Book Launch 101: Media Hijinks, Amazon Timing, and VIP Treatment for You

The last 72 hours – that’s me on the right. (Source: AgentGenius)

I opened an appropriate fortune cookie last week: “A calm sea does not make a skilled sailor.”

It’s important to always have a Plan B.

Take, for instance, a book launch. It’s easy to miss the bestseller list if you don’t have a contingency plan for when things go wrong.

This is exactly what happened to me in the last 72 hours, and my Plan B involves giving away lots of goodies.

Today is December 15th, and the new Expanded and Updated 4-Hour Workweek is officially out!

It’s a vastly superior book, and new material includes:

• More than 50 practical tips and case studies from readers (including families) who have doubled income, overcome common sticking points, and reinvented themselves using the original book as a starting point.

• Real-world templates you can copy for eliminating e-mail, negotiating with bosses and clients, or getting a private chef for less than $8 a meal

• Fully revised resources – the latest tools and tricks, as well as high-tech shortcuts, for living like a diplomat or millionaire without being either.

I wanted the launch for this new expanded edition to be as elegant and effective as possible, as I’m also on deadline for the new Becoming Superhuman guide to hacking the human body.

Instead of the usual 4-week launch plan with extended marketing and media, I decided to compress almost all of it into one week. This week.

To make it all work, I would have to combine pre-orders and sales from this week. Weekly New York Times lists are tabulated from Sunday to Sunday.

Alas, that’s when things got all screwed up, hence Plan B.

– Late last week, readers began to tweet that the book was already shipping, despite the official on-sale date of today. I’ve seen a few friends screwed in the past when their pre-orders were split between two weeks. They missed the NYT lists, which is critical for any snowball effect.

– Three national media spots were canceled this week due to scheduling conflicts and producer mix-ups.

Time to reset and bring out the big guns.

Plan B

Sometimes, size matters.

Now is one of those times, and I’d like to ask you a favor. Please consider the following.

This is for the next 24 hours only. It expires 2pm PST on Wednesday, 12/16/09.

If you’ve ever wanted to give The 4-Hour Workweek as a gift, or if you think you will, I’ll offer the following, with goodies attached and important details at the end:

Buy 1 copy (or use your older edition) – Participate in a 2-hour live Q&A with me on 12/22. It will focus at least 50% new material. No email receipt needed, but familiarity with book will be important.

Buy 4 Copies – Free signed, advanced copy of Becoming Superhuman when it comes out later in 2010. It will be one of Random House’s biggest releases, and you will see it even before most media.

E-mail Amazon receipt to with subject line “4 copies”.

Buy 10 Copies – The above signed copy of Becoming Superhuman and 1 full year ($120) of DropBox’s 50GB back-up and synching service for free, which I use and which appears in the book.

This makes the ten copies, in effect, free.

E-mail Amazon receipt to with subject line “10 copies” (we will have to confirm quantities, of course).

Buy 100 Copies (limit 20 spots) – Buy 100 copies here and get all of the above (Superhuman, 1-year DropBox), as well as a VIP invitation to a private bash I will be throwing in San Francisco on Friday, Feb 26th.

Dine and hang out with me and my best friends from tech and all over the world. It will be an evening to remember much like this, which was hosted on a functioning WWII warship, but even cooler and crazier.

Buy 1,000 Copies (limit 1 spot) – Buy 1,000 copies here and get all of the above (Superhuman, 1-year DropBox, VIP dine/party) and a full day of consulting with me on whatever topics you desire. I will fly you from anywhere in the world to San Francisco, where I will cover all meals and entertainment for 24 hours. One friend or business partner is welcome to attend if they cover their own travel and hotel.

Again, the above are valid for the next 24 hours only, ending at 2pm PST, Wednesday.

Some Details

What if I already ordered the new book?

No problem. Just combine the Amazon/online receipts in one email to with “4 books” (for the 4-book bonuses) or “10 books” (for 10-book bonuses) in the subject line.

What if I want the bonuses but don’t need 100 or 1,000 books?

Also no problem.

I’ll find a home for them, or you can sell them, or you can give them to a non-profit. There may well be a tax write-off if you do the latter, but you’d need to chat with a real accountant first to get it right.

Do Kindle and audiobook versions count for the Plan B bonuses?

Unfortunately, not for anything other than the live 2-hour Q&A next week.

Kindle and audiobook sales do not count for the New York Times list (f*ing ridiculous, I know), and this is an emergency list-recovery measure to compensate for the Amazon mix-up and cancelled major media.

Obviously, if you buy one of the formats that don’t count towards the list, have ever bought the book, or even read the blog, I’m still thankful!

