Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi on Blogging Techniques and Self-Publishing vs. Big Publishers

Last week, Ramit Sethi and I recorded a private videocast for a select group of readers. The three short videos below, all 2-8 minutes in length, describe our blogging tips and techniques, as well as an examination of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.

He and I have both had the privilege and tactical experience of:

1) Building highly-trafficked blogs in a crowded blogosphere of more than 120 million blogs. More important, both of our blogs are well-known for action-oriented readers (For data on this blog’s readers — that’s you! — check this out).

2) Publishing books that reached The New York Times bestseller lists. Ramit’s experience is fresh and most up-to-date from his last three weeks with I Will Teach You To Be Rich, while I wrote The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been on the New York Times business bestseller list continually for 23 months, since its publication in April of 2007.

Here are some of the topics we cover in the a la carte videos:

Currencies Besides Royalties and Direct Income

Google Juice and SEO Misuse

Choosing Post Topics: From Google Keyword Tool to Stumble Upon

Post Length and Publishing Time

Tactical Redating of Posts

Regarding the plug-in I mention for keeping your best content on your homepage, the very smart Lloyd Budd at Automattic explains:

Have your WordPress theme developer to update your theme to take advantage of the simple 2.7 feature “sticky posts” to have articles stay on the front page: http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/is_sticky

Self-Publishing vs. Big Publishers – 5:11

How to Build Traffic – 7:22

More Blogging Tactics – 2:35

In Ramit’s latest post, you will find an additional video on our mutual “false starts” and mistakes.

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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128 Replies to “Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi on Blogging Techniques and Self-Publishing vs. Big Publishers”

  1. Awesome. I'll watch these tomorrow morning when my internet is in off-peak times.

    Also, nice to see Disqus has been installed. Definitely my favorite blog comment system.

  2. Great video's, content is king as always if you want traffic, with regards to publishing I just can't see why 99.9% would want a conventional deal, you can self publish so easily these days. You can just make so much more money doing it yourself than with a publisher. I believe self publishing is the way forward for most people.

  3. I love the full length video, would have been cool to post that link as well instead of having to search for it 🙂

  4. I'd love to see you guys have the discussion about self publishing vs. working with a publisher with someone who has had some success self publishing something. Not that I think you were slagging self publishing, but both you and Ramit are approaching the topic from the standpoint of having gone through a larger publisher so it's hard to have a “this vs. that” discussion between two people who both favor one side. Also you mention that there are good publishers and bad publishers, but note that you are both working with publishers you like. One example might be Wil Wheaton – he self published, then went to a major publisher, then went back to self publishing because he felt he got the results he wanted better doing things himself. Of course the issue of what you want out of it is ever present, I just think that would be a really interesting discussion if it included some folks who had differing opinions on it.

    1. It’s great to see some solid advice from the trenches. I know this post is getting a little long in the tooth but it doesn’t take away from the info in these videos.

      – Matt

  5. Great videos. Particularly like the video on ramits site about failure.

    The idea of getting stability in your core elements allowing you the freedom to learn from your mistakes is really interesting. Definitely something to think about some more!

    Keep up the great work!

  6. Hey Tim,

    What an inspiration and a pleasure to be part of your world. Since you you wrote your book my world has completely changed. My muse has taken off, hollywood has called and I've never looked back. Thank You for what your doing.


  7. This is pure gold!

    Building the usefulness and reach of my blog has been one of my main focuses of late. The insight you guys offer here is very timely for me!

    Also, with one successful book “published” already in electronic form, and another on the way shortly, my co-author and I are thinking about making hard copy editions available. So the discussion about self-publishing vs the traditional route is very useful.

    Self-publishing is attractive for the speed of implementation especially. The traditional route still seems better if your goal is to build credibility with your book to support other professional activities.

    Thanks so much!

  8. Awesome post. Usually not a fan of video blogging but this was all high content and having you both trading off kept it interesting throughout. Always a great source of information. Gracias!

  9. Excellent advice Tim and Ramit. The idea of the plugin that always pushes one of your 'best' posts at or near the top intrigues me – any detail on this?

