Updated on 01.27.08

The Simple Dollar Book: Where Do I Go Now?

Trent Hamm

As many of you know, I’ve been writing a book over the last several months in my spare time, and it’s basically completed. I wanted to give you an update on the project and let you know where things are going with it.

What’s the status of the book?

The first draft is finished and it’s in an “incubation period” – it doesn’t have a final title yet. The incubation period is a technique I’ve used for a long time on important writings that I’ve done. Basically, when you finish something, you put it away for a month or two and not even look at it at all. Then you get it out, print it, and read it offline with a pen in hand. That elapsed time takes away the intimacy of the writing, allowing you to read it with a somewhat fresh perspective. I hope to do this at the end of February, which would bring me to a second draft. When the second draft is done – depending on how I feel about it – I’ll either incubate it again or give it to a few close friends to read, and then I’ll be ready to do something with it.

What’s the book about?

Unlike most personal finance books, it’s got a large amount of autobiographical material to it. In fact, the original framework of the book was an expansion of my very popular Road to Financial Armageddon series, which was basically a financial autobiography.

The biggest focus is on the time when I was making the big mental switch from spending too much to being a fairly frugal person. How did I make that mental switch? What things did I focus on? How did I begin the debt recovery process? What thoughts really shocked me into change? I tried to address these questions in great detail, focusing both on how I answered the questions and also the techniques people can use to make that transition.

I think it turned out really well. It’s the book I wish I had during my financial meltdown.

When can I read it?

That’s the question I’m puzzling over right now. My original plan, when I first started writing it, was just to see if I could actually do it. Writing a book is a significant undertaking, particularly one that anyone will actually want to read. I didn’t really think about a publishing plan when I started with it.

Now that it is (in large part) finished, I’ve got to make some tough decisions. Here are the three routes I’m looking at.

The first and most obvious option is to publish the traditional way, by getting a literary agent and having that person “sell” the book to a big publishing house. I’ve had casual conversations with a few agents, but I’ve not cemented any sort of formal agreements with anyone. This route probably offers the best route in terms of wide distribution for the book and has the most potential to attract mainstream media attention to what I’m doing, but it is probably the least directly lucrative option and likely would take the longest time to actually get the book into people’s hands.

The second option is to self-publish and try to promote it myself. This means that I would take on the burden of getting the book published and distributed, but all promotional efforts have to be handled alone. This offers the best opportunity for a return on my time investment, but it’s worse than the first option in terms of distributing the book to a wide audience.

The last option is to publish it as an ebook or as a series of posts. This is the option that requires the least effort from me at this point and gets it out there the fastest, but it also is the worst option for wide distribution. Part of the advantage of doing a print book is it enables my writing to exist in another medium that can get distributed in ways that this site really can’t.

Honestly, I’m unsure which path to take right now. This is an area where my expertise is rather limited. My goal is to maximize my audience, and I’m willing to earn less per copy sold to ensure that, but that doesn’t firmly point me towards one route or another.

What do you guys think? I’m open and listening, as always.

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  1. Neal says:


    Congratulations on actually finishing the book. This is a major accomplishment.

    I would consider combining options 2 & 3. Websites such as LuLu.com make this very easy. You could have the end reader decide whether it was worth the marginal cost for a physical product.

    I think a reasonably priced ebook (>$10) would do well given your readership. It seems to have worked well for Leo at ZenHabits.net

    I look forward to seeing what you decide.



  2. Neal says:

    I meant less than $10 not greater than.


  3. Kevin G says:

    Gratz on finishing the book, I can’t wait!!!

    Have you seen http://www.lulu.com/ ?

  4. Julie says:

    Publish it the old fashioned traditional way, promote it and then put it on your site as an e-book for a fee. You are a good writer with an important message. You can help a lot of people if your book was out there – quickly people will see it is as one of those books they have to read rather than all of the other junk you’ve been reviewing.

  5. patrick says:

    Very excited to hear about your book and I will definitely be purchasing.

    I would recommend that you ask someone with specific experience in publishing a book who also has a popular blog like yourself.