Un abrazo fuerte 🙂


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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162 Replies to “Book Launch 101: Media Hijinks, Amazon Timing, and VIP Treatment for You”

  1. Thank You very much for your ingenious book. I was looking for that kind of inspiration for a veeery long time.

    Christmas Greetings from Poland 🙂

  2. Hey Tim,

    I’ve been telling everyone about the 4HWW for months now. It has been one of the most influential books that I have read in the last year. Many people have taken the advice and have picked up a copy. I have my “Expanded” copy from Amazon arriving today!

    I just completed the second Geek to Freak 30 day experiment yesterday (11/15) and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ve had weight lifters shake their head and tell me that your G2F post was impossible, that I shouldn’t get my hopes up and that I should be realistic or I’ll just give up when I don’t see those results. After the first 30 day results, I had two respected trainers ask me for a copy of my diet plan. I just had to point them to your blog.

    If you ever need any of my records for case study, etc. let me know.

    Thanks Tim for sharing your knowledge with the world.


  3. Hi Tim:

    I’m very excited about reading your expanded edition of 4HWW and tried to buy the ebook from fictionwise, but I couldn’t because they said they had geographical restrictions. I live in Chile, South America. Is this going to solve soon?



  4. Hi Tim

    I’m interested in selling your book via my online store. Do wholesale sales count toward the NYT? If yes… then where would you suggest I look to buy from?



  5. Ok, I finally bought a copy for my reference last night. I need to stop wasting “time” checking it out at the library anyways 😉 haha Good luck Tim. I hope you know some of us are excited for you and support you no matter where you are on some chart. The message, the inspiration, the impact on people’s lives is more important than that ~Morg

  6. @Wayne I was thinking the same thing as I read the post. Another great marketing strategy. I don’t mind it either way. As you say, just another strategy to learn from, right?

    My book is sitting in my condo mailbox. Can’t wait to scoop it up in an hour. May be a long night of reading…

  7. Tim,

    I just bought 4! I’m stoked on what you have to say in Becoming Superhuman. BTW judging by the party pics, the upcoming shindig sounds awesome. I was very tempted to buy 100 just to go. Will Tucker Max be there again? lol.

    Thank you again for inspiring me in such a radical, unique, and compelling way.

    I hope I can pay it all forward someday. You have big shoes to fill.

  8. I wonder if this would fall under shameless self promotion.

    I plan to buy the book, but I think you should be hanging out with your fans anyway, your fans are you’re real driving force.

    Why dont you organize some free events for all your fans, most of whom I would assume, are fairly hardcore.

  9. @George, you used the word ‘conference’ in your post and it has me thinking that a mini Comicon-style convention for 4HWW fans would be a blast.

    @TimFerris – any chance of that in the future?

    1. Sure. That’d be a freaking blast. I’d learn more from y’all than I could ever present, so it’d need to be a sharing gig. Lemme ruminate on it…



  10. So, I had preordered the book – I missed the contest obviously, but prior to this posting there was mention of a live 2 hour Q&A session with Tim (either on the 17th- or maybe the 22nd ??? ) I do not see how we “enroll” for that.

    Many thanks if someone can point me in the right direction.

    Good luck with the book launch Tim – sorry to hear of the problems with Amazon 🙁 But great job on finding another way to success!


  11. This 2009 year I read your book and implemented some of your travel tips and we were able to travel all around on very little money. I also got a new appreciation for travel that I had lost. Before I worked my butt off for architecture firms without taking a vacation. Now I see the light! Thanks I will buy your new extended version. Maybe now I will think more about implementing more.

  12. Got mine yesterday at B&N. Already read it. And if the one above hasn’t noticed, the overture thing has been replaced with the firefox plug in.

  13. Tim,

    wonderful plan B, I wish you all the best. Too bad I missed the deadline 🙁 My copy from amazon US arrived here in Germany on Tuesday.

    The strategy of giving incentives to buy copies of books sounds tempting. I have written and self-published a book myself, inspired by 4HWW.

    But I’m afraid I can’t do it here in Germany since we have “Buchpreisbindung”, i.e. binding retail prices for books as set by the publisher. So incentives likes the ones you offer are considered as illegal discounts… I always hated binding prices as a consumer but I’m starting to at least mildly like them now as a publisher 😉

    Anyway, I’ll definitely use that kind of incentivation strategy should I ever launch a book in the US…



  14. Just Received My Copy and Gift Copies in the mail. Love the idea specially since I have ordered several to give for Christmas anyway.

