Announcing: My First Two Books, How You Can Get Involved, and My NPR Interview

Midnight writing in Buenos Aires

Late last year, I decided it was time to write my first book.

This was not a decision I made lightly. I knew firsthand how much time and effort a book would take after working on The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef (both 600+ pages long). In fact, I kept delaying this project because I knew it would take at least six months to finish… Still, I knew I had to write this book.

No other author had produced anything like Recession-Proof Graduate, which I was dying to expand upon since I’d posted it in 2009. The core concepts in RPGrad — free work, virtual apprenticeships, digital portfolios, in-demand skills — are what I wanted to cover in-depth. Together, they make up the new rules and most reliable strategies for landing great work in today’s volatile economy.

This is a book I’d been preparing to write for a loooong time…

For the last five years, I’ve been researching, bookmarking, note-taking, and collecting case studies of people who’ve landed dream jobs and built incredible careers. I’ve read dozens of books and thousands of articles. I finally started putting my prep work to good use this past year, as I outlined, wrote, re-wrote, cut, trashed, and rearranged the first several drafts of my book.

Before this process began, I thought authors were a bunch of drama queens. They were always complaining about how hard and exhausting it was to write a book. But now, I can see that they weren’t exaggerating — writing a book is a pretty miserable process.

Case in point: I thought I had the perfect structure for this book. Then four friends reviewed an early draft, and all of them said a huge chunk of the book didn’t fit. I cut 35,000 words (about 100 pages) in one hour. At least six weeks of work were gone, just like that.

But from those 35,000 words I’d cut, I saw 12,000 that could be re-arranged and made into a new book. This second book — a mini-memoir — would contain all of the details on how I cured my anxiety.

I knew that the demand on this topic was very high from my post about the importance of play. Tens of thousands of people read it in a couple weeks, and I received hundreds of messages from anxiety sufferers. I also noticed that my content was of higher quality (see: less scammy) than most of the information out there, as my post organically climbed up to the #1 spot on Google for “how to cure anxiety,” right above Oprah.com:

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I decided to temporarily postpone work on the first book, so I could put together the memoir.

This second book only took me a few weeks to write. It’s not quite finished, but it’s pretty damn close. I’m really proud of it. I actually love it, which is something I rarely say about my own work. It’s deeply personal, it touches upon a big cultural problem, and it contains simple solutions and a 3-week plan that will help the countless people suffering in silence. I can’t wait to release it.

I showed an early draft to a handful of readers I’d corresponded with through this blog. This is what they wrote back to me:

“As a workaholic who’s had a long history of panic attacks myself, this is awesome. My best friend right now is paralyzed with stress, fear and panic attacks, to the point he won’t leave his home. I cannot wait to give him this book when it comes out.”

“Read it – loved it. First impression is that after reading it, I felt really happy – haven’t felt like that after a book in awhile. The book’s got heart.”

“I’ve read, watched and tried just about all of the anxiety ‘cures’ out there. Your book instantly clicked for me because you’re someone I can actually relate to. A workaholic, who to the outsider was doing great, but behind closed doors was battling crippling anxiety, just like me. Reading about your transformation gave me a huge sigh of relief, knowing that an anxiety-free life is possible without pharmaceutical drugs. I’ve already gotten started with your plan.”

I’ll announce more details in the coming weeks (including the title, cover, table of contents, excerpts, etc. — no hard release date yet). For now, I’d like to extend an offer to you guys…

How You Can Get Involved

My highest priority right now is to make this anxiety memoir as great as it can possibly be. So, if you think you have the chops to give me brutally honest feedback on what I’ve written, you can apply to be a beta reader by clicking here.

[Note: I can only pick a few beta readers, so put some thought into your application if you really want to do this.]

All beta readers will get a personal shout-out in the Acknowledgments section of the book. I’ll also do a free 20-minute phone call (something I typically charge for) with any beta reader who wants to chat with me, about any subject — career advice, marketing, anxiety stuff, info about these books… whatever you want.

