years ago grossed $2 million in its first year in print and a million the following year. Combine the book with a CD, a video, and this blog, and you’re looking at early retirement.

    Just be careful who you publish with. As Anna notes, read the contract carefully. Flee any “publisher” who asks you to pay to take your book to print; ditto any “agent” who proposes to charge a reading fee. Even if the publisher is legit, nothing says you can’t inquire at a few other houses before making up your mind. Indeed, if more than one publisher expresses genuine interest, you’re in a good bargaining position.

    Go to the library and get the current _Literary Marketplace_ (LMP) from the reference desk. Among other things, this resource indexes publishers by the subject matter they publish. Look up “personal finance” and “self-help” to find promising markets. LMP provides names, addresses, and phone numbers for editors at most or all of these houses. Use them well.

    For an agent (which you really don’t need to market a nonfiction book–just get a decent contract lawyer to review anything you sign)–go to the Association of Authors’ Representatives website.

  29. bk says:

    the reason i subscribed to your feed was because of how much i liked your 10 part series. this is a much better book idea than the last one (the last book idea was too generic – i like reading more personal stories of what people did wrong and what they did as opposed to generic tips of what to do, etc.).

  30. bk says:

    and yes, i really think i would buy your book 1) out of curiousity and 2) to support all your hard work on this blog

  31. Laura says:

    I like the idea and think it would sell, but to be honest, no I would not buy it. I can get that info for free online and prefer to do the majority of my reading on the Internet. The only real books I buy anymore are usually fiction, for my own personal enjoyment.

  32. Also Dave says:

    Dave @ 5:13, just what I was thinking.
    Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t give it a go.

  33. Andrew says:

    I would buy the book, just as I buy most personal finance books, to see if there is any applicable/new information contained therein. My only thought regarding your post is about blurring certain details for privacy reasons. Depending on the details, I think there are limits as to what you should privatize in a published book. I’m not interested in an ‘anonymous’ personal finance book, or any book – I want to know more about you, see an author photo, etc… So I don’t think it would be feasible to publish such as book as maintain the anonymity you’ve had so far.

  34. I agree with some of the previous posts – writing from a personal viewpoint is always much more interesting to me than just using some generic examples. It sounds like a valid idea and if you’re going to enjoy doing it, then go for it. But, I would also take into consideration where you family is at during this time of your life. You’re about to have a new baby, your son is young, so you might not want to take time out of your precious free time to write a book at this point. What does your wife think?

  35. Mitch says:

    Sounds like a good idea for a book–a story that is ripe for the telling in a niche that is underserved (i.e. compelling morality plays about PF). I agree with those who say your current readers are a secondary audience for this book. Myself, I am trying to pare down my personal library right now but would certainly read it, probably recommend/discuss it, and possibly buy it (to give or lend). Definitely heed the advice of Anna and others; it certainly fits what I have read about the publishing world.

  36. David Hunter says:

    And keep in mind that the book also serves a marketing role, hopefully it will convert some of that vast majority of book readers into blog readers…

    So even if it isn’t a best seller it still may be a sensible idea from your perspective.

    Cheers
    David (Another NZer, but based now in Northern Ireland)

  37. Tordr says:

    I do not read a lot of books, I do most of my reading online.

    But on to discussing the book:
    Let first say, you are writing a book, one post at a time. It is a great book and it is getting better day by day. It is even better than a paper book as we the readers get it for free over the internet and can comment on it.

    I am slow at writing so I will never write a book, but if you want to write a book, then go for it. It will not be a bestseller, but with the right marketing it can sell well. Concerning the book, I would also look beyond the dollars and cents and look at what you are creating for the world. Maybe 40 years in the future you can look back and be proud that you have written a book.

    As for the actual publishing, be very careful of the contract you are signing. Once you have signed with a publisher it will not be your book anymore, the publishers will have the copyright to that book. Also be aware that some badly worded contracts also transfer ownership of the blog (or other online material) to the publisher.

    On a last note maybe you can combine writing the book and the blog. Give us small snippers of the book as part of your blog, get us interested in reading the whole thing. Give us loyal readers half of the book for free, get us to the point where we are dying to read the end, then put the finished book up for sale (maybe as an e-book for those of us who read mostly online). We humans love a great story and once we get the first half we will do anything to hear the rest of the story.