    Is that really a photo of Tim on the right? Getting ready for a movie? Halfway through my complete body change for Arnold Grappling Jiu-Jitsu Challenge in Ca hope to read your new book by then Becoming Superhuman

  15. Tim

    Can’t wait for the new version did the pre-order deal, but I’ll pick up couple more for gifts.

    One will make it in my sons “Book Time Capsule”, it’s new copy’s of books that I put in a container that I want him to read, when he gets old enough and to read. He’s 18 months. You made the cut along with the some Greats like, Think grow rich, As a man thinketh, Rid Dad Poor Dad, etc…. other great books I’m collecting.

    Good luck on Best Seller “No Doubt”


    Side note, Tim, I’m putting material to the test. Call it experiment or Case Study, I’m going to journal it in online in a blog. Started it yesterday Dec 15 My Birthday Same day you released updated version of Book. What a coincidence, Happy Birthday to me.

    Tim I need your help which do you like better? I’m on day 2

    “Project 4HWW”


    “The Muse Project”

    Wish me luck see you on other side.

    Brian Sorry about URL had to do it. Just putting myself out there anyhow page 33 Rule # 5 Ask for forgiveness not permission. Using my get out of jail free card. I’m out

  16. Tim thanks for being such an inspiration! Everyone I know will be getting a copy of the New 4 Hour Work Week for Christmas! Drop me an email when you feel like spending a little time in Toronto, Canada…I know some great places to eat and grab drinks.

    All the best,


  17. Hey Tim,

    Heres an idea to promote… go around the country, do book signing parties, have all your fans come, for free, they’ll create an insane viral effect.

    Lets do it.

  18. T-bone… You coach us to limit our email activity and automate our lives so we can spend time doing the things we love. Then you give us 7 hours to respond to your email/RSS feed that only showed up in my Inbox at 10:15am ET this morning. I understand your sense of urgency, but how was that suppose to work? Can you change your RSS feeds so they launch within an hour of your original post? I was bummed reading this post tonight knowing that I missed a great opportunity to support you. Looking forward to both your books and the next opportunity. Ready to rock.

    Best, Andrew

  19. Alas! I arrive hours after the promo is finished. Getting a copy of the book anyway of course! No electronic copy for me this time though!

  20. I’m with Andrew above, I really wanted to be able to help and be part of that offer for dropbox! I had just looked into signing up as well! Please tell me I can still buy 10 copies…


  21. Oh no. I missed it. Due to skimming the post and lack of attention. Regardless, I’m placing my order soon, and in due time ‘Becoming Superhuman’ will also be mine! Thanks for all the thoughts (as usual) and good luck with the NY Times.

  22. I preordered my copies through and Three for gifts for family and friends here and abroad one for myself. I went into the local Chapters on the chance the updated version was in and it was. Couldn’t wait, I bought it on the spot, that leaves an extra copy to gift.

    I purchased the original version this past Spring and it has been an inspiration.

    Thanks Tim!


    I’m on page 255 of the new book. I ordered it early from Amazon and stayed up most of the last night reading the new entries – visiting some of the Web sites and getting lost in time trying to dig up some new data.

    While reading, it dawned on me to offer some thoughts on Tim’s Blog. Which I have yet to do.

    I have been a secret follower for some years now. One of my Students (from a live-in martial arts travel program) suggested the book to me. It was perfectly aligned with what I was doing and preaching and wanted to do.

    Many of the concepts (but certainly not all) that Tim talks about on some level – I have tried and still trying to master. But what inspired me to write this quick post was the text at the top of page 254 – “Live Large in Thailand.”

    I am doing just that. In fact, so much of what Tim has offered has crossed with a lot of my life – everything from being a Ninja Nerd (martial arts tech wizard) to traveling and living abroad and though I consider him my Mentor, I also like to sugar coat my pride and imagine that great minds think alike.

    I am here to offer those that jump when they hear “Live Large in Thailand” the chance to come visit me and do EXACTLY that. I am a huge fan of the 4 -hour Workweek strategies as well as finding new gadgets or tools (like the Five Finger Shoes which are perfect for the island life).

    I have a small Thai style resort location on the tropical island of Koh Samui. I run a martial arts adventure camp and live my dream job. Though I have been living the Ferriss life-style since I was about 17, Tim’s research and material is a HUGE motivation for people like me. So this post is a plug to help some of his fans, and a giant THANK YOU.

    I know it can be challenging to get started on the internet and business. I sold my first Web site for $50,000 and still feel like I have no idea what I am doing. I am looking for NR friends, NR partners and to help inspire Tim into creating something many of us would be extremely motivated to teach – the NR lifestyle.

