Investing Book Second Edition

September 11th, 2013 by Potato

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?

5 Responses to “Investing Book Second Edition”

  1. Sandi Says:

    Do it!

    1. The beauty of your book is that you’re not coming at it from a career mindset. Just like the blog, it’s for regular people. There aren’t enough (non-pandering or non-commercials-for-someone’s-financial-planning-services) books out there for regular people.

    2. Your book sales dropped to zero because of your utter disdain of self-promotion. Not a bad thing, just a thing…and probably unlikely to change.

    3. Sure, there are lots of books out there about planning, or budgeting, or passive investing, but see point one. Also, no one else goes step by step through the process with TD.

    4. Include ETFs, assuming you want to expand your target audience from “people who are just starting out” to “people who are just starting out in passive investing but already have enough money saved up to dive right into ETFs”.

    5. Paper (or, as we call it around here, “real book”) editions would be great, but less easy to update (for example, when TD Waterhouse changed its name to TD Direct Investing)

    6. That’s all I got.

  2. Netbug Says:

    Did you mention another financial institution that was offering something comparable to the TD E-series? Perhaps instructions on how to set that up. But I love it the way it is. I think a print edition, in the right places, might sell well.

    Of course, don’t forget to plaster the cover with the glowing reviews. ;)

  3. Potato Says:

    Thanks guys!

    1) I don’t think my blog has ever before been described as “for regular people.”
    2) I notice your response didn’t include an offer to co-author (perhaps because you knew I would also slough off promotional onto you ;) Also, sales didn’t get that high in the first place in part because of my disdain for self-promotion (also, lack of time, though that excuse is, here as it is in all things, weak sauce).
    5) Well, it’s not like the first edition was updated (until maybe possibly kind of now or some point in the future not too far distant from now).

    Netbug: I did mention ING Streetwise as well. I don’t have detailed step-by-step instructions because I haven’t set up an account there.

  4. Sandi Says:

    No offer to co-author = assuming it must be a joke on account of the fact that I’ve got a horrible confidence problem.

  5. Potato Says:

    No, if it was a joke it would be because I’m not able to share authorship.