A reader recently emailed me saying that he liked my investing book so much he was going to read it again after letting everything percolate for a few months. He wanted to know if I had a second edition coming out soon. It has been two years now since I wrote the book, so perhaps a revision is due.
I’ve given very nearly zero thought to a second edition: I have an errata page to catch the very few corrections and changes that cropped up, and other than updating the historical results for the past two years there really isn’t anything fundamental to change. That’s the beauty of a simple, passive approach. I might give it another round or two of editing/polish, and maybe add a graph or two, but nothing so major that I would go to the trouble of doing a new edition — it was intended to be timeless (also: sales have dropped to zero, removing motivation).
Reader feedback has been universally positive — it’s actually freaking me out. Most people (as expected) don’t write a review or pester the author, but a few have written back with brief notes of thanks or praise. No one has suggested changes, said that a part confused them, or that something obvious was missing. It makes me wonder if Wayfare wakes up early every morning to clear the inevitable negative ones out of my email and comment queue to spare my ego, as there’s no way nobody has wanted to complain that it was a waste of their $5, the world just doesn’t work that way. It may be due to the small sample size: even after two years I’ve still only sold a few dozen copies.
So an open question: what would you like to see in a second edition?
I cut a few chapters from the initial outline: I wanted to finish before my PhD thesis defense prep picked up again, and more importantly, thought it was vital that the book be short and approachable (unlike my blog). I figured there were numerous sources on the whys of investing and the indexing choice, and on budgeting, so I could focus on the missing component of the hows. One I’ve been thinking about has been expanding the single page on planning, in large part because I’ve had a few decent blog posts on the matter for material (including a rather important spreadsheet) that came out after the book was published. However, there are whole books on planning — whole careers on it — and it could rapidly grow on me to become a book in its own right, not to mention that it’s not really my specialty (maybe I can convince Sandi to co-author it and do most of the work?).
But maybe you think less is more: is there something that should be cut? Have other, newer books on the market supplanted the need for my book entirely?
Let me know what you think, what you want, what you never knew you needed until this one perfect moment of comment section inspiration seized you.
As an aside, PSGtDIYI (wow that’s an ugly acronym, no wonder I just call it the book) is self-published in electronic-only formats (though with a letter-sized PDF version for easy printing at home). That was in part to test the market before committing the time and resources to finding a publisher or making print versions — and the response was not strong enough for me to look into that further. But my dad at least thinks that this material would be better-suited to a print version, and suggested I do a small print run for it. Though I doubt a serious publisher would be interested in it (the format is too weird), that route might lend it some additional credibility. If nothing else, a print version is something I can give away to people who need it and they might actually read it. Very roughly speaking, I would likely need to charge closer to $10 for a print edition, even for a quick copy shop spiral-bound deal (and bear in mind it is a very thin book printed out, and many people value their books by weight). Thoughts on that?