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SPQ 036: What Are the Best Books for Self-Publishers?

Written by Steve Scott on January 29, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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The Question…

Alex asks, “What are some of your favorite books?”

Steve’s Answer…

Steve says a lot of his success has come from reading books on a daily basis. It’s really difficult to pick a list of favorites from all the books he’s read, so this list is limited to books on self-publishing and business. These eight books have a lot of valuable information for authors.

#1: Business for Authors: How to Be an Author Entrepreneur

Joanna Penn has a great podcast and offers high-quality blog content. She helps a lot of people in the self-publishing space, and her book is equally helpful. In this book, Joanna talks about treating self-publishing like a business. She breaks down the fundamentals of running a book-based business: profits, expenditures, taxes, balancing product lines, leveraging different platforms, exploiting rights, and so on. It is a must-read book.

#2: The Indie Author Power Pack

This is a bundle of three different books by three different sets of authors: “Write. Publish. Repeat” by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant; “How to Market a Book” by Joanna Penn; and “Let’s Get Digital” by David Gaughran.

Each book covers a different aspect of self-publishing. “Let’s Get Digital” is a primer on the opportunities available in the self-publishing space. “Write. Publish. Repeat.” focuses on publishing on a consistent basis and building an audience. Joanna’s Book, “How to Market a Book” talks about the foundations of a successful author business.

#3: Writing Habit Mastery

This is Steve’s book, but he is recommending it because a lot of people struggle to develop the habit of writing consistently. “Writing Habit Mastery” talks about getting into the habit of writing on a daily basis.

#4: The Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to the Legal Issues of Self-Publishing

Helen Sedwick discusses every legal aspect of self-publishing, such as contracts, copyright, and trademarks. She dives into the potential legal ramifications of running a book-based business. This book is a great primer on how to protect yourself and your assets. You’ll also learn about publishing rights and the best ways to keep your business legal.

#5: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Greg McKeown focuses on the 80/20 rule, or how 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts. He drives home the point that you don’t need to juggle 20 or 30 projects to be successful. It’s often better to figure out what works in business and focus on just a few things.

Steve particularly enjoys this book because the topic is one he is struggling with right now. He has so many projects going that his business systems are starting to break down. One of his major goals from 2015 is to remove himself from the business and focus on content creation and managing systems. The book really teaches you how to figure out what works in your business and your life.

#6: Rich Dad Poor Dad

Steve doesn’t necessarily agree with all of Robert Kiyosaki’s views, but he does like a lot of the basic concepts in this book. Kiyosaki outlines the cash-flow quadrant, which shows four ways to earn income: have a job and work for someone else; become self-employed and give yourself a job; own a business, create a system, and have other people work for you; or become an investor and have your money work for you.

Steve’s main takeaway is that you want to create assets that generate income no matter where you are in the world. He is trying to focus on being a business owner and investor and get away from the grind of self-employment. The great thing about creating assets is that you can generate income no matter where you are or what you are doing. When Steve went to Greece a few years ago, he made money while he was away because he had books available for sale.

#7: The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Jack Canfield breaks the success process into specific daily action steps. The first tip is to take 100 percent responsibility for your life. Steve thinks it’s important to take responsibility for your mistakes as well as your successes.

#8: Crush It!

This book is a great alternative to “The 4-Hour Workweek.” Gary Vaynerchuk recommends finding something you are passionate about and then working to dominate the market. Steve really wants to have the best books in the habit development niche, for example.

Resources and Links

Business for Authors: How to Be an Author Entrepreneur (Joanna Penn)

The Indie Author Power Pack (Joanna Penn, Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, and David Gaughran)

Writing Habit Mastery (S.J. Scott)

The Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to the Legal Issues of Self-Publishing (Helen Sedwick)

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Greg McKeown)

Rich Dad Poor Dad (Robert Kiyosaki)

The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (Jack Canfield)

Crush It! (Gary Vaynerchuk)

  • Alex

    Hi Steve, It is Alex, the guy who posed the question. Thank you very much for answering the question and therefore for your book recommendations.
    I would like to add one book, that really changed my perspective on many different aspects.
    The book title is: “the Millionaire Fastlane’ by MJ de Marco. This is the best business book I have ever come across. It is a way more complete version of Rich Dad Poor Dad, and the author is a self made millionaire, who sold an internet based company in 2006, and shares the reality of business itself on the book, and also on his fastlane forum. Highly recommendable.
    Check it out.

    Best Regards

    • Hey Alex — That’s another great one. I’ve read it twice. Honestly, though, the book title is so spammy that I initially resisted reading it. But once I dove in, it has some of the best advice about the difference between passive and active ways to use your time to generate income.

      Thanks again for the question. 🙂

  • Steve

    Thanks for the list of your favorite books. I read lots of different books in the self help category, and will definitely be adding to my list. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is the one I have on my iPhone and listen to over and over. A couple of others I really like are Failing Forward by John Maxwell (almost anything by John Maxwell is great), The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen, and the old but always relevant How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carniege.

    • Great suggestions. Read them all except by the one John Maxwell. Will have to check it out!

  • THE WAR OF ART by Steven Pressfield really changed my life and how I approach my writing. I gave it to my entire family this past Christmas!

    • That’s a good one. Honestly, I should have remembered that one as well. 🙂