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A Free the Animal 1st Book Update (IT’S DONE!)

A couple of weeks ago when I got access to the shared Google doc by the head editor at Hyperink—the doc that included the production schedule, responsibilities, instructions, proposed outline for the book and the actual book drafting space—my first thought was that they were all smoking something that was not being shared with me.

Then I thought that well, these are just suggested deadlines, not real ones. But throughout the process, we met every single deadline—most, just in the nick of time.

Work actually began in earnest on Monday, December 5. That was all the preliminary stuff, i.e., combing through the roughly 1,600 blog posts going back to 2007, deciding what to include, how to break things up, etc. The actual drafting of the manuscript began last Saturday, all day, and then onto Sunday, all day. This was primarily by the journalist and I was watching in real time, adding information, fielding questions and clarifications, drafting supplemental info on the fly. By Monday afternoon, the very rough 1st draft was done. On Tuesday morning I read through it, taking copious notes as to what to change, what to add, and sourcing various bits and pieces from the blog and other sources using Google. On Tuesday, the editor did her review, adding her notes and comments to the shared doc. Finally, Tuesday evening I got it back and this time the lead was mine to drive the 2nd draft. It was grueling. Well into the night on Tuesday, at it early Wednesday all day and evening, then back at it Yesterday, all day. The journalist jumped back in in the afternoon, and so did the editor, so three of us working at the same time. In all, I added more than a third again to the length of the original draft.

I had no idea what a powerful collaborative tool Google docs is. We could all edit at once, tag text, create comments which could be replied to by others, so a threaded discussion. And you can text back and forth as well. Amazing and cool. You can watch other people’s work in real time.

Today, December 16, less than 2 weeks later, the book is done. There were just a few things to do this morning, final touches, one more sweep through by me, the journalist, and then the editor. Here was the email I received a bit ago.

[Drumroll please….]

IT’S DONE!

I’ve just completed my final review of the manuscript, and it looks GREAT. I think it strikes a wonderful balance between Richard’s humor, while still reaching the wider audience he wanted to target. Also, the anecdotes and success stories are wonderful, and the INSANE amount of research really helps drive home any points of contention that naysayers may have.

Richard and Theresa: Well done! This book has been a real pleasure for me to both work on as an editor, and to read as a reader. Thank you both for the diligence and commitment you’ve shown.

Amy, there are currently no comments or open issues in the document, so it should be ready to enter the publishing queue!

Now it goes to publication and I’m told it should be out before the holiday. In total, it looks to be just about 25,000 words, so 100 pages in book format size or around 65 in 8.5 X 11. That’s the thing with an ebook. There’s no economies of scale that demand 200 pages or more, and for what, really?

This book has exactly everything I wanted in it, and nothing I didn’t. I have nobody to impress with irrelevant run-on drivel or non-sequitur and diversion for the sake of length. My driving motivation was that, curiously, I want it to actually be read; I want it to be read in a short time, and I want it to be understood by virtually anyone who does that. Since it’s an ebook (there is a print-on-demand version), I made copious use of in-line hyperlinks, as well as “Additional Resources” hyperlinks after every chapter to blog posts here and posts by all the usual suspects, original research, videos, and so on. So, those who really want to dig in, can. It can be read in a few hours to get the basic information, or three days or more for those who wish to chase down all the rabbit holes.

Something for everyone. But mostly, totally accessible to all. No doubt. I am very confident of two things: first, long time readers likely aren’t really going to learn much they don’t already know; and second, they will recognize it for what it’s intended to be, which is absolutely the best book yet to give to a friend or family member along with “look, this’ll only take you 2-3 hours to read, and then you’ll understand everything I’ve been saying all along. You’ll have it all.”

There’s no profanity, so it’s suitable for granny—well, maybe except for the penis enlargement bit (lose the donut of fat!)

…I believe it was yesterday afternoon where I realized I hadn’t changed clothes or showered in three days. And I ate mostly tuna, sardines and boiled eggs. But I never lost the groove.

It was outrageously fun.