    Tim Ferris comes to mind. He has had a lot of success with both his blog and his book.

  6. Misty says:

    If you are considering the first option for the book, I would recommend checking out the most recent Writer’s Market from your local library.

    The book itself is about $30, and is only useful for one year.

    If you purchase it, you could always donate it to your local library when you are finished, and add it to your itemized deductions next year at tax time.

  7. Andy says:

    I’d say go the first and traditional route.

    I believe it would be such an achievement if I could write a book to have it published like so many other authors. It would be something for me personally to always remember.

    Forget the financial part of it for a moment, I believe you would get so much personal satisfaction by getting your book published as in the first route.

  8. Matt says:

    Congratulations on finishing the first draft of your book! Personally I would start having some more conversations with your potential agents. Leo over at Zen Habits just announced he’s writing a book he might have some recommendations and suggestions about the process.

  9. vh says:

    Promoting a print book is a lot of work, and of course you only get about 10% of sales. However, you have quite a leg up with this blog, which appears to have a wide readership.

    The book I wrote for Scott Flansburg and published through William Morrow grossed $1.5 million in sales in its first year and $1 million in the second year. Those revenues, however, were based on a package he marketed, of which the book was only one part. He had a video and a couple of workbooks (I also wrote the workbooks), which he peddled with the book.

    His two business partners were marketing agents. However, he himself did most of the marketing, because he had quite a glib tongue and could talk himself right past gatekeepers. Most of his marketing was done on radio talk shows — he told me he found radio shows were more effective than any other device for generating sales. He also appeared on a couple of national TV talks shows — Good Morning America, I think — and was picked up once by USA Today.

    To make any money on a print book, you must do the marketing yourself. Publishers do little to market books. You can hire marketing agents — they are different from literary agents. You do not need a literary agent to get a nonfiction book published. Go to Literary Marketplace (LMP) and look for book marketing agents; stick to the ones based in New York City. And get references. Lots of references.

    If you do want to track down a literary agent, I suggest you join ASJA (American Society of Journalist & Authors). They publish a list of their members’ agents; as a member, you also get the organization’s membership directory. Together these tools allow you to call the member who has listed thus-and-such an agent and ask about his or her experience with the agent. This is important; don’t fail to find out what other writers’ experience with an agent has been.

    It’s not easy to get in to ASJA. You’ll have to explain to the membership committee why writing a blog qualifies you for their outfit. Just tell them how much money the thing has generated. I expect that will get their attention….

  10. I think that going the self promotion route can definitely work. I agree with Patrick that if nothing else its worth reading Tim Ferris book and blog for some ideas.

    Another author who has gone through this and succeeded specifically with a financial book is Derek Foster with his book Stop Working. I’m sure he’d love to chat about the process.

  11. Mary McK. says:

    No experience with this – but you might check out Grassroots Marketing for Authors & Publishers by Shel Horowitz (http://www.frugalmarketing.com). I heard him speak once and it sounds like he has done very well with marketing his own books. Congratulations and good luck!

  12. Jon Morrow says:

    Actually Trent, publishing the book for free on The Simple Dollar will probably lead to a wider distribution than going with a traditional publisher. Most first-time authors are lucky to get a 10,000 book first printing, meaning not all bookstores will even sell a copy of your book. Some publishers may be willing to increase that considering your blog subscribers, but probably not by much. Publishers seem to be much more impressed by relationships with mainstream media than a huge subscriber base, at least for now.

    Additionally, publishers don’t generally offer any support for promoting the book. They say they do, but if you talk to enough authors, they’ll all tell you otherwise. For my promotion standpoint, the only real benefit is, if you are signed by a well-known publisher, you’ll have an easier chance getting the attention of the mainstream media. But you’ll still have to do all the work.

    But there’s one important advantage to going with a traditional publisher: a different audience.

    Right now, I’d just most of the people that read personal finance blogs are aware of The Simple Dollar. You’ve still got some room to grow, but you’re starting to saturate this particular group. By going with a traditional publisher, you can reach an audience that doesn’t normally read blogs or even search for personal finance information online. With your niche, that’s a huge group of people.