  10. Great stuff Tim.

    The obvious solution to virtually any problem is just to write great content. I've found the way to write better content is to write for yourself first and your audience second. We generally don't as much about our readers as we would like, but if we write about things we find interesting or important, usually others will to.

    Once you've got great stuff, it's just a matter of making it easy to read. You're blog is great example of taking a lot of information and chopping it up to only what's necessary; using lists, videos, subheadings, etc. Length is only a problem when you have boring content or a wall of text.

  11. An interesting insight on blogging. I like that you analize everything to the smallest detail to get the best effect.

    I also noticed that timing for blog posts is very important. Especially since I am in the other time zone than the US.

    By the way, how do you measure reading time for your post?

  12. I really enjoyed hearing both of you talk about traditional publishing versus publishing your own work. The discussion about multiple currencies was especially enlightening. Thanks, as always, for offering your unique and valuable perspectives.

  13. Wow! You guys are awesome!

    Tim, You have helped inspire me to start my own blog. I am a computer programmer so I just blog about what I know!

    Ramit, You have showed me the ways of saving. Thanks so much!

    Keep up the good work guys!

  14. I think there is a lot of value to the “quality over quantity” point for readership. Some folks are so obsessed with numbers of subscribers, readers, etc that they lose their focus and stop creating great content!

    You mentioned using StumbleUpon and the Google Keyword Tool. Completely agree. I've also used Delicious to determine the most popular articles for a given topic.

    Also, if your readers would like to see how quickly and when your pages are being added to Google, they might try this search, which shows how many pages were added in the past week (and you can change the timeframe):


  15. Thanks for great ideas.

    You guy's are my idols! I am doing my homework now for when I meet both of you.

    Have a good one.

    Doug Lance

  16. Great post, I really enjoy the video blogging format because it is more like having a conversation and I find it much more engaging.

    Based on the way you both describe the publishing process, it seems like a large publishing house would build a social network and take publishing open source to allow people to better target their audiences in the next couple years.

    Thanks for the blog tips, it is nice to see Ramit again. These posts are more like niche presentations than just posts. Very nice!

  17. Tim, Thanks for reminding me about Ramit. I heard a lot about him via JD Roth's GetRichSlowly.org's site but forgot to subscribe there.

    PS The Videos are great, but difficult to watch at work. Any chance of transcripts being made available?

  18. Very helpful information in here for those of us who actually want to write a blog that makes a difference and gets people to take notice in order to get them to TAKE ACTION.

    Thank you for sharing your inside secrets.

    What are your best tips for actually changing people's minds in a radical way through a blog? Is that even possible?

  19. What's up Tim? Love the videos. Very informative. I've been doing the exercises in the 4 hour work week which has allowed me to chase and vizualize my goals. Before reading the 4 hour Work Week, I was inconsistent when it came to writing a plan for my life. Thanks to you I am developing aconsistency. Once in awhile I slack off. (lol) I definitely see the world differently and my focus is to work less and achieve more.


  20. Hi Tim,

    As usual, kick arse content, addressing a problem, and providing information that builds a realistic solution.

    Thank you for keeping it real!

    Twenty Twenty
    (Sorry mate, this is my REAL name, I hope the comment makes the cut!)

  21. That's some excellent advice. I am considering starting a blog that would help plan out a lot of ideas that I would later turn into a book, so this is very helpful.

  22. Excellent content as always and it is great to hear both of you talk about how much testing you do.

    You made a very lucid argument for why you should have a big name publisher, when you are building a platform it makes all the difference.

  23. Currently residing in my self-created purgatory of a hamster wheel, I thought this morning should be different…attachment to old concepts of thought drop off. A friend of mine suggested utilizing the Internet as a platform for my obsessive passion to achieve time ascendence and direct focus on cultivating my 7-year-old daughter's vigilante tendencies (very much like her mother).

    Speed dating for locals.

    I thought it hokey,….but it seems better than pocket change per hour at a job where my hearing range is subjected to sheeple conversation, rant and whinings. Yet, somehow tie basic wants and needs in a downturn economy with – human nature – companionship, comfort food, drugs, sex with the Internet and something about advertisers buying space via website….