    Then when the book is gathering dust in the back of the stores, release it for free on this site, so you add more content to this blog (as I think your main idea is to generate revenue from this blog, not from sales of books).

    These are just my ideas for publishing as I am doing a lot of reading online. I have more to say, but I think this comment is long enough as it is.

  38. Sharon says:

    I think this is a good idea. I don’t think any ther “guru”s have talked about where they went bad…in any detail… or the attitude behind it. And where that attitude came from.
    I also think that since you have money coming in from other sources involving money (blog, articles you write for MSN MOney) it might be worthwhile to hire a lawyer specializing in these things to ensure that those are left free for you. Also to be clear that you can use the material on the blog. You don’t want to be in trouble because you re-used something on the blog in the book. Because again in a badly worded contract, that could become theirs.

  39. lori says:

    I think you should go for it.

    My suggestion is to offer several stories of people whose finances were in a complete mess -and how they turned it around. I think it could be valuable to many people because it could show different techniques of getting out of a financial nighmare. The one thing I have against many finance books is they are too generalized. “Develop a budget, stop using credit cards, start saving” – is not helpful enough to someone who is already in the debt dungeon.

  40. kel says:

    i think this book would be a good idea and you should go for it. i think it could help people who need financial help.

  41. Rich G. says:

    This one sounds much more palatable than the previous one did. It also sounds more targeted and readable.

    I like the idea and look forward to hearing how it goes.

  42. Eric says:

    I think most of the my thoughts were mentioned above. Seems like a good opportunity and overall seems like a good topic. Keep the melt down applicable to many people. Not sure if I missed it but I didn’t see a retirement discussion. I probably wouldn’t buy for myself but could buy for others. I don’t listen to Clark Howard because I already know most of the stuff, even though I really like him and his advice.

  43. Eric says:

    This is much more appealing to me than the last idea. A great narrative about your story with some financial advice strewn in would be a great idea for a book. I would probably borrow from the library but recommend to friends!

    Good Luck!

  44. Paula says:

    I like reading about other people’s lives. Yes I would buy the book. Just add a section about how you pulled yourself out, too!

  45. Jen says:

    I wouldn’t buy it because I get all of my books from the library, but I would probably read it.

  46. Brian says:

    Oh definitely if you are getting contacted by a publisher. Aside from actually writing the book, that is the most difficult part (some may say more difficult as its out of your control). So, if you want to do it, go for it!

  47. Sarah says:

    As someone who didn’t like your other idea for a book, I have to say that this sounds like a much better idea! You should go for it if you feel comfortable with working with this publisher.

  48. Gordy says:

    I am a new reader of The Simple Dollar so have little of your writing history to refer to. But- what I have read shows a very cogent, relevant and most importantly personable style. If you can make the leap to book length and retain that readability I’m sure the book will be a success. Good Luck

  49. Karen says:

    Except for the title, sounds like a good idea. Somehow, a religious overtone in a discussion about success with financial affairs just doesn’t hit the spot; sounds too much like something a big-haired TV evangelist might call a book s/he wrote. If it were the road to financial enlightenment or similar, I might know better from the title that I would learn about money and get the Aha! experience you did.

  50. kman says:

    Trent,

    Just write it. Stop the opinion ping-pong and do it.
    Success or fail it will change the landscape for you and open new perspectives and opportunities that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

  51. SwingCheese says:

    I agree with Lori – if possible, include other people who have also experienced financial meltdown. If possible, maybe you could try to include people whose path to debt-dom was different than yours. That way, you can provide a personal appeal to a larger audience.

    I really like the personalized approach. When someone is willing to admit their mistakes and show the path they chose to rectify those mistakes, it makes their outcome seem infinitely more tangible for me. It also helps when someone admits how difficult it can be to maintain a frugal lifestyle.

    To end this comment with a wholly unoriginal thought: I would insist that my library purchase a copy of this book. But I can think of several people for whom I would purchase a copy as a well-intended wake-up call. Write on!