    Anyway, that’s just one piece of the puzzle. I’ll try to catch you on AIM later, if you want to talk through it. Over the past few years, I’ve learned almost everything there is to know about publishing a book, and I could probably answer some of your questions.

  13. Nascar says:

    I guess finish writing the book was the easy part huh? Have you explored an option of both print and online? I know a lot technology books take both routes.

  14. Louie says:

    hey trent, if it were me i would probably go the route of having an agent and sell the book via a publishing company because it will be available to a wider audience sooner than self printing…but as most authors maybe you will have an aspiriation to write a second book….that would be the book i would self publish, because this first one is just going to get you in the door and in the hands of the masses. thus rooting your name and making it easier to sell future books etc. just my .02 take care and i cant wait to read it, make sure you get it up for sale on here real fast or take some pre orders so we can all be sure to get a copy.

  15. Frugal Dad says:

    Trent, the self-publishing route is generally discounted because just getting the word out is difficult and most writers are not good marketers. However, you’ve made The Simple Dollar a phenomenal success and have created a large, loyal readership. I would imagine you could sell many copies of the book to long-time readers on the site, as well as those that stumble here.

    I know someone who published with IUniverse and enjoyed the experience. The book was actually written by his daughter, but he handled most of the promotional aspects. IUniverse partnered with them on edits, cover design, marketing plan, etc. and helped with the more laborious tasks of ISBN assignment, getting the book listed at Amazon, Barnes, etc. IUniverse offers decent author-copy discounts which makes hitting the road for promotional signings, seminars, etc. a nice way to sell your book at an immediate profit. I checked into them myself for an idea I had, but I’ve shelved it for now. When I dust off the keyboard I plan to go back to them to pursue the idea further.

  16. DJ says:

    Honestly, nothing against this book Trent, but I don’t know what kind of audience you have that would actually PAY for a book about financial hardship and getting back on your feet. Not that you haven’t done well, YOU HAVE, but I think people are looking for more of a supreme ending. Sort of like those books where people turn from being poor, making bad decisions to being a multi-millionare. Those are books that sell for some reason. We all know you’re not a millionare and I think people relate more to people who’ve actually made it to this point. This is just an opinion. I’d say take the ebook route. You’ll still get your name and site out there. But I don’t think trying to make money off of this idea will do any good for you. Your site is enough and explains everything anyway – a book will just be an additon.

  17. Aaron Stroud says:

    I’d advice against the last option. You might want to use part of the book as a series of posts, but I’d make sure it was a small percentage. If the entire book ended up in the public domain, that could seriously limit your publishing options (why pay Trent to publish his book when it could be legally printed without paying you?).

  18. Ben says:

    Have you considered selling it as an eBook and/or using the services at lulu.com? Lulu offers some great stuff like the ability to sell your book through them and even list it on Amazon with an ISBN. Could be a good first step. Just a thought.

    On another note, I’ve been enjoying your blog for some time now, but haven’t commented before. I feel like just reading your blog daily helps me stay on track financially. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication!

  19. vla says:

    Congratulations Trent! I really enjoy your blog and will buy the book in the medium in which you chose to publish.

    I like your incubation period approach toward writing. I’ve used this approach in the past for résumé writing. I’m too modest about my accomplishments and tend to underplay them when talking to others. I start by writing my achievements on my CV – always truthfully – until it makes me a little uncomfortable. I put the document away for a few days and then have a look at it with fresh eyes. I usually realize that I really am accomplished and I am absolutely qualified for the position I’m targeting.

    I’m female and this approach seems to be particularly effective with women.

  20. Melissa says:

    I don’t know anything about publishing books. I do agree that since this is a personal finance book, people might be reluctant to buy it….especially if most of the content is available from your blogs. What about making it available for download and giving the reader the ability to pay as much or as little as they are able (and willing) as a donation? I think a band recently did this (can’t remember the name) and they did quite well allowing fans to pay what they thought was fair.

