The latest little volume in my “How to … ” series is out. How to do Welfare is my take on the problems of government assistance, and how it fails to help the people who need it most – with a solution based on Universal Basic Income thats works financially for the UK. It’s out today on Kindle and in paperback, but you can download a free PDF here.
My August self-challenge was to write up my thoughts on the healthcare sector, in the same little-book format as How to do Freelancing and How to do Life. One day clear of my Aug 30 deadline, both paperback (ISBN 978-1-912795-27-7) and Kindle editions are now available for order.
The next few books in my “How to do…” series will also involve public policy rather than private victory: planned titles include How to do Welfare and How to do Schools. There’ll be a break for How to do Fitness though.
100 Days, 100 Grand has now been out a year. I’ve published a revised edition (containing the ongoing typos and corrections you can also download as PDFs if you’ve got an older paperback copy) and a 12-book “box set” that splits the 1,200 pages of content into the book’s different sections. This Q1 I’m taking the next step!
I always wanted 100 Days to be an easy-on-the-eye book, with plenty of colour and space in the margins. Most of the 350 or so people who’ve bought it so far seem to agree. But this makes for a very pricey print job, which is why I prefer people to buy from me direct instead of through Amazon or bookstores. And since that means boxing up copies myself, I thought: why not add a few extra bits to the box, so readers get more value?
That’s why I’m working on the 100 Days Plus Pack. For a bit more cash (£149.95) it’ll include a signed paperback copy of the book, a number of other gubbins (wallcharts and crib sheets) to help the reader along the 100 Days journey, and access to a private social media group where you can ask and answer questions. It’s planned for launch end of March after some testing at London Book Fair this year. See you there!
100 Days, 100 Grand is a big book – over 1,000 A4 pages. That makes it a long read on Kindle, and – if you own the print edition – heavy to carry around. So, based on reader feedback, the content is now available as 12 smaller books – the 100 Days Editions!
The new books are around 50-150 pages each, making for an easier read – and, of course, easier on the pocket, since you can buy each when you’re ready. (The Intro is just £1.99 – or FREE if you’re on Kindle Unlimited!) Each Edition’s cover is accented with the same colour used inside to denote its Part, just as in the complete workbook – it’s the same content of course, just split into the ten Parts plus an Intro and Appendices. Print editions are coming next month; Kindle versions are out NOW. Why not start your collection?
People seem to be enjoying the paperback edition – as a workbook, 100 Days, 100 Grand is designed to be scribbled on, with wide margins and linespacing, and ebooks aren’t quite naturals at that yet. Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone adding notes and highlights; by the end of someone’s hundred days I’d like their copy to be dog-eared, covered in runes, stained with coffee and stacked with Post-Its.
(By the way, the best way to get your copy is to order directly from me – you get it signed with a note of thanks, and I make more money.)
But it’s a big book, and people are complaining they can’t carry it around when they work in freelancer haunts like coffee shops. So in May I’m launching a set of new editions – splitting down the book’s 10 Parts (of 7-14 chapters each) into separate books. They’ll contain exactly the same content, but in easier form factors of 60-150 pages apiece. Hey, if it makes life easier for my audience, I’m all for it!
Look out for the set of 12 (including the intro and appendices) at Amazon soon, in all three formats (paperback, Kindle, and Print Replica.) Right, time to start work…
Happy to report the Kindle version of 100 Days, 100 Grand is now available for pre-order at Amazon! It’s been a long and hard journey, but the (next) finishing line is now in sight. (After which the real work of getting 12,000 people to buy it starts.)
It’s only a mockup, but this is basically what the print book will look like (perfect-bound A4 paperback.) Getting closer…
Setting a publication date is like doing exams: there’s no backing out, but knowing you have to aim for an exact date concentrates the mind. Accordingly, and with over 200,000 words in the can, I’ve set a concrete date to get the book into stores.
100 Days, 100 Grand will be available for purchase on Nov 30, 2017.
The completion pathway between now and then includes a long summer lock-in in a property I own … bracketed by a couple of courses I’ve wanted to take for years.
The property you know: 100 Days HQ is a tricked-out garage in London, mostly used as a home gym although home’s now somewhere else. The courses are two fitness qualifications I’ve long wanted to try: the PCC and RKC instructor certifications in progressive calisthenics and kettlebells.
The first, in May, is followed by the lock-in; the second, in Nov, signals its close. (I’m not an instructor, but I do write a bit on fitness at Medium, and doing some professional development might help me know what I’m talking about.) That close means everything: text, typesetting, proofing, visuals, the lot, all ready to go to the distributor.
Of course, I’m taking my own medicine – everything planned for the next six months, with daily tasks and checklists just like 100 Days itself – and unless I’ve made serious miscalculations or get hit by a bus, it should go smoothly.
After all, writing a textbook is much like fitness. You can’t just jump on a bar and pump out 20 reps: you need to start small, progress smoothly, level up when you’re ready. And this summer stint should get me to the finish line.
Every field has its core textbook. Writing has the tiny Elements of Style; medicine has Gray’s Anatomy and Molecular Biology of the Cell. And I’m still partial to Eric Drexler’s Nanosystems from decades back.
So if you’re teasing a textbook into being, you feel an instant affinity with anyone who’s done the same. Someone who has is gymnastics instructor Steven Low, whose second edition of Overcoming Gravity has just hit the shelves.
I don’t know Low, but the first edition gained a reputation as the bible of bodyweight training. It’s also an indie effort: unlike the slickly typeset professionalism in the campus bookstore, it’s clearly the work of one man. The result is everything a textbook should be: expert knowledge, coherent structure, and practical advice plainly communicated, with actual numbers attached for your reps and sets. Enabling any able-bodied (or differently-abled) individual to train to a high level of ability without ever taking a gym class.
And that’s why I’m blogging about a gymnast’s training manual. Because it’s a textbook (!) case in taking your knowledge to the world in print.
The B&W US-Letter sized 600-page softcover (you always note these things when you’re an indie) hits the table with about the same thump as 100 Days, 100 Grand – I’m planning 1200, but Low’s opus uses thicker stock. Each page is high-wordcount; one critique would be the narrowness of margins (the print version of 100 Days will have more scribble space) but that’s just me. The cover art is beautifully simple, a limited font choice and silhouettes of master moves like the iron cross and planche.
Like 100 Days, 100 Grand, it’s split into Parts, each a sequence of different activities building towards an end goal. Part 1 covers the fundamentals: principles of leverage, progressive resistance, the relationship between muscle and nerve – it’s where you start. Part 2 is the main course: the process of constructing a routine that works for you, what basic exercises to select and how to combine them in a workout plan. Part 3 goes into side factors like cross-training and injury management for anyone interested, while 5 sequences the actual exercises, Levels 1 to 16 in groups of four that mirror the ABCD difficulty ratings of gymnastics.
Of course, master moves like the one-arm planche illustrated on the cover aren’t among most people’s goals, but it’s great to see where the progression pathway that starts with sitting on your hands leads.
But you know what really matters here? The human stuff.
Much of the text is plain-spoken declarative sentences. But a sense of warmth floods from its pages. You somehow know how much work went into this, how many hours Low spent at his desk or in his gym writing, testing, checking, and writing again. It’s a celebration of personal achievement: the idea that with the right knowledge and practices, anyone can master their body.
And that’s what it has in common with 100 Days, 100 Grand: the empowerment of the individual. My goal is to make freelancing less of a crapshoot; Low’s is to show how anyone can achieve full control over their body. Whether you want a six-figure income or a six-pack abdomen, the basic thinking behind both books is the same.