    The article magnificently demonstrates it a choice to deal with mass herd of humans via real time in the magical landscape of corporate work and cyclical planned obsolescence. Even in a down turn economy many are still buying the latte and go to the drive thru at Carl's Jr (I admit I am one who shelled out the $4.69 for the comfort food). Alas, I still chase job security….I hear a train at the end of that tunnel….

    My gears have just been greased. Many thanks of gratitude for spreading the cure in a diseased mindframe.

  24. Tim,

    Great timing. I just started a free course for ten students on creating a blog to promote your own social experiment. I could have more credible tutorials to distribute today. As always. You are the man!


    PS. I have to agree w/ Robert. At the risk of sounding like a devotee, I too have found an amazing freedom in implementing your guidance.

  25. Today I chose to make it a normal occurrence to read your blogs one at a time as posted. Beautifully done. My gears have been greased and personal time ascendence has moved to top priority this life. Though I still exist in the self-purgatory, as an female alpha INTJ, I have decided to embrace callings I have always sought in IT via programming, apps, and become a developer. Entry-level work and passive-aggressive social games just not my strong point.


  26. Tim, you mentioned in an interview elsewhere that most publishers turned you down the first time. Obviously the naysayers are kicking themselves now that your book has been so successful, but it just goes to show that having great content (your book rocks!) is no guarantee that you will get published.

    Can you share any specific tips on how to: 1) get your foot in the door in the first place, 2) effectively pitch your idea (By the way, should a book pitch be similar to a VC pitch?), and 3) negotiate fair royalties?

    Also, you mentioned in The 4-Hour Workweek that information products are a great way to go for muse creation. But you mentioned elsewhere that you should not publish a book if income is your goal. What do you think is the most efficient medium for information based products?

  27. Hey Tim,

    This is my first post on your blog. I really like your book and your blog. Thanks for such great advice.

    I really liked your comment on measuring self worth, by taking away what is in your bank account, and seeing what you are really worth. I have never thought of that before.

    I totally agree with writing good content, on one of my sites I have notices that the better the content is the more hits I generally get.

    Keep up the video posts I really like them.

  28. I enjoyed the videos and found the subject of good content to be most interesting. I have noticed that blog posts that I personally enjoy most are the ones with good information rather than super designed posts with visually stimulating graphics. Which would you consider most important: a blog with a niche market(with posts focusing on those specific themes) or a blog with a wider subject base and good content?


    Jose Castro-Frenzel

  29. Hey Tim
    Thanks for the good advice. Let's assume a blog 1) has strong content and 2) is well organized; how important do you find it's graphic design / overall appearance to be?

    – Ben

    P.S. – Watched the clip about increasing numbers of low-lever employees who outsource their own work. Seems like companies would begin to cut out more and more of these self-appointed middlemen. Do you think those types of jobs (data entry, accounting) may soon go extinct in the US.

  30. One big issue is keeping up with the 24/7 pace of micro-blogs – Trackle just launched a service for blogs that helps people get alerted to new content – which is much more customizable than RSS.

  31. On the road to becoming a successful blogger your tutorials have been instrumental. I have experimented with various traffic generating topics and stress content is king. However, whenever I incorporate star power plus content it's a Home Run. Proof positive, I interviewed a Noble Peace Prize winner and the star of LAW and ORDER separately. Both post did excellent but I believe online traffic enjoys there celebrities. I'll share my final fianalysis shortly.

  32. I rushed back after a long day at work to my hotel room (I was onsite for business) to watch this live. Thanks so much for answering our questions!

    Still struggling to make my muse take off but each post you put up provides me with a little more inspiration and insight into what I need to do to succeed. At 23 years of age I've already had enough experience in both large corporate settings and startups to know that my calling is to be an entrepreneur. Had I not been handed your book, I would still have been too afraid to actually ask myself that all important questions, “whats the worst that could happen?”. The answer? At age 23 without children or a house payment, nothing. At worst, I will go back to working for someone else until I save up enough to try again. I will continue to use your book and blog as a source of inspiration to help me out of those discouraging times until I succeed.