  21. Young says:

    I say go for the first option if you can get an agent. I think might expose you to a different audience than just publishing an ebook or the like. Also, “normal” rather than “supreme” endings are underrated. If you can get published, it might actually help you stand out.

    I wouldn’t buy the book, but I’d make my library. :-)

  22. Erica says:

    From everything I’ve read, I’d recommend going with the first option. Traditional publishing may not be as quick as other routes, but distribution isn’t going to be wide without a huge investment of time on your part – time that I think would interfere with the family time that (I can tell) you cherish so much. (There’s also that self-publishing as in the second option can make it harder to break into traditional publishing in the future, but I don’t know what your future plans are, so that might not be a concern.)

    Hope that helps!

  23. Karen says:

    I’d pay for the book. And pre-order copies as a stash to give away for friends, especially those getting married.

    What Trent does is a valuable service, floating up ideas and trends that I like but don’t have time to follow or write about. He’s like a digg for frugal living and finance advice.

    Even from as far away as Singapore.

    Good job on finishing the book Trent – now knock it out of the ball park like I trust you to. What’s the worst that can happen anyway? At the top end, you’re looking at financial security for yourself and your family.

  24. Torijuliette says:

    I agree that having your book published and a hard copy to hold in hand, would be a wonderful personal achievement – Go for it!

    In response to DJ’s post regarding people wanting a “supreme ending, millionaire read” – I’d have to disagree. Strongly disagree. Everyday people want to know how to live frugally, how to achieve something within our reach. I think you’d have a wide audience Trent….Good luck!

  25. tabletoo says:

    A publisher told me (as Erica says) that self-publishing almost always means that you won’t be able to get any publisher interested in you for later books.

    If you do publish conventionally (which I recommend) remember that the number of author copies is negotiable and you might want to ask for a lot more than the standard amount, if you have room to store them. That way you will have a stah to sign and give out later when/if thebook is out of print. Of course this would not be the first point to negotiate. I’ve heard it costs the publisher almost nothing so they tend to be very flexible on the number of author copies.
    Best wishes.

  26. CatherineL says:

    Great post. I would ask Tim Ferris how he went about it. I’ve noticed he has an ebook and published version of his book, but I’m not sure which came out first.

    Remember, you can approach traditional publishers before you’ve completed the book, so you have nothing to lose.

    Also, some people who struggle to find a traditional publisher self-publish quite a few copies first to prove themselves. If you could sell a couple of thousand copies on your own – it would be easier to attract a publisher.

    Maybe Jack Canfield would be a good person to ask about that, as I recall hearing that he sold an awful lot of his books himself initially.

    Good luck.

  27. Wim says:

    Go and publish the book! On paper that is.

  28. MikeB says:

    I don’t know anything about publishing a book or the alternative options. I for one will look forward to reading it. I agree that having a hard-copy published book in my hands would be a proud accomplishement but I would want JD to go with whatever method produces the maximum personal and financial rewards he deserves for his hard work.

  29. MikeB says:

    Sorry meant Trent. Was just reading JD’s site too and got my blog authors mixed. Apologies!

  30. cendare says:

    In response to Melissa’s suggestion, about “pay what you want” for a digital download, the band mentioned is Radiohead. And, I wouldn’t advise that for your first book. Radiohead was able to be successful with that only because they already had an audience and a name built up by traditional methods. I think a publishing house is the way to go.

  31. Heather says:

    I just bought the book “Presentation Zen” from the blog presentationzen.com. It was published by New Riders, and did quite well on Amazon. Maybe you should ask him for advice?

  32. Joyce Jarrard says:

    I’ve only been reading this blog for a couple of weeks, and I know that I would like to read your new unpublished book. I’m at the beginning point of turning our finances around, after spiraling into deep debt. My husband is in the process of reading Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” now. I’m thrilled that he’s starting to get on board, (even though the spendaholic was me.)

    I found your very interesting blog after reading some posts on Yahoo Groups — Dave Ramsey Debt Beaters, which made reference to this site.