My second highest priority is to SELL a ton of copies of this book upon its release. I’ve got quite a bit of experience in book marketing, and a team of smart people working with me. Still, I can use all the help I can get. If you think you can strengthen my marketing efforts or are interested in buying my book in bulk (50+ copies), then please click here.

That’s it for now. Like I said, I’ll release more details on both books in the coming weeks/months, but if you have questions, feel free to fire away in the comments. Just know that the anxiety book will be released first, followed by the career book.

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One more thing… I did an interview with NPR’s TED Radio Hour a few weeks ago. You can listen to my segment (9 minutes), or you can listen to the entire program.

The interview was really fun. Guy Raz asked me questions for an hour from Washington DC, while I sat in an empty studio in San Francisco:

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You can listen to all of the interviews I’ve done at the bottom of this page.

And if you want to hear from me the moment my books are up for sale, just sign up for my newsletter.

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Charlie Hoehn is the author of Play It Away, Play for a Living and Recession Proof Graduate. His work has been featured on NPR's TED Radio Hour, Forbes, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review. Previously, he was the Director of Special Projects for Tim Ferriss. Currently, he is the Head of Author Marketing at Book In A Box. He lives in Austin, Texas.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Pingback: How to Crowdsource Editing (and Early Reviews of My Book) |

  2. Tish {WordPress Designer}

    Congrats Charlie!

    I’ve been following your blog for a few years now and have found your writing style and unique perspective to be invaluable & refreshing. I sincerely can’t wait for your books to come out… I’m already in line waiting to buy them.

    The Recession Proof Graduate was amazing and a follow up career book on it would be out of this world!

    What inspired you to write about your story in the anxiety book? I know it can be a sensitive subject (I too suffer from it)

    1. Charlie Hoehn

      Thanks so much, Tish! A bunch of things inspired me to write it, as I’d been quietly obsessed with the topic for a long time. But mainly, I realized that it was one of the most helpful parts of the career book, it was in super high demand, everything else I’d read on the topic was awful… and I was just going to post it on my blog? Didn’t sit right so I brainstormed with a buddy on how to make it into its own piece.

      Honestly, I’m really proud of this anxiety book. It’s got my heart and soul infused in the pages, and it’s very special to me. Can’t wait until it’s finally ready to share :)

      Thanks again for the nice message, glad to have you as a reader!

  3. Janet Chang

    Hi Charlie, good to hear that you’ll have your own books out soon. I’ve been a big but quiet fan since the pre-RPG days- this must be very exciting for you!

    Question about the beta readers: Are you looking for help in structural editing, or copy editing, or both?

  4. Radhika

    I’m incredibly excited by this progress, Charlie. I thought the anxiety article was so valuable that I printed it out and took notes/made highlights like it was a book. Now that a book is actually coming out, I’m excited to do the same there.

    Good luck, and I hope these endeavors are huge successes.

  5. Tim

    Hello,
    When you say “buy book in bulk” is this for paperback? I thought you would with an ebook.
    Tim

    1. Charlie Hoehn

      The book will be available in a number of different formats. For bulk, I’m referring to either hardback or paperback.

  6. Chiara

    Charlie, great stuff!!

    On this: I cut 35,000 words (about 100 pages) in one hour. At least six weeks of work were gone, just like that.

    I love how honest you are with your work (like that Youtube video heh)

  7. Jeff Nagata

    I’m really looking forward to your books. I can really tell you put your heart into everything you do through your writings.

  8. Ryan Stephens

    Looking forward to memoir, hombre.

    I’m a pretty anxious person + I’m *always* working on something + I’m leading marketing for a start-up now (see: working even more) + I enjoyed your blog post about curing your anxiety + I care too much about seeming like I have it all together = I suspect it’ll be a relevant read for my current station in life.

    I need to get up to Austin soon so we can grab a beer at Bangers and I can show you how hitting bloop singles over the 2nd baseman is way more fun than dropping bombs.

    Congrats again, man. Seems corny, but I’m proud of you. A lot of Seth’s old virtual interns are making waves.

    -RS

    1. Charlie Hoehn

      Thanks Ryan. Let me know when you’re in Austin meng!

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