    Thanks so much for your continued efforts!

    – CH

  33. I'm commenting on the publishing video since that was of most interest to me (though the others were informational).

    I am a fiction novelist so I've been doing a fair amount of research on the publishing vs. self-publishing topic for my writer's critique group. I absolutely agree with many of the points made in the video. Self-publishing was typically called vanity press and for good reason, it was only done to stroke the author's ego. Now it has become a viable alternative to the big houses.

    I have two main points about this discussion. The first is that the big house publishing is starting to strain, because of the profit model. Many authors are paid upfront for books they will probably never sell, and the books on the shelves at B&N (and other sellers) are owned by the publishers. This causes them to hold an extremely large unsold inventory which ties up their cash flow. The result is the dependance on mega-sellers to pay for the rest of the catalog.

    With print-on-demand, eBooks, and direct to consumer marketing (blogs); authors, with some elbow grease, can get into the game without a lot of upfront costs (<$1000), assuming they have a good product.

    The option I'm considering for my science fiction trilogy is, after rigourous editing and vetting from my critique group, to self-publish the first using my blog and creative marketting (idea's gleened from Seth and Tim's blogs). Then after I've established I am a viable author, negotiate with a publishing house for the follow up novels (and to rerelease the first).

    I'm still not finished editing, and have more research and critical thinking to do, but I think I have the outline of a good plan.

  34. Tim

    Another very good, informative post.

    For people who are still 'learning' when it comes to Blogging, etc., they should really appreciate this type of info – especially when its free.

    One thing I love about your blog is that it changes so much, from post to post, in terms of content topic. But, never on quality.

    Keep up the great work!


  35. Concerning the time where you guys post your content.. well, on my side, I haven't noticed much difference.. whether I post content in the morning, afternoon, or evening, the traffic remains the same throughout weekdays… However, I do see a drop in the weekend when the posting frequency drops from 5 posts a day to one or two.

  36. @Tim & @Ramit-

    I've recently been following you both very closely and it was exciting to see you collaborate on a topic that is very important to me right now. I'm currently working on my first book so these questions were awesome!

    I recently met with AJ Jacobs, author of 'The Year of Living Biblically' about my book and am excited to get the support of someone with such great experience. Your tactics to meet someone who is “famous/important” are many of the same one's I employed to get that introduction. It takes time, but it's fun!

    Ramit, I already reached out to you but would love the opportunity to chat briefly about how to market the book while writing it. Do I have to have a finished product to promote it? I would assume not but would love your advice!

    Talk to you both soon.

  37. First, the use of videos is growing on me, especially when they're broken down in 3-5 minute segments. The 40 minute variety hurt due to the production quality.

    I was on the Huffinton Post and they have this widget where you can leave a comment and turn it into a blog on your post. I put a sample on my blog here (I typically do not blog about movie stars, but for example's sake): http://officialbuziness.blogspot.com/2009/04/bi

    Tim, I think this is a great automation tool for spreading your blog. I think the Huffington Post uses Six Apart, so I'm not even sure how to implement it.

  38. I think the 7-9PST is the college students who stay up late =D

    This was pretty interesting… esp. the true networth !

  39. Out of 630 comments I have just experienced my first negative one. This was a very emotionally charged comment which stung quite a bit. You mentioned that you police your blog very tightly. How tight? I left her original comment up but decided to delete the next one which was far more abusive. I also blocked her IP addresses.

    Do you have to go this far? or do you just delete and move on?

  40. Yeah I agree that the 7-9 PST time is the college students, as well as all of the insomniacs and night owls like myself. A lot of designers and writers work until the wee hours of the morning.

    Also, great tip about taking not-so-popular posts off the homepage. Just an FYI, the newest version of WordPress does allow you to make posts “sticky”, which will automatically make them stick at the top of your home page. The setting is right above the post date and time setting. It works well to keep certain posts at the top.

    Great tips guys!

  41. Your videos were pure nuggets of Gold. My favorite one was about meeting famous people and being able to offer value before asking anything in return. It really hit home.