    I agree with the majority that, given your desire to expand your audience, you should pursue getting your book published by traditional means, and put into bookstores, so that people unfamiliar with your blog can find it. I think a good title could involve the word “Armageddon” — because that word certainly got my attention! (However, the book shouldn’t be called “Road to Financial Armageddon” because we want to know how to recover from Financial Armageddon!) Maybe something like “Road Back from Financial Armageddon”, or “Road from Financial Armageddon to Financial Nirvana”? or Nerdvana? ;-)

    Isn’t it funny how the “incubation period” helps writing? I find that I see all sorts of errors or confusion in my prose, after I have put my writing down for at least a day. When I am in the thick of writing, I will proofread, but I am “seeing” what I thought I wrote, instead of what is really on the screen!

  33. Matt says:

    Have you looked into Lulu.com? I’ve never used it but I’ve seen sites that have used it in the past for people self publishing books.

  34. Sharon says:

    If you are under the illusion that a publisher will help you market your book, you are very much mistaken. Lacking the name “Stephen King” or something similar, you are on your own on the marketing. Please, check out Angela Hoy’s http://www.writersweekly.com for more information how little help publishers are.

  35. I once saw somewhere on the web where a company would print your book. Order however many copies you want and they would leave it online and allow others to order and pay you a royalty for each one sold. Sorry, I don’t recall where I saw that. Maybe someone else reading this will.

    best Wishes,

  36. Susan says:

    Media Bistro is an invaluable resource on how to go about actually pitching agents and publishers with their ‘How to Pitch’ series that gives you an insider perspective. However, the membership fee is $49 a year and also includes a variety of information on the publishing industry.

    Also look at Agent Query, which gives you agent’s emails, what they’re looking for, etc. You need to practice writing a good pitch letter as agents only accept about 2% of pitches they receive. Also keep in mind once you get an agent, it could take them awhile to pitch your book to publisher, and they may ask for several re-writes. All in all, it could take 1-2 years for your book to come out and you’re looking at getting about 10-12% royalty of each book. Out of that royalty, about 15% goes to your agent.

    I still feel traditional is the way to go if you can afford the time and patience it takes. It’s just a more reputable situation than going it on your own and gives you more of an ‘expert; status. Of course make sure to include your traffic stats of your blog in your pitch, as well as your msn article.

    However, if you feel traditional just isn’t for you, consider turning it into an ebook and selling it on your site via Clickbank. Other people with blogs and financial sites can sign up to be an ‘affiliate’ of yours and Clickbank generates a code for those affiliates. So it’s all automatic, you set the affiliate fee, usually around 30-60%. Clickbank sends you and your affiliates checks out every month. Or you can also use a print on demand source like Cafe Press to sell physical copies, especially if you decide to do any public speaking or touring.

    I sold an ebook and only minimally advertised it on google adwords and made about $1000 in a year. I didn’t put a lot of work into promoting it, but was surprised how many other people wanted to be an affiliate and help sell it for me. I had no blog or following or readership and was pleased with what I made. I would assume you could easily make 10x this based on the traffic you get here.


  37. Andre says:

    I would imagine the amount of readers you have here and not just those who come in and read but who generally get happy and passionate about TSD, would be a boon. One of the great things about social media is that it breaks down traditional thought on how to get the word out – I would try the self promotion and publish it through Lulu. The word will carry far and wide, I think.

  38. Just Simple says:

    Published it in the first route. It’ll get to the hands of the readers soon. Don’t worry bout the financial or timing part. Just let it be.

  39. Hi, Trent…
    Here is some unsolicited advice :) I have several children’s manuscripts making their rounds in the slushpiles.

    I would try submitting a query to a few publishing houses. Give it a year maybe. If you don’t get any bites then self-publish. As popularity for your book grows… which I am sure it will… you may then get some “big” houses that will then republish it. This is what happened to Marla Cilley..aka FlyLady… with her book Sink Reflections.

    Just an idea for you!
    Good luck!!

    PS… I would do at least two rounds of sitting on the book then editing… BUT… you can still send of queries even now without having the book completed!!