  52. Wyntyr says:

    Trent,
    I would very much appreciate it if you would write a book. I do not own a laptop, so I can’t take my computer to the toilet with me. I can sit in the tub and soak while typing away. I can’t take my computer with me when on a long trip, while I’m waiting in line, while I’m sitting at the park, (you get the idea yet?)sitting in the doctor’s office waiting room, etc… Yes, being online is a great thing..but when the power goes out, I’ll always have a candle and a book waiting.
    Not only that, but my parents aren’t the most technologically advanced people in the world. My father thinks the internet is evil. My mother isn’t too far off from that opinion. But a nice hardback book would make a great gift to both of them. (As well as other members of my family, friends, and basically anyone that can read!)

    I am a great lover of books, I definitely would buy yours. I urge you to go through with it.

    Thanks for this blog..and thanks for your insight.

  53. Imelda says:

    Like others have said, we’re not really the ones to ask about the book–we’ve read your story already, after all, so why buy it in print?

    That being said, I DO hope you’ll include the 31 Days to Fix Your Finances (or even turn it into its own book!). It’s such a useful and important exercise, something really worthwhile that I think should be exposed to as many people as possible!

  54. Chessiq says:

    Sorry, this time I didn’t take the time to read all the comments, so I may repeat what other people have already said. Writing is different from blogging. When you had thought about blogging, you probably went through what I and other people went through… wondering if you should do it, will people read it, etc. You went ahead and did it because … I don’t know. You thought you had something to offer. Something that was good enough. May be also for the experience. etc. etc. I would approach writing the book the same way. It is a different animal, but I suspect that it will work the same way. Put it out there. I am sure it will be a success. If not, it may become a success after your third or fourth book, when you will be introduced like: “Here is Trent, author of 4 books, …., etc etc.” – you just have to start with your first book.

  55. ericaceous says:

    I actually think a nicely formatted “31 days to Fix Your Finances” type workbook thing would be the interesting part to someone like me, who is working on getting her stuff together. Reading about other people’s messes can be relatable, and can help one understand the mechanics of the larger picture, but in my opinion, works best when illustrating specific exercise steps that then allow the reader to do something concrete with what she learned.

    however, if a publisher is interested in the disaster story part, maybe they know something I do not about what things sell. After all, I am a dedicated library reader, not a purchaser, so the things I read may not even be the same as the things that sell (and may or may not be read). Maybe financial memoir is the next big thing?

  56. Refilwe says:

    It sounds like a good idea. The angle of the autobiography-type book will also make your book different from most personal finance books.

    I’d go for a hard cover, but I have a general preference that way.

    P.S. Love the Breakin’ reference. That’s a +1 right there.

  57. Zach B. says:

    I may not buy it for myself (I read this blog for entertainment more than anything else), but I will absolutely get my friends and relatives that need it to read it. It seems a lot easier (for me at least) to get people to read a book that they need to read than to read a blog that they need to read. Of course I won’t give a recommendation one way or the other till I’ve perused it.
    This is a much better way to go than the self-publishing route. Professional editors, if competent, are amazing.

  58. Christine says:

    Troy,
    I wouln’t buy it, a you have taught me, I would eithr get it through paperback swap or the library :-)

    Seriously, go for it. You won’t know until you try, it has been a dream of yours and what is the worst that can happen?

  59. Sasha says:

    I truly do think that a book would be a good idea. I am an 18 year old college student, and am trying to learn more about many of the things that you tend to cover in your blog. When at a business convention in Chicago just a few weeks ago, some other business students and I were scanning the personal finance and investment books available at Borders, and YOU were mentioned many times, with nearly everyone saying that if you were to write a book, they would buy it. So our vote is YES!

  60. Firebyrd says:

    Go for it and don’t listen to Tordr. You definitely want to get an agent to make sure that you’re getting a good contract, but you do NOT give up your copyright to the text. That remains yours. You give the publisher the right, usually an exclusive right, for publishing for a certain amount of time. Usually they keep them as long as they keep the book in print.

    I’m not sure if I would read it or not. I probably would consider getting it from the library. The financial books I’ve read, or rather tried to read in the past just haven’t been applicable. They talk about things like “perhaps you should stop expensive hobbies like hang-gliding” when what debt I have is because of necessities. Gotta eat, gotta get the car fixed or my husband loses his jobs, etc, etc.

    Good luck!