  42. Hi, Tim. Sorry for the totally irrelevant comment here, but it was the only way to reach you. Want to be sure you know that your blog was named in the Top 100 Freelance Blogs, in its category “Freelance Lifestyle Blogs.” Congratulations!

  43. Micro blogging is here to stay would be my guess Jay. I have used Posterous for a little while now and it is so easy to use.



  44. I like your comments about content. I have been working on increasing the content and quality of my articles. Thinking long term.

    Regarding the self publishing vs big publishers issue, there have been

    developments in the last few years that have made self publishing more

    legitimate. There are new printing systems that allow small printing runs, such

    as 1-10 books for a reasonable cost. I am a subscriber to a podcast called “The Writing Show”. Paula, the podcaster interviews authors, editors, publishers and every other type of expert in the writing industry. The self vs big debate is a frequent topic.

  45. One suggestion: Do you think you could turn the many videos you have posted into mp3 files or podcasts? In the spirit of saving time, it would be great to listen to these to and from driving to work, as the conversation is the interesting part and the video content relatively less important.

    PS – Love the book and the blog.

  46. Great video, I think there are too many people that are fiercely anti-publisher and frankly it comes across as sour grapes. I am looking forward to publishing my book through a traditional publisher, but if the deal falls through- there certainly seems to be benefits to self-publishing.

  47. One thing that I found to be easy to set up, and have your readers learn to come back each week is an episodic blog you post on the same day each week or so.

    My blog features a new game every Wednesday for example. I title this series as “OnLive Dream’s Hump Day Game of the Week: ‘title’ ”

    and add 1st, 2nd, 3rd,.. and so on to label which “episode” it is to show recency. …

  48. So Tim, where are these questions coming from that you guys are reading? Are they just emailed to you over time?

    Fab topics. Thanks for quality content.

  49. Great advice guys!

    The piece of advice in particular that helped me was ‘it’s better not to post at all than to post something crappy’… I constantly get caught up in the conflict of whether to stick strictly to a posting schedule or spend a few more days perfecting a post. I generally opt for the latter, although I’m not sure what I would do if my dry spells lasted longer than a few days!


  50. I found clip about how to build traffic very interesting. I am just starting a blog and I was worried about frequency of post. This post reminded me that blogging is about content and that I should be focused on just that. Thanks for the tips!

  51. Thanks for the advice on self-publishing and on building better links through focusing on strong content. I’m constantly trying to figure out how to improve the content when I’m running a sight that sells the information… I’d appreciate it if you’d address this idea sometime. I’m not sure what info to share for free to build strong content when I’m offering the info as a part of what I sell… hmmmm….

  52. I’d also like to know what plugin you mentioned in the last video about keeping your content at the second post (or first, etc.).

    Great job on the vids – very innovative, great to see both of you!

  53. Tim,

    A great post. As a relatively new blogger, I’m still working out the systems I need to implement to get things happening for me. And this post contained some great tips.

    Thanks so much,

    Cheers, Niro

  54. Gentlemen,

    Firstly, I have both of your recent books on the shelf – got through Tim’s but working through Ramit’s.

    Great advice from you both, but I would have said it is more of an inspirational nature than technical.

    Great to hear from you both that you weren’t SEO experts or Google Gurus when you started – that it was just a focus on great content, which is what I’, trying to do.

    Since I’m just starting my blog / site / web property, my main question is about anonymity and credibility.

    For work and confidentiality reasons I do not reveal my identity on by site and am likely to keep it that way for some time.

    It would be great (if possible) to get your feedback on this.

  55. Firstly, apologies for an incorrect email on my last comment (and hence my Gravatar didn’t show up!

    Secondly, I can find Andrew Chen’s blog, but I can’t find the blog by “Eric Reese” which the guys refer to. Tried a few different spellings, so if someone could point to the right place I’d appreciate it.

  56. Pingback: WesleyDonehue.com
  57. In the post you mention changing the dates of some posts so they do not appear on your main blog page if they don’t seem to be the most well-written or popular posts.

    Luckily, WordPress 2.7 now has a “sticky” function that you can select for any post to automatically move it post to your main page. You can select a single or multiple posts to be “sticky.”