  40. Sorry…just wanted to add… you can now subscribe to Writer’s Market online for a fee. It will give you unlimited access to pub houses, their writer’s guidelines and addresses. It even has a tracking feature so you can update the status of your manuscript and who you sent it to.

  41. richsnail says:

    As Heather I just finished reading the “Presentation Zen” Book. I think his approach was just right for such a project and his publisher (New Riders Press) sounded like great partners.

    I would personally love to hold your paperback version, after discovering a few chapter on this blog; promotion, promotion. A bit like Seth Godin did for his last book: “Meatball Sunday”.

  42. JB says:

    I think any method you choose would reach a large audience. But going the traditional publisher route/eBook could pave the way better for future writing endeavors. Good luck!

  43. billadams says:

    I published my last four books myself, and posted the latest one on catholcifundamentalism.com
    It’s a new approach to Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.
    Since it was very conservative, there were no takers, so it’s downloadable free. Not bad, steady and increasing, but not great response.
    Good luck.

  44. Mark says:

    I’d say go for Option 1, the traditional agent route. If and when you get published, try to maintain the rights to post the content on your blog (perhaps some specified length of time after publication). That strikes me as your best shot at a potentially massive audience, and yet building in the fallback of using the content here if you see fit or if the traditional book doesn’t make much of a splash.

  45. Brig says:

    If you do publish the book with a large publishing company, the fact that the exposure is so much greater may well compensate for the difference in your earnings per copy of your book.
    Also, I expect that you – as the author – would be able to purchase bulk copies at trade price or maybe even a better price, which you can then make available for sale through The Simple Dollar.
    Would love to see the book in both hard copy and as an ebook. Best of luck whatever you do!

  46. Ken O. says:

    Publish it a physical book. Your blog is compelling, and your real paper book will be too. If it’s written as a book, print it as a book.

    I work in the magazine business, and people still like physical reading material. It’s portable, tangible, and just has a “heft” to it that we don’t get electronically. Important: GET a GREAT designer somehow.

    Print in Singapore or somewhere cheap, and keep the price point reasonable. And do press releases and other shoestring publicity avenues.

  47. JT says:

    Don’t know anything about publishing so can’t offer you any advice there…but for what its worth, I’d buy your book if it were published (and I read a lot, so I know a good author when I see them…that is saying something!) Good luck and would love to hear about your progress…

  48. Mayank says:

    You can also try Amazon’s On Demand Publishing – http://www.amazon.com/b?%5Fencoding=UTF8&node=15347561

  49. reulte says:

    Congrats on the book!

    I’d suggest going with traditional publishing house at the moment simply because it would reach a DIFFERENT audience than your blog.

    To forstall to DJ’s opinion that you need a “supreme ending”, you could point out that pf is ongoing, a journey rather than a destination, etc and so forth. You could also title the book so the context is evident (i.e. Financial Armageddon: A Year to Recover from Debt).

    Good luck!

  50. In the vein of Jason Alba’s books here’s a possible title for your book: I’m in Debt — Now What?? Considering the “You Get It Award” from June 2007, I’m sure he’d be happy to introduce you to his publisher and grow the “Now What??” book line he started.

    Traditional v. ebook debate: What’s your goal of publishing a book? Financial? Ideavirus? First time publishers typically aren’t going to make a mint by writing. You can probably negotiate more because of The Simple Dollar’s track record, but a $5000 advance is pretty typical. If you’re going for the ideavirus route, take Seth Godin’s advice and publish it as an ebook. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/03/you_should_writ.html

  51. daily walrus says:

    I have a friend who went with Amazon’s publishing. While his writing is great, I wouldn’t say it is the highest quality book production-wise that i have ever seen. I also don’t think he was terribly happy with the final product.

  52. nicole says:

    I definitely recommend Lulu.com. It has in many ways saved the non-profit I work for, freeing up money, time, and manpower for other things.

  53. Ian says:

    Hi Trent,

    Reading over some of the posts (positive and negative) I think you would have an audience for the book.. Who would read a book that talks about financial hardship then getting out and back on your feet again?

