Bob Baker's Book Promotion Blog
How Tim Ferriss (4-Hour Workweek) Got It Wrong
Last week I purchased the audio version of The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. This book has been generating a lot of buzz, and for a good reason. Ferriss made smart use of the Internet with an attention-getting title. It's been in the top 10 on Amazon and other bestseller lists.
It's a good read (or in my case, listen) too. The author considers himself an expert on "life design," and if you want a swift kick in the pants to shake up your notion of a 9 to 5 job, I suggest you read it.
I've been prodding people to think differently about their life and work for years, so I welcome the nontraditional message of the book. Some of Ferriss's ideas I'm already living, some I would never feel comfortable applying, and others I plan to investigate further and consider.
Here's my beef with Tim Ferriss ...
Ferriss has done a lot of interviews with many prominent bloggers, including Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net. In this interview, Rowse asked Ferriss for his advice for aspiring authors. Among other things, Ferriss said this:
Above all, do not create an e-book or self-publish as a path to a big publisher. No publisher will purchase something already self-published.
Excuse me? No publisher will be interested in a self-published book? Really? Then what about these titles ...
The One-Minute Manager
What Color Is Your Parachute
The Whole Earth Catalog
Life's Little Instruction Book
The Artist's Way
The Wealthy Barber
What to Expect When You're Expecting
The Christmas Box
1001 Ways to Be Romantic
You Can Heal Your Life
Attitude Is Everything
50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth
The Handbook of Higher Consciousness
Conversations with Millionaires
The Celestine Prophecy
Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun
The Elements of Style
All of these books were originally self-published before being sold to major publishers. Believe me, if you're selling lots of books on your own, you will have publishers lining up to get in on it.
Ferriss may be an expert at life design, but he doesn't know much about the modern realities of book publishing.
Here's another misguided comment from the ProBlogger interview:
I'm not doing the book for income. NOTE TO ASPIRING AUTHORS: writing books is not a good way to make money. The benefits are huge, but not often financial.
The funny thing is, in The 4-Hour Workweek, Ferriss writes about creating passive income sources that free you up to travel and live wherever you want. One of the things he strongly recommends you do to generate passive income is to produce and sell an information product.
Tim, Tim, Tim. Sounds like you're talking out both sides of your mouth. On one hand, you recommend producing books and other info resources as a way to become financially free; on the other, you say there's no money to be made with books.
Maybe he meant there's little money to be made with traditional publishing contracts, even when you have a bestseller on your hands. But I'm here to tell you that there is money to be made with independently published books. I've been doing it for years, and so have many other authors. It's not easy to accomplish, but is quite possible.
I applaud Tim Ferriss for writing and promoting an eye-opening book. But I give him low marks for propagating outdated ideas about books and publishing, and for giving voice to the tired notion of the "starving artist." He should know better.
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