  61. Mardee says:

    I think everyone has a good point about your blog audience not being your target audience. I would probably (almost assuredly) read it, but would get it at the library rather than buy it. That’s not just your book, though – I only buy books after I’ve read them at least once to see if it’s something I’d like to keep on hand.

    However, it sounds like a great opportunity for you and I would certainly delve further into it.

  62. Tori says:

    I think a memoir based on your experiences would be the most resounding with U.S. readers. I think the nation is hungry for a tale of people who tamed the Debtosaurus before it was too late.

    My only caveat would be to keep it under 250 pages. Pull out the big guns for the 31 days to fix your finances book.

    Would I buy it? Of course I would. Best of luck with your move!

    Good luck with the move.

  63. Zian says:

    I generally stick to checking books out from libraries but I would certainly lobby at least 2-5 local libraries to purchase copies.

  64. Kim Bentz says:

    Go for it. I would probably buy it, but then books are an indulgence I don’t believe in foregoing. I will do without a lot of other things before I will go without books. I disagree with what some of your readers say. There are probably many people who are reading your material and are just beginning or struggling through the process.

    I believe it was you that talked about the choices we make. Those folks who are too frugal to buy a book or don’t care to own them will go to the library or second-hand store. For others it would be a gift to ourselves or others.

    In any case, don’t let your decision be based on what your blog audience does or does not say. Follow your heart, listen to your gut. Don’t let your blog readers be an excuse not to buckle down and get writing. Will you listen if people say your ideas on frugality and money management are silly? Or if they criticise or make fun of the way you live? Why then should you listen to the naysayers? There will always be those people who don’t think you should do what you want!

  65. Corinne says:

    Fairly new to your blog, so I hadn’t read the Financial Armageddon series until about 5 minutes ago. Your story is definitely one that people need to hear. I think there’s a HUGE number of people walking around that were never taught how to handle money in a way that they weren’t constantly “chasing checks”, as a friend of mine calls it.

    PR tip: if you’re not already familiar with Stephen Snyder’s Life After Bankruptcy program, I highly recommend you look into it. His seminars are PACKED with people that are hungry for information on how to fix their debt issues. You’d have a ready-made audience for your book.

  66. ERB says:

    The concept of a book about your meltdown would be a fresh approach to the personal finance topic. I find your posts discussing your personal experiences and family to be both interesting and relevant. I would suggest that including your family financial history, and the lessons you learned growing up, should make a part of the book. Include real detailed info about exactly how you got into trouble and exactly how you got out. Include real details of how relationships with family and friends are affected by finances, the more detailed the better. Because this type of thing is what the average person is grappling with, not whether or not they should contribute more to a 401K. The average person makes financial decisions because of non-financial factors. They buy a house in a certain neighborhood because they are trying to satisfy a spouse. They buy a certain car to project an image of success. They are loyal to a brand of ketchup because it was the kind mother bought. They spend too much money on an evening out because of boredom or loneliness. They spend too much money on gifts because they want to be liked. They dress the way their friends do so they can fit in. Yes, even mature adults can be swayed by a peer group. Well, it would be refreshing to hear one person’s story about exactly what led up to certain decisions, exactly what words were said in certain conversations, exactly what dollars and cents were involved, and exactly how emotions were handled. It would be even more useful if you include info about others you know, whose situations might be slightly different or very different from yours, and how their experiences differed from yours. You could always change a person’s name to protect the identity. Are there any seniors you know who have experienced meltdown? Single people without family to fall back on? People with health issues? People who have been downsized? The core of the book could be your own story, but if you could disguise the identities of others and include instructive stories, that would be relevant to a wider group of people. I love hearing your story, and I would probably consider buying a paperback. But I would love to also learn of others in a wider variety of situations. In your own circle of family and acquaintances, you probably have a wealth of stories to tell. I am not interested in what Donald Trump is planning to do. But I would be fascinated to find out how an ordinary person with an ordinary income is surviving and coping with debt, meltdown, and recovery.

  67. Louise says:

    I did not read any of the comments; I’m just offering my thoughts to the pile for Trent to sort through. It’s his book, after all.

