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.

Posted on: April 22, 2009.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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

  1. 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.


  2. 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.


  3. 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!


  4. 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.



  5. 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!


  6. 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!


  7. 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.


  8. 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?


  9. 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.


  10. 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!


  11. 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):



  12. 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


  13. 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!


  14. 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?