  58. informative, yeah getting a following and alot of comments to your posts may come naturally to you , maybe as naturally as Michael Jordan winning 6 rings, however much easier said than done. Blogging publishing books starting companies running marathons setting goals, all require necesarry work to achieve goals , as in anything in life immerse yourself in it become it and you will be the best at is. You don’t need Michael Jordan shoes to play basketball , (but as you mentioned.. in regards to getting comments or readers to a blog as passively as Michael Jordan sinks a game winning shot a great post will create great comments and great viewers completely agree with you on that) as this analogy relates to blogging Michael Jordan himself could wear Kobe Bryant shoes and still win. But I prefer Michael Jordan Shoes … why? because I wanna be like mike there is only one Michael Jordan , only one Muhammad Ali . To become great at anything wether it be politics ,business, economics, investing, real estate, goal setting, living your dreams, relationships, romance, health , Career, philisophy religion ,art, music, sports , publishing, requires great skill , wisdom and dedication . When Michael Jordan was asked how he was able to sink the game winning shot everytime like clockwork with an entire season on the line victory or defeat he said well it was easy because I had practiced that shot thousands of times. Repetition creates certainty. Blogging has alot of potential to allow individuals to create their own communities and viewpoints and do something the mass media does not .. offer the truth. … . Post and they will come……………..

  59. Ramit Sethi’s book titled “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” peaks my interest about as much the plethora of blogs whose titles include the huge bolded words “cash” or “money.”

    It’s a good marketing ploy, but it always leaves me cold.

  60. With the advent of the internet and the proliferation of information I feel as if its becoming harder and harder to find the right resources and information. So I certainly feel as if publishing houses function as filter for good worthwhile information. One thing that astounds me about you is how good you are at finding the right resources. What ways do you go about researching and finding the right information as a means to an end? That’s a post I would love to read.

    Thanks Tim and Ramit for the great insight

  61. Hello Tim.

    First at all, many thanks for those very interesting videos. There’s a lot of high quality information.

    Recently I wrote a review of your book in my web page (…). As you can see if you check it, it’s in spanish but I hope you can understand it 😉

    I’m not here to say you all the same words that I think everybody say to you. I liked your book, that’s true, it’s very useful and creative. And also I know you’re always doing bussiness and making money, but I will wondering if you could grant me an interview for my website, that’s about financial bussiness and I think we’ll do an interesting conversation.

    I know that I’m a small website, I live in a small island too (Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain) and only I’m 29 yo, but if you had a free moment could you’ll do me that favor??? If isn’t possible doesnt matters, you only will loose a chance of make a friend in a lovely island in the mediterraen sea 😉 lol.

    Best regards and thanks for all.


  62. To the admin: thanks for deleting my message. Sorry for not being “cool “enough. That’s are your laws, that’s the way. Ok.

    Anyway thanks.

    1. @Jose,

      Relajate, my man. I like to look at my comments, so moderation can take a while. No need to get upset.


  63. Great post! Thank you for sharing. Really a big help to those of us just starting out in this big BlogWorld.


  64. Hi Tim,

    I have just been introduced to your blog and am liking what I see. However, The best form of SEO isn’t content (well, the first 200 words are very important), it’s title tags.

  65. Tim, I enjoyed your presentation at WordPress Camp SF a great deal. However I didn’t take many notes so taht I could listen to your presentation. How can I get a copy of the what you presented?

    Sorry that this Comment is off-topics but wasn’t sure how else to connect with you directly. Thanks. –Mike

  66. Seth Godin was talking about that topic of not posting crap. He had this great April Fools idea and then decided it wasn’t “good enough” to actually put on his blog. Glad to see some others agree.

    Oh. I just bought that DVD of when you were on the History Channel. You should make a link to the store because I was like, “I can’t believe I missed this!” Thanks for posting that promo vid or I would have never known.

  67. Gday mate,

    A question from down-under.

    In 4HWW you hint that you knew the steps to write a ‘bestseller’ but you never mentioned them. Obviously you succeeded and I was so keen to hear these steps.

    Give me some of that pie!

    Geoff – Sydney, Oz.