    Any one who’s in financial hard ship and wants to get on their feet, but are willing to take the first step right!

    I think you’re best option is to first approach an agent, you’re right on the exposure part, and this type of content sells better off line. I’ve been an Internet Marketer for 3 years amnd the majority of publications online are more “quick fix” concepts.

    This isn’t to say that your book wouldn’t sell online but take the path you’d most like to follow first. Once it’s been published either on your blog or as an ebook it will be tough to get a publishing contract offline.

    Just to add to this, I recently looked at a book “The four hour work week” and in the back it stated “This book available as an ebook”. I think that was an excellent way to grab the whole of the market.

    You’ve got your real world real estate in book stores, then online presence on online retailers, as well as an ebook available for download.

    Anyways, congrats none the less, and don’t forget to make it happen!



  54. Joe says:

    You could offer it as an eBook and an on-demand printed version. eBooks are almost entirely profit, so it’s a great way to go for bloggers who can sell directly to their readerbase (online).


  55. Carol says:

    As a pretty avid reader, I would like to see the book in the good old fashioned “book” version. I like to hold the material in my hands.
    Also, I am very excited that you are using autobiographical information in it!! I learn so much MORE when people’s experiences are included rather than just suggestions or instructions. I am very excited about your book and I would definitely purchase it!!
    Good luck!

  56. Carrie says:

    I felt a need to jump in and point out that if you go the literary agent way it would put you in the channel of becoming an ‘expert’ on the subject, with the potential to appear as a speaker etc..

    As I reader I much prefer easily accessable books as well, and would rather buy it from a bookstore.

  57. Steven says:

    Hey! Congratulations on the book. I will definitely will purchase a copy. I hope you publish it the traditional way.

    I don’t watch Oprah, but please let us know when we’ll being seeing you. I will tune in (ha ha).

    Looks like 2008 is going to be the year of the simple dollar.

  58. Sam says:

    Congratulations on getting this far with your book. I’m really looking forward to reading a book actually written by you instead of book reviews by you.

    Whichever option you pick as a distribution model I’ll be supporting you and spreading the word to friends and family.

    And I too have heard good things about Lulu.

  59. Amanda says:

    If you truly want to reach as many people as possible, I think that publishing it the traditional way will be the best bet. It may take longer, but you’ll get a wider distribution and be more likely for your book to end up in libraries nation wide. That right there will insure that many people who may not be able to or inclined to buy books will be able to read it. And not everyone who needs help in this situation will be online to buy the ebook. Just my two cents. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  60. JE says:

    I work for a publisher (not in the U.S.). You want to publish it the old fashioned way. Self-publishing and e-publishing gives you zero credibility, and is often substantially more difficult than it sounds up front. And if you ever want to publish a second book, you’ll still be considered a first-time author by major publishers. You don’t necessarily need an agent, but an agent will do some of the hard work for you. Additionally, there are publishers who don’t work directly with authors; they only work with agencts.

    Best of luck.

  61. LC says:

    In response to DJ who says there may not be a market for this book: The rags to riches stories can be inspiring but a lot of people think they can’t make it that far because it takes a lot of work and/or luck, so they just give up. Trent’s book isn’t about becoming a millionaire (at least not quickly) but about becoming financially stable, getting on your feet, and most importantly changing your attitude to take a few steps in the right direction. I think it would have a big audience.

  62. Michael says:

    If you chose the third route, I would think less of your book. You need to get it on real shelves in stores.

  63. KMunoz says:

    I think the traditional way would be the best way to reach a wider audience. Also, this is my own personal thing, but I don’t know if I’d purchase a self-published book. It just seems a little shady not having a professional publishing house behind it (though I’m sure many self-published books are fine). If you ever wanted to write a second book, it would be easier as well.

    If you did go the traditional route, what you might consider is doing a little PR and marketing for yourself while you search for an agent/publisher. Build a little buzz for yourself, maybe on local radio/TV, and that might be helpful while searching for publishers.

