Investing Book

September 15th, 2011 by Potato

I’ve been productive with my long weekends: I wrote a book! It’s a book aimed at beginner investors, and recommends a passive indexing strategy. The main strengths of the book are:

  • It’s a short book.
  • It covers the basics in plain language.
  • It’s written by a Canadian for Canadians.
  • It has pictures of bunnies.
  • It has step-by-step instructions for how to apply the basics of index investing to actually get starting investing, including how to set up an account and how to place a trade, with some key screenshots to help.

Though it’s only been about two months from when I first started to now, IMHO, the book is done. The formatting is there, the text has been revised a few times, and I even sacrificed a counterfeit $10 bill Tim Horton’s passed to me to mock up a cover image. If you’d like to review the book (preferably to post on your blog and the Amazon/Indigo reviews when available) please send me an email at and I’ll send you a copy. I have two formats at the moment: regular letter-sized (best for reading on a computer or to print in hard-copy at home) and Kobo/Kindle formatted PDF (not quite as smooth as an epub or Kindle native format, but looks really sweet on my Kobo), both as DRM-free PDFs.

Most of the material is not exactly unique to me or new for an investing book: basic stuff about why saving/investing is important, what’s a stock/bond/fund, what’s an RRSP/TFSA, etc. What is unique is that it’s written by me, and that it includes the kind of hands-on material that I’ve never seen anywhere else that’s needed to actually get started on your own (how to open an account, how to enter a trade, where to go to find CC’s rebalancing spreadsheet), and just inside, written in large, friendly letters are the words “Don’t Panic.” (Though in contrast to the HHGTTG, the words are not all-caps.) It is, as I mentioned, short: just 37 letter-size pages once you discount the pictures and things like the title page and ToC; in kobo format, just 89 screen refreshes including all the filler.

If you’d like to buy a copy right now (just $5) before I sort out publishing, again just send me an email at and I’ll sort out PayPal with you and email you both PDF form factors.

So I have just a few main questions that maybe you all can help me answer (whether you feel like reviewing the book or not):

  1. Do I go for a self-publishing model, or try submitting to a traditional publisher? If self-publishing, e-book only, or physical copies too? If a publisher, which one?
  2. Should I publish under my “real” name, or Potato? On the one hand, I might want to offer education services alongside the book, which is really a real-name kind of thing. On the other, I have more “brand recognition” for investing discussions as Potato… though people who aren’t familiar with my writing might take it somewhat less seriously with the pseudonym, and those who do read enough to recognize Potato as being a serious force in Canadian personal finance probably don’t need a beginner’s book.
  3. If I do publish under my real name, do I “out” myself in the process and use this site to promote the book, or do I just not mention the book again here and hope the connection isn’t made?

Another option (Wayfare’s sage suggestion) is to just split BbtP: do all the finance stuff on a new blog with my “real” name, and keep all the video game/political ranting/science/random stuff here.

3 Responses to “Investing Book”

  1. Netbug Says:

    I’m a bad friend; I still haven’t finished it. In fact, I’m going to read some more of it now because I have about an hour.

    I don’t see any harm in submitting to a “real” publisher and then if that doesn’t go anywhere, self-publish.

    As for the “real” name thing, i can’t really answer that because i’m like Batman to your Superman (yeah, i took the batman mantle!); we know each others secret identities! But i’ve never had a problem with revealing who I am online, despite the differences (slight) I can present as a web entity versus my physical self.

    I like Wayfare’s idea of separating your blogs.

    (in the process of writing this, I have discovered that this keyboards shift key is unreliable when typing the letter “i”)

  2. Canadian Capitalist Says:

    It looks like a neat book. I’d love to review it. I’ve been putting together one on investing in etfs but it’s slow going at the moment.

  3. Saturday Morning Dump: Don’t Link Or You’ll Miss Them » Financial Uproar Says:

    […] Holy Potato wrote an investing book. He was kind enough to supply me with a copy to review for the blog. I will most likely rip it to shreds praise it as the most wonderful book of all time. […]