  68. Tim and Ramit,

    Thanks for the input on self published vs. commercially-published books. I have a request for information, and hope this is the right place for it.

    I would like to find the right person to work with to orchestrate the promotion of my book …. It is being published by John Wiley & Sons and will be on the market April 12, 2010.

    Any suggestions of people with a strong track record in this area? I appreciate your suggestions.



    1. Hi Eric,

      The onus will be on you unless you have $50-100K for some big guns. I suggest learning the ropes with Rick Frishman’s Author 101 Book PR book. It’s a great start from someone who’s done it over and over again. His firm, PTA, might be worth considering if you have the budget.

      Best of luck!


  69. I loved your You Tube video on Traditional Vs Self Publishing. It inspired me to write a post on my blog. This seems to be a hot topic and as an independent publisher I would love to get opinions outside of the publishing world. I loved your insights from an authors point of view.

    I included a link to your blog in my post. I would have loved to have put the video directly in the post but I didnt know how. Suggestions?

  70. Very interesting and useful stuff. One question. What’s the best way to get in contact with the publsihers — fill out the form they have for authors on the website, or call them up and try and get a face to face meeting? I imagine the second, but I have no experience.



  71. Dying of the flu, I looked for distraction. So, like any good quant, I dissected your blog and charted out its popularity from day one.

    I’m hoping this will dispel the myth many bloggers have that “blogs with traction started with traction”. That bloggers like you were rockstars from day one.

    I’m also hoping I’ll start a trend for people who are aching and have a fever: Find something asinine yet helpful to chart out so that you can forget that your body hates you for a few hours while you empirically improve the world.

    So here you go, Tim. When people come to you complaining about their unpopular blog, go ahead and show them your beautiful string of zeros and single digits you carried for months when you were a nobody. The chart is here: http://j.mp/TFblog

    (Since charts are quite uncustomizable in google, had to create two of them to contextually deal with your grand-slam-of-a-post “How to lose 20 lbs.”)

    If you notice any material errors, hit me.



    1. Casey, this is awesome! Thank you so much! I hope more people do check this out, as it demonstrates I did — in fact — start with scratch. It can be done, folks.

      Thanks again!


      1. Quick question if I may…

        The PX Project article which has 0 comments on this chart – is that the same article as this one which now has 435 comments?

        Just asking because if so, that’s pretty inspiring for readers and people with their own blogs/sites/businesses showing that in time if you keep your content evergreen, those posts can ‘catch up’ in terms of comments.

        i.e. it’s not the content that was worse particularly but you just had less readership back then…

        is that right?

  72. (Comment read time: 12 seconds)

    Hi Tim,

    If you had a books worth of material (think REWORK for architecture students) and you eventually wanted to get published, would you a. Create a blog site with the actual content and build a community first, or b. Start mailing potential publishers and hope for the best?

    Many thanks in advance,


    1. A then B. Make sure you have a market and can market before trying to sell/write a book. Expect the publisher to do zero marketing for you and you’ll be prepared. Consider A you’re trial run.


  73. Thanks for the great information. You are motivating me. It’s good to hear about the publishing… even though the actual writing is my downfall right now.

  74. Hey Tim-

    Thanks a lot for this! Writing you as perhaps, you can give me advice.

    I am a new accidental blogger and luckily/(or unluckily) I had great reviews almost immediately from ELLE, and local newspapers.

    Not yet on 6digit hits daily but the temptation to aim for more is stupendous! (ah- the taste of early success- i now feel how Britney Spears might have felt to try and stay on top).

    Stats are driving me insane and I stress when the numbers go down and I can’t help but being tempted to look at the book route. (ELLE said I am the devil wears prada for cosmetics- so it makes sense non?- not that i expect you to know ELLE or that movie)

    Should I strike while the iron is hot? Or should I ignore all pressure and blog to my heart’s desire and just wait for things to happen.


    NB- dang! You look like a juvenile Woody Harrelson! I must admit it is very hard to take you seriously but since I read the book first, I try hard to.

    NB2- putting that sense of humor of yours to the test. I am cool -don’t delete me!