FSK Asks – Writing A Book?

My blog expenses are $20/month for my Linode, plus $10/yr for domain registration. There are cheaper options that Linode, but I like the full Linux setup, root password, fixed resource allocation, and Linode doesn’t oversell. (“Overselling” occurs when a hosting vendor promises more resources than they actually have, relying on the fact that most users don’t use their full allocation.) Overall, I’m happy with my Linode. I learned a lot configuring and tuning it. With Linode, I can put up my own code, which I can’t do with other vendors.

The biggest expense for my blog is my time. However, this is mostly a hobby, with the possibility of someday turning it into a real business, or using the blog to launch other things.

Not counting the cost of my time, I want my blog to cover its expenses.

I’m considering putting up ads again. However, that has many problems. With an eCPM of $0.50, I’d need a *LOT* more pageviews, just to make $20/month. Both with AdSense and AdBrite, most of the ads were spammy, rather than high quality. I don’t want to pollute my blog with lousy ads.

On that post, someone proposed writing and self-publishing a book. I looked into that, and it seems worth trying. The best option seems to be Amazon Createspace. I can make a book available either for hardcopy print-on-demand, or Kindle/eBook. I also considered iTunes, but it wouldn’t be worth the effort to set that up unless I get great sales from Amazon.

There were amusing clauses in Amazon Createspace’s TOS.

You get a higher royalty rate publishing copyrighted content rather than public domain content. I consider my blog content public domain. I specifically edited my theme to remove the copyright notice! When spammers copy my content, I don’t send legal threat letter takedown notices. However, for Amazon self-publishing purposes, I should tell them it’s copyrighted and I’m the author and copyright owner.

You can publish a book under a pseudonym. I can still publish as “FSK”  I’d have to give Amazon my real name and SSN so they can pay me.  I don’t want to publish under my real name, because potential employers might refuse to hire me based on my writing.

You aren’t allowed to provide a link to your personal website in your book description. However, a search for “FSK” or the book title should lead here.

The Kindle self-publishing guide assumes MS Office. I have Open Office. The features should be comparable.

Amazon offers a non-exclusive publishing agreement. That isn’t like a traditional publishing agreement, where you have to assign over copyright ownership.  If the sales are good, I can always publish it again elsewhere.

At the same time, I can submit the book for Kindle sales and Amazon’s print-on-demand service.

Overall, the Amazon Createspace terms seemed reasonable.

There is another advantage of publishing on Amazon. People who search the Kindle store may find my book, leading to a wider potential audience.

I also could put up the pdf here and directly solicit donations. However, I don’t have a PayPal account. I’d just be collecting a bunch of posts in book form. You can already read it free via my blog.

There is one negative of using Amazon or PayPal. I pay a taxes on the sales. I pay a fee to Amazon. However, receiving some money is better than nothing. No matter how I earn money via the State economy, I pay taxes.

Maybe I shouldn’t put an exact copy of the book here. You’ll get most of it reading my blog.

I wanted to fill out the “FAQ” section of my blog. I can do both at the same time, filling out the FAQ section and using that as a starting point for a book. Based on Amazon pricing rates, ~200 pages seems like the right size.

My propsed title is “The Federal Reserve Is Evil, Taxation Is Theft, Emotional Manipulation Tricks, And Other Important Ideas.” That seems long, but it covers the most important things. I wonder if that’s too much for one book? I did a Kindle store search for “Federal Reserve”, and it was just the Jekyll Island and other conspiracy theory books.

Would you buy a copy? Is it worth my time? If I use Amazon Createspace, you’d have the option of ordering electronically for Kindle, or ordering a hard copy via their print-on-demand service.

If I make at least $240 in earnings, that covers my blog hosting costs for a year. Then, I wouldn’t need to consider ads. If it’s successful, I can always write more than 1 book per year. After blogging for a few years, I’m a much better writer. Maybe the book will find an audience, other than people who already read my blog?

9 Responses to FSK Asks – Writing A Book?

  1. Perhaps you could use the adwords tools to find out what title would work best or what book topic would work best?

    • I’d be using the Amazon store and not Google, so that wouldn’t be very relevant.

      To be really cynical, the only point of the AdWords tool is to trick people into wasting money on Google ads.

      I can see what Google keywords lead to people finding my blog. I’m disappointed that “node.js sucks!” is my most popular post, although that’s mostly bounces.

  2. gilliganscorner July 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Why not become a financial advisor? There is a dearth of them who know:

    1) The stock market is a scam.
    2) Real interest rates are negative.
    3) Taxation is theft.
    4) A host of other analysis that suits your math background.

    In addition, it is relatively cheap to start up. Have you tried your hand at building a dummy portfolio(s) on Yahoo finance to see how various strategies you come up with might work or not?

    From sites like christmartenson.com and other “matrix breaking” sites, I have seen a real need for “real” financial advisors as opposed to the cookie cutter PFA’s being cranked out.

    Just two cents.

  3. gilliganscorner July 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I think an interesting title would be:

    “Gutenberg V2.0: How the Internet Killed the State” and write it as “fiction” set 10-20 years into the future. You can explain how things were and posit fictional (read: real) solutions that worked to end the leviathan.

    • A financial adviser typically makes money by steering his client/victim into products that pay a commission. For example, if I trick you into buying a mutual fund with high fees, the fund manager gives me a big cut.

      At some large banks, the salesmen are supposed to pressure clients into buying stock that the bank is trying to unload.

      My honest investment advice is “buy gold and silver and take delivery”. There isn’t much commission to be earned doing that.

      Actually, it isn’t that easy to start an investment advice business. You need a State license to do it legally, which costs time and money.

      There already was a book that does what you say. It’s “Orwell’s Revenge” by Peter Huber.

      The Internet and cell phones give police an unprecedented power to spy on what people are doing. However, the Internet also gives individuals the unprecedented ability to share information outside of State media censorship. The “individuals share information” aspect is much more valuable than the spying aspect.

      Your cell phone enables easy State spying. However, you don’t have to carry your cell phone with you if you don’t want to be tracked!

      I’ll stick with nonfiction for my first try. If I make at least $100 in sales I can try something else.

  4. I say do it. I’d definitely buy it. A suggestion: include plenty of interesting personal anecdotes to illustrate your points. Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to have stuff about sexy, young vampires and werewolves. :P

    • It’s good to include personal anecdotes, but I don’t want to give away too much personal information.

      Some of my personal anecdotes are totally bizarre. When I started taking Seroquel, it partially cured my color blindness! That’s one reason I go along with taking it, even though I had a severe negative reaction to other drugs.

  5. I would strongly recommend Createspace. Gives you the Amazon and Kindle platform to sell on. No reason to go elsewhere. I have two books through them and I’ve had no problems with the TOS or payment.

    • That’s what I was planning. Any suggestions on price? I was planning to do both Kindle and print-on-demand. I was thinking of either $2 or $5 for the Kindle version, and aiming for a 25%-50% royalty rate on the hard copy.

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