Graduation was just around the corner. I knew the best years of my life thus far were going to be behind me so I wanted a way to not only capture these memories, but to share them. Moreover, I could take the lessons I had learned in college and share them with current and future students.
Big Man on Campus was the result.
The book came out at around 33,000 words–nearly 100 pages of a book. This is longer than some books on college I had read, if not many books on Kindle in general. This book could sell, but I chose not to publish it.
It felt incongruent. Here I was, a liberal arts major with no job after college, giving guys advice on college…it made no sense!
Why should I charge guys money for advice that I clearly hadn’t implemented? Sure, it would be a ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ scenario, but it still felt wrong.
So instead of selling it, I made it free on Seth Rose Life. It got great feedback, and I was happy to give young men much needed advice on college.
Despite those past reservations about publishing, I am now pleased to announce Grades and Girls is on Amazon.
So what’s changed? Why was I against publishing, but now have changed my mind?
The reason for this change was not a change of heart, but a change of experience. Since going back to get a Master’s degree, I’ve gotten a much different perspective on the higher education field. Additionally, things worked out much better for me this time where I feel confident I have the experience and knowledge to publish a book.
Anyone can Publish a Book these Days (That’s not always a good thing)
The internet has become the new printing press. People who were previously subjected to submitting book ideas to publishing houses no longer need to do so. Instead, they can cut out the middleman and publish their book directly on Amazon.
Though this has given rise to many new authors, this has also created an issue of authenticity (or lack thereof). Because anyone can publish a book these days, you don’t know who to trust. If some guy claims to have the secret to getting money and girls, how do you know you can trust him?
This applies to my college book as well, as I could bullshit about getting laid in college.
My approach to addressing this is radical honesty, in both my books and my blogs. If someone is too perfect and shows no vulnerability, your fraud radar should be going off.
I also hope to write great, accurate content so much so that it demonstrates I know what I’m talking about.
When NOT to Publish
If you’re going to publish generic crap, don’t publish.
If you threw together a few thousand words, bundled it up in a PDF file and hope to make a quick buck, don’t publish it.
If the subject has been beaten to death, don’t publish.
The only time you should publish a book is if a.) It adds new insight to the current discourse on a subject or b.) If it is a whole new genre. Otherwise, save it for a blog, Twitter, e-mail list etc. Or give it away for free!
Selling bologna disguised as steak does a disservice to readers. Moreover, your time would be better spent putting out a unique, high-quality book as that will lead to a ton of sales.
If you’re not in a position to write about something cool and unique, you need to enhance your lifestyle.
Read more books. Travel. Go to clubs and get drunk.
Living a rich and fulfilling life, and absorbing wisdom from the world around you is the best way to write a great book.
Until then, keep that Word doc stashed away. When the time is right, you’ll publish a smash hit much to the delight of readers and yourself.