11 September 2012
My new book, Money for Something, has been out for about a month, and I wanted to post a note about my experience during that time.
The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and in that regard I've been thrilled by three things:
The diversity of background. I've been contacted by people from all walks of life—including designers, engineers, executives, parents, grandparents, university finance professors, philosophers and even coaches of Mixed Martial Arts!
The diversity of geography. It was my hope to attract a global audience, and that's happened. It's really exciting to hear from people in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Germany and Mexico, who are all finding local ways to implement the investment strategy outlined in the book.
The success stories. One particular person in the United States, with whom I've been working closely has, as a result of learning about the devastating consequences of high-cost investments, rolled over his retirement investment account from something costing 2.5% per year, to one costing 0.5% per year. Over his expected investing lifetime and savings rate, that alone will save him literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. (I plan to write a case study about this guy soon.)
It's a deeply gratifying feeling to have created something that will have a meaningful and positive impact in people's lives. I've always been proud of our work, but I have to say this is a new, and special feeling.
User experience is about the whole experience
Apart from the comments about the book itself, I've also received several compliments on the design of the book website, and the simplicity and efficiency of its checkout process and follow-on gifting workflows. For that, I owe all the credit to my incredible teammates Alex Bendiken and Justin Driscoll at Makalu Interactive
Positioning of the book
My objective for the positioning of this book was the following:
It's a first introduction to investing.
While there are some great books out there about investing, a selection of which I recommend at the book website, I believe they are more appropriate as follow-on books to Money for Something; books to be read once the reader is convinced that they need to invest, and are going to invest.
In fact, I believe readers of those books, who have started with Money for Something, are more likely to actually finish reading them, and less likely to get side-tracked by some of the complexities.
So what are the goals of a first introduction? In writing this book, mine were:
Make it short and concise, so that the reader is likely to finish it without putting it down. I would say most of the effort in writing the book was on taking things out, and simplifying.
Make it complete enough, so that if the reader only reads my book, they'll have enough knowledge to understand why they should be investing, and to implement a solid investment plan.
Focus on the essential concepts which are universally accepted, to avoid the risk of the reader getting sidetracked by issues which are contextual (such as taxation).
Tell the story of investing in such a compelling way that the reader, upon finishing the book, will be motivated enough to actually start investing.
In short, I want you to read the whole book, start investing, and stick with it!
The feedback I've gotten seems to confirmed these goals. Folks appreciate the “no fluff” concise writing style, and those who've written me seem very motivated to get started investing (and many report they have!)
By the way, regarding those interesting follow-on books, one was just released today. In my book, I discuss the long-term importance of the asset allocation and briefly mention the particular one I follow, called the Permanent Portfolio. Today, Craig Rowland's anticipated new book, which goes into great depth about this particular allocation, has been released in Kindle format.
The next phase...
Several readers have contacted me with questions that, while outside the scope of the book, lead naturally from it. I'm currently considering how to address this follow-on interest and need — whether pointing people to the follow-on references, providing some opinion and help, starting a blog in which I write about some of the common questions, etc.
After a month, I'm absolutely convinced that Money for Something is uniquely positioned, broadly needed, and represents a tremendous value for its intended audience. That audience is itself very broad, and our challenge now is to reach it. For the moment, we're relying on word-of-mouth — and let me extend a huge "Thank you!" to those of you who've beeen gracious enough to help! :-)
So we're searching for ideas about how to further and more broadly get the word out. If you have any, I'd love to hear from you. :)
Coming up next, I plan a series of articles about the process itself of creating and self-publishing an electronic book. It's a topic of interest right now, and I hope to share the details of our experience.