    Tim could create an insructors course of sorts that people who have given their lives to this system and who have the passion to help others succeed -teach and or coach them for an overall improvement of their lives. And Tim if you are listening there is a great idea for a self-improvement camp for the underpriveleged that I will share at a later date, but something I am sure will have you standing on your head.

    While I am on here, I want to offer a shout out to Kevin Rose another of my secret mentors who had me tuned in on Tech TV and maybe even got my t-shirt when I made a “Ninja Killer” video for the show. Anyway… getting back to the point of my post – if you want to learn more about Thailand or living in Thailand or come stay on the island at my small resort style Ninja Camp (for FREE) and chat about ideas, train in the martial arts or just enjoy the island and act out the cover of the book – I am offering a FREE 1 week stay for those who bring and show a copy of the book. We have some nice bungalows and I can cram you into the main house if needed 🙂

    NO, Tim did not put me up to this and we have never met. I am just extremely motivated right now – as I am sure many of you are. I started thinking that so many of us are all fired up and when you watch Tim and gang chat and promote, we might feel it would be great to have some of us on the other side getting together, sharring ideas and making partnerships.

    After all – we are the ones buying the books, reading the blogs and pushing people like Tim to provide more data and share more of his time. So allowing us more platforms to share and grow, while still being a part of the process would be great.

    So, I begin by offering what I can. You can visit my Web site to see photos of the camp (no, you do not have to train or pay for anything), it is a welcome call for new friends who value FREEDOM and my first attempt at giving and helping others.

    My reward – friends like YOU.

    Life’s a BLAST!


    Breathe – Laugh – Adventure – Stretch – Think

    1. Wow! Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment and awesome offer, Rick! I definitely suggest someone head over to Thailand and visit. Koh Samui is incredible.

      Happy holidays!


  24. F**K! I totally missed this. Can you please do something like this again? I’m a HUGE fan of yours and pre-ordered your new book + have the old one [happy to send them to you via images with my notes, or as my bro would say scribblings, which I can say will come in top 20 all time note takers for 4HWW ;)].

    I know you will not disappoint those, like myself, who missed this opportunity by having a similar goodies giveaway “contest” again. I’m looking forward to it and have a bet that it will happen in the next 1 month. After all, Tim Ferriss never disappoints his fans, right Tim?



  25. Thanks a bunch for that tip with Amazon! Got the book just 3 minutes ago. Now finally i can experience my Chritmas in full 🙂

  26. Thanks for the International Kindle Hack! I’m in N.Ireland & my hard copy is in the post but now I can get reading today! It was going to be something ridiculous like Sep 2010 before I could get it on Kindle. I was also to get a hold of some other goodies I’ve been waiting to become available – fab! Cheers all, AJ.

  27. @Virginia – in for 4hwwcon for sure.

    Despite amazon’s insanity, my copies are already out for delivery with the free shipping option. I ordered yesterday afternoon.

    And for all the doubters, the 24 hour deadline will increase sales more than a longer one. It forces you to make a decision on the spot rather than indefinately delaying your decision. This is kind of like Parkinsons law if you had to assign a 4hww meme. Perhaps a Bob Caldini compliance primer would be a good post.

  28. My ROI has been unmeasurable from your first book.

    I have the extended release en route.

    If you are ever in Vancouver, BC, Canada again, let’s hook up for some adventurous dining on me!

    I ended up creating some dining out hacks as well to create the most experience with minimal financial expenditure.

    Applying principles and concepts now to a fighting system.

    Looking forward to incorporating new material………….CAN”T WAIT!

  29. Tim, would love a “travel version” of the book. I took v1 on a 25K mile trip a few years ago, and its all tattered and worn out. I am taking v2 over xmas on a 15K mile trip. Would love a paperback, abridged version that easily fits in a pants/jacket pocket. I also live in nyc, and commute, carrying the big hardcover around is tough to do without a bag.

  30. Tim,

    LOVE the new edition and am almost done reading it. However, several things I noticed so far that might make the ‘experience’ more top notch:

    On page 114 you make the excellent suggestion of Grand Central was an AWESOME tip in the first edition and I have been using it for 2 years now. However, the company was acquired by Google and is called Google Voice now ( Grand Central was officially shut down by earlier this month.

    On this site the forum does not seem to work even though you have links for it. I might just be to dumb to operate it but never have been able to get it to work.

    In the resource ‘bonus’ section for the book some of the links are down now. E.G. Credit on Elance. Offer expired a year ago. There are several others were you now need passwords etc..