  64. Natasha says:

    I would go the traditional (first option) route. I think doing the kind of self-promotion that would be necessary to get your book to a different and wider audience would mean basically dropping your day job and doing that full time, with little to no immediate results, and posting it on your blog is something you could do in conjunction with publication (I’m thinking of the way Lifehacker blogged big chunks of the basic idea of their book, chapter by chapter). I think traditional publication would get your book in bookstores everywhere where you might not have time to promote and in the long run would be the most lucrative option, both money-wise and culling-new-readers-wise.

    Good luck!

  65. Madame X says:

    Trent, I think you’re a great writer and wish you the best whatever path you choose. I work in publishing, so here are my thoughts on option #1: as others have pointed out, a major publishing house won’t always put a lot of marketing behind your book. They will give you credibility, however, that self-publishing can’t. A publishing house will put more behind you if you have a great proposal/sample chapters, if you’re mediagenic and well-connected, and if you have a platform of your own that will help promote the book. Have you done public speaking, or been asked to comment on personal finance in the media already? Do you know any authors who would blurb your book? You might want to build up your profile in these ways before you try to publish a book (though of course it is a vicious circle and having a book might help you do those things!) This blog has a loyal and large readership, but that alone is almost never enough to make your book a BIG book. I think you’ve got great things to say so I’d hate to see you publish a book that was below the radar and didn’t sell. You might make a few thousand dollars from something like that, which is fine, but if you really have the ambition to do bigger things, you should think about all those other factors and give it your best shot! I think the book world is ready for a new face beyond Kiyosaki/Orman/Cramer and why shouldn’t it be you!

  66. Susan says:

    Since I start every morning with The Simple Dollar, the thought of haveing a book written by you is something to look forward to. I will be one of the first in line to buy it. Traditional or self-publishing would be good.. I don’t do well with e-books. I hope it’s a hold-in-your-hands book but whatever you decide….I will read it.

  67. Fran says:


    Right now I’d think that the market would be hot for your take on financial sanity–I’d first try to get an agent. If that didn’t work, then try the ebook or self-publish option.
    If you try self publishing, be aware that distribution is a challenge. Many distributors won’t talk to you if you do a small press run. I tried it with a novel and really learned a lot about the industry.
    I look forward to your booksigning.

  68. Ari says:

    Trent, congratulations, this is quite an accomplishment. If I were to write a book, I will most likely self-published. Look at http://www.johntreed.com on how to self publish a non-fiction book.

  69. Rachel says:

    Congrats on finishing your first book! I vote that you publish it the old fashioned way.

    This is my first comment to you. I am a new subscriber and you have really inspired me to improve my personal finance.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you at a book signing soon!

  70. tuck says:

    trent — if you want to reach the widest audience, go with a publisher/traditional route. This is the best way for you to get into libraries, where a lot of cost-conscious people are going to start looking.

    I also think the traditonal publisher will do most of the heavy lifting for you, after all, this is their business, so you have a ready made distribution system. No matter how popular your website is, the book industry can reach out to places you never will, simply due to the scope of their business (no knock on the site). Plus, letting them handle the details frees you up to spend time with the family, work on the next book, whatever you want! Good luck whichever path you choose…

  71. erbe says:

    Try the traditional route first. This would be a learning experience for you if nothing else. If that doesn’t work, then look at other options. I personally look forward to seeing your name on the shelves of my local bookstore.

  72. Tordr says:

    Whichever way you publish you book, try to keep the copyrights to it. Then when the sales have died down and the books are gathering dust, dump the whole thing as a pdf on your site.

  73. Michael says:

    I should add that though I think you should publish a paper book and sell it in stores, I would not buy it as I buy used. I just think an e-book is a bad idea.

  74. Bridawg says:

    Listening to people like JC Hutchins and Scott Sigler I have another idea.

    You could read and podcast the book. That way it gets out but you retain the print rights. They’ve podcast their novels, generated interest from publishers but retained the written copyright so as to keep their work valuable to agents and publishers.

    It’s also really interesting to hear the author read his own work.


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