How To Write 12 Books This Year

I am taking on James Altucher’s challenge

Ok, James. I hear you.

James Altucher, one of the funniest (and most insightful) modern writers out there, wrote this post.

The idea is simple: you can write 12 books in 12 months if you make list-books (i.e., 101 Simple Ways To Beat Your Friends At Monopoly Game).

While I don’t want to write a listicle book, it gave me an idea. A crazy idea.

Write 12 books this year anyway.

How can you write 12 books in a year?

Easily. Stop obsessing over the word ‘book.’

We were fed this lie for too long. The traditional way of thinking is that a ‘book’ is something super-serious, and it has to be 60,000–120,000 words. Otherwise, it’s not a real book.

Like a famous guest on the Tim Ferriss podcast once said:

If you write a book, write a FUCKING book.

But the modern world, the Internet, and Amazon changed that. Now, you can self-publish. You can have 100% control of your marketing, royalties, revenue, and (oh my!) just write.

We (creatives) used to have to do too much bullshit in the past. Today, you can just do what you best and let the platforms (Medium, Amazon, Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud) take care of the rest.

What kind of books can you write?

I don’t know, you tell me. There are no rules anymore. Write whatever you want.

You can write a book about your family history. Nobody will buy it, but your grandkids will. And you great grandkids too.

You can write a small book every 3–4 weeks, like Steve Scott, does (and make $40–50K per month!).

There are no rules, so go make your own.

Here’s a list that I have in mind:

  1. How to become successful on Medium
  2. Running and health goal (i.e., how to run a half marathon in 4 months)
  3. Blogging as an alternative to college (and other 100 alternatives to college) → it’s a way to learn all your life, etc.
  4. How to be creative → what creativity is, how to grow followers, generate ideas, why you don’t need a lot of followers, break through the writer’s block, build momentum, getting through rejection, the psychology of a creative person, breaking through Resistance.
  5. On choosing and figuring yourself out → happiness vs. productivity, optimize for happiness, find your way, Jim Collins tacker method, etc.
  6. 101 alternatives to meditation that make you mindful
  7. Build a platform for your life while you’re still young (audience, money, etc.)
  8. Personal finance: getting out of debt and becoming financially independent // 101 Financial Lessons I Wish I Knew Sooner
  9. How to build a b2b business with 0 money — i.e., an agency
  10. On focus and attention management → handling anxiety and being overwhelmed. How to manage your focus (inspired by Complete Guide to Developing Your Focus).
  11. 10 Things I’ve Learned From 10 Of My Heroes (i.e., 100 things in total) → Seth Godin, T. Ferriss, Neil Gaiman, J. Altucher, etc.
  12. Get Anything Done: 6-month rule, the first step, what productivity really is.

Notice that I have a blog post for most of these topics. I’ve tested these ideas.

Shouldn’t you focus on only ONE important book?

Maybe. In fact, I have a big book project in my head that I’ve been working on for a while now.

It’s not the kind of book you’ll write in a month or even two months. But it’s also not the kind of book you would spend 2–3 years writing (I mean, I am not Leo Tolstoy!).

When I think about what I want to achieve in my life (become a bestselling international author), I realize — that I need two things:

  1. A platform — in the form of an audience, either on Medium, on my newsletter, or a solid following.
  2. A skill — and you get that by just writing as much as you can.

I wrote my first book last year (it’s in Russian), and I self-published it. It didn’t do great, but it’s a start. I have absolutely no idea how the Amazon self-publishing works.

And that’s exactly why I want to take on this challenge (i.e., write 12 books in 2020) — to figure it out.

By writing 12 small eBooks this year (10–20K words), I’ll be able to write and publish 120K-240K words. That’ll get me closer to my 10,000 hours of mastery.

At the same time, I’ll go through the whole: IDEA -> PLAN -> EXECUTION -> DISTRIBUTION process when it comes to books, and as soon as I am ready to write my big book, I’ll be ready.

What’s great about self-publishing

You don’t have to pitch. You don’t have to wait. You don’t have to give up ~90% of your royalties for nothing. You don’t need a middle-man.

You do what you do best, create ideas, and write.

To me, the Kindle Self-Publishing program sounds like a great opportunity. It completely changes the conversation in the writing world, where it’s now all merit-based. If you’ve got something cool to say, say it!

You can’t make excuses like, ‘I get rejected by all publishers’, and you don’t spend time pursuing them — time, which you can spend writing.

Plus, you have complete control over your marketing and distribution, and you can always tweak and change whatever you want.

With self-publishing, the power is in the hands of the artist. In your hands. And that’s how it should be.

I am taking on this challenge

I like to make challenges. It turns my life into a game, and I like games (although I like real-life games more than computer games, which I never play).

Everyone has books inside of them. It doesn’t matter if they’ll become bestsellers or not; the key is to start creating, to start putting intentional effort — and become better at your craft.

I want to make this year (2020) — the year of my ‘12 Books Challenge’. I’ll write and self-publish on Amazon Kindle 12 Books — I’ll learn a whole lot about the self-publishing process, and I’ll get better at writing.

And I encourage you, the writer, to do the same.

This might be a crazy idea, but what do I have to lose?

P.S. If you’re interested in this idea, read James’s blog post, too. It might change your life and perspective as it did for me.

You are your only limit.

Let’s go!

Written by

Making sense of the world and teaching others. | Subscribe here: | Reach out:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store