    I would not buy it for myself. I think it sounds like a great introduction to The Simple Dollar and not so much a supplement for current readers. I would seriously consider buying the book for other people. Blogs are just not everyone’s cup of tea and this would be a lot of great information in a more familiar format for many people. ACtually the more I think about this the better it sounds for you. This is not at all an exhaustive personal finance book. This is an introduction to your methods and why you do the things you do. It’s a story that everyone can learn from – a wide audience. And if it does well, I’m sure you have a ton of ideas for a second book.

  68. Heather says:

    I think writing the book is a great idea! I would definately buy it. I am always looking for new ideas to better myself and my finances.

  69. David says:

    Definitely do the book!

    You’re a writer, it’s what you want to do, you have always wanted to write a book, you have someone asking you to do it (rather than you having to beg someone to publish it), thus it must be the right time. Carpe Diem!

    You can do it, it will be fantastic, the subject matter will make it fairly easy, and it might even put you on a book tour circuit so that you can meet folk like Stephen Colbert if you have a good enough publisher/publicist.

    You have the talent, you have the means, you have the backing, this will put you firmly on the road to being a bona fide book author, etc. The list goes on.

    Personally, I wouldn’t buy it simply because I have enough financial books and already have access to some of the material here for free. But that’s not the point. Your audience for this book isn’t the one or two thousand people that read this blog – it’s the millions who haven’t. Stop asking the blog readers about books – they’ll always tell you they won’t buy it because they’re blog readers. You’re asking the wrong people.

    So, if after reading this you still aren’t sure about whether or not to do it, then please invest $11.20 into your future career and get the book “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz. Take a single morning to read through it, and then seize your day – it’s yours for the taking right now!

  70. eh? says:

    I would purchase it.

  71. Elden says:

    I remember you saying that Bill Simmons on Espn.com was one or your favorite writers. He wrote a book after he had already told about his life online. It wasn’t a best seller, but he found a niche in the book world and was successful. Go for it.

  72. Michelle says:

    I would not personally buy it for myself, since I can get all this information on your website and I enjoy seeing it in small daily doses. However I might buy it as a gift for a friend or know of others who might want to buy it. I say write it.

  73. glblguy says:

    Go for it Trent, I probably wouldn’t buy it because I’ve read all of your great content, but I would suspect many other non-blog readers would. Worst case, it’s great visibility for your blog and for yourself.

    - Larry
    http://www.gatherlittlebylittle.com – A Christian focused personal finance blog

  74. Ryan says:

    Not to beat a dead horse here, but I agree with the others…DO IT! As others have mentioned, The Simple Dollar readers are not going to be the target audience for your book, so asking whether or not we would buy it or not is irrelevant. I think there are millions of people out there struggling financially that don’t read your blog that might buy it though.

    Good luck!
    Ryan

  75. David says:

    If a legitimate publisher contacted you (i.e. the last title wasn’t “How to Invest in Nigerian 409″), go for it! I tend to like this idea better than the last, because the focus is a bit narrower, with fewer pages. 300 pages is nice and informative without being too unwieldy. If you have a personal goal to be published, and the door is open for that, then by all means pursue it! I may or may not buy it right away, depending on other books on my to-buy list, but there are thousands of people out there it may help tremendously. Don’t pass up an open opportunity. :)

  76. Stephan F- says:

    Opportunity has knocked on your door.

    Open It.

    You are already a writer, given that you have this blog. A publisher has come to you, that is a great gift. Most authors have to do it the hard way, you’ve been given a great gift, go for it.

    That said your big job now is not to write the book but to learn how to market it and make it a bestseller. Being able to say you are a bestselling author will do amazing things to your life. Sadly, most publishers won’t do a good job marketing your book, so you better learn and do it yourself.

    You may think this is a change in you life’s direction, but it may well be worth it.

  77. Rob in Madrid says:

    I would add as well that 320 pages is still too long unless its a technical (tax and investment laws) book and than it will be out of date quickly. Best book I read was “The four Laws of Debt Free Prosperity” 100 pages and read like like a story. Something along that lines I think would really work. Particularly with emphasis on all the tricks of the trade you learned on how to live frugally and enjoy it. In other words timeless ideas. Your a gifted writer (even if you do post too much) and I’m sure a book along those lines would be enjoyable to read.

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