    Things change over time and it might be time to have one of your V.A.’s go through all those links and refresh them.

    Just wanted to give you a heads up on this to make great stuff even better…

    1. Dieter!

      Thanks so much for the heads up. I had a feeling I might have missed something online, as I was so focused on the written text. I finished the editing about 6 months ago, so it was before GrandCentral was shut-down, but now it has to be swapped out. I’ll get on it after X-mas!

      Thanks again 🙂


  31. I’ll get your book for sure, and I took many of the suggestions and improved life-style big time. Thanks!

    But Tim I have to admit, I liked the Green Book and blog better, it has more of a epiphany kind of edge…

    Good Luck, Thanks Again

  32. Tim–

    One of the most fascinating things about the buzz your book has engendered since the first edition was published, is simply the way in which it has opened folks up–including me–to asking questions about our most deeply-engrained ways of thinking about life. Like many, I was turned off by some of the things that you wrote about that appeared unethical; HOWEVER, I recognized that–especially for women–your message that it is a good idea to care enough about your own life to look at what you are doing with your time and to break out of the “good girl” mode in order to live fully…well, that was worth my order of another 3 books.

    This is a discussion that is going on on the comment pages of Amazon right now and I think we’re all the better for it.

    Best, Janie

    Head to the grindstone simply results in a dull head…

  33. Hey Tim,

    I just went down to the local book store and picked up the book. The four Hour Work Week is awesome, and I look forward to reading it again + the expanded and updated areas of the book.

    Hope you make the Top Seller list. Just goes to show the importance of having a plan B in place, or at least having the seeds in place to implement a Plan B.

    Not having any secondary plan in place, even if its the failure plan is so overlooked in business, and especially by new internet entrepreneurs. Without the plan, people seem to simply give up, and not even mark it down as a failure, and learn form the experience, which is the a key to being successful.

  34. Can’t believe I missed the Plan B bonuses by 2.5 hours. 10 copies would’ve been a no-brainer, and the 100 and 1000 copies had me on the edge of my seat CC in hand ready to go. I’ll still pick up a few as Christmas gifts, but man I wish I’d seen this earlier.

  35. Love the new book! I read the original one twice. And the new one is even more inspirational. Definitely worth getting. Thank you!

    It’s funny because I often ask people if they have read it. They say, “Huh?” I explain how it teaches us how to cut our work week down to 4 hours.

  36. Tim,

    I just learned about your 1,000 book offer today and too late. I would have enjoyed distributing these books to teens living in the projects and inspiring them [not to mention spending a day with you and gaining some insight]. A proponent of Leary’s/Jung’s ‘synchronicity” concept, i imagine our paths will cross if they were destined to cross.

    Good luck on your first week of your release.


    Evan in NY.

  37. Can’t wait to get my copies.

    Ordered a few days ago from Amazon but will take them a MONTH to get to New Zealand!

    I guess there are some downsides to living here 😉

    It’s completely understandable that internet references referred to in the book would change fairly quickly but it would be wicked if there was a page on this blog that listed all the corrections and good replacements for the unavailable services. Especially for people that get this ‘first’ edition.

    Kind of like an ‘errata’ page for stuff that isn’t your fault.

    Keep up the good work Tim, good luck for the bestseller lists!


  38. Hey Tim what time is the Q & A on the 22nd? Make sure it does not interfere with Family Guy’s Blue Harvest Sequel airing the same day!

    Also: How do I sign up/ register for the Q&A ?

  39. I’ve been giving the book as gifts to people and nobody can put it down once they start reading it. People are responding with “This book has changed my life” and “Why didn’t I read this sooner.” I don’t think any gift I’ve ever given before has had such a profound effect on people. It’s pure gold. Thanks Tim!

  40. So, Tim, how did it go in terms of getting on those lists?

    I’ m in France and your book is not available yet on (only the first edition, which I already have). And it’s not on the Kindle (the Global Wireless one) either ;(

  41. Love to know what outcome you saw from this. Regarding promotion: you’ve said on video that when the book came out, you ‘couldn’t touch’ (if memory serves) print, tv, or radio. You’ve also said that you were majorly f@#%&! on the book deal.

    I’ve had disagreements with my own publisher (refusing to grant me the same quantity discounts accorded to bookstores; denying royalties on author-sold copies)–but are you saying RH contractually prevented you from promoting your own book in these media? And what’s with the majorly f@#%&! thing?

    This is in no way a criticism; you certainly overcame whatever stumbling blocks were thrown at your feet–I’d just like to know what I (and others) should watch out for with the next book contract…

    (4HB already ordered, btw.)