Update: There’s one element of this deal that I forgot to mention—which is strange, as it was a major deciding point for me to go with Hyperink. As an ebook, it can be revised and updated almost continuously. Thus, this is likely the only book I will ever write on the paleo lifestyle as concerns diet, exercise, health & fitness. What Hyperink does is share a Dropbox folder with me and whenever I have updates, corrections or new material to add, I just drop it in there, they make the corrections and republish it in all the various ways (PDF, Kindle, Nook, iBook, etc.). Right now, I plan to do that on a quarterly basis. I don’t know what price points they are going to set, but I do know that getting the PDF directly from Hyperink on their website—as opposed to the other outlets—is a higher price point that comes with some extras, one of those being lifetime updates.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

37 Comments

  1. Jeff on December 16, 2011 at 16:49

    Congrats! The visual of you with no shower and fish / egg breath was priceless!

  2. blak_labl on December 16, 2011 at 16:50

    Richard, can’t wait to read it. I think it will be the first e-book I buy for my Kindle Fire (x-mas gift to myself). Thanks for all the hard work and research, and for being a beacon of truth in this oft-over analyzed lifestyle segment. I’m sure it will be awesome! FTA FTW!

  3. Zach on December 16, 2011 at 17:15

    So its basically a rehash of old blog posts put into a paleo-ish instruction manual?

    What happened to you writing a real book?

    • Richard Nikoley on December 16, 2011 at 17:27

      Didn’t write the book for Zach. Zach is free to ignore it.



    • Zach on December 16, 2011 at 17:37

      Sellout!!

      Seriously though, good luck with the sales. Not to many of these books out there.

      Seriously seriously though, meat and veggies, eat when hungry, stay active. Oops, spoiler!

      🙂



    • Richard Nikoley on December 16, 2011 at 17:44

      It goes back to the whole consternation of the thing. In the end, I just had to conclude that a simple book for those yet unexposed to Paleo would be best.

      But it does have everything: fat con, cholesterol con, disease stuff, supplements, working out, cooking and so on. Packed with info in a conversational style. And it’s not a cut & paste job. Virtually everything was substantially re written, it would be hard to find a single paragraph that’s a verbatim quote from the blog, except quotes of 3rd part material, of course.



    • Zach on December 17, 2011 at 05:55

      Good stuff. I would do the same.



  4. Myree on December 16, 2011 at 17:39

    This is one I will buy! Reading your tweets along with @digisurg and @primalmeded have kept me on track through the deaths of my Daddy and Aunt in September and most recently my Mom the day before Thanksgiving. It’s been a horrible year for loss and physical and mental pain! I’m down 40 lbs now and 4clothing sizes. My sister and everyone at the memorial say I look better than I have in years! Because of all of you I’m not just accepting a doctor’s diagnosis and research everything! I REFUSE to die like my mom, riddled with pain, on really high doses of morphine and dying from Adema due to diabetes!!! I will not go out like that!

    • Richard Nikoley on December 16, 2011 at 17:51

      Sorry for all your losses, Myree.



    • Myree on December 16, 2011 at 18:21

      I’m doing better now but thanks there was some family resentment about me going on too but I think I’ve got that resolved now…. had to just say fuck it I’m not bending over backwards trying to make them all happy… I’m done people pleasing…. kinda had this crazy guy online influence me to say fuckem lol; -)



    • Bay Area Sparky on December 17, 2011 at 00:50

      It sounds like it’s time for someone to take up the torch and lead the way, Myree. It seems also that by hook or by crook, you are the leader. Great job and who better to carry the hopes of others with strength and conviction? No one better.



  5. Mike Gruber on December 16, 2011 at 18:31

    Cool! Congratulations, Richard!

  6. LXV on December 16, 2011 at 21:29

    Holy carp, I’m impressed. Congrats!

  7. Lute Nikoley on December 16, 2011 at 23:10

    Really happy for you and your hard work and accomplishment.

  8. Bay Area Sparky on December 17, 2011 at 00:45

    Heartiest Congratulations, Richard!

    As I commented on an earlier post, this is a very fitting resolution.

    It’s just right in every way. And the great thing is, it’ll be available really damn soon. Looking forward to reading your book.

  9. Sean on December 17, 2011 at 01:13

    Damn, that was fast. Good luck with it.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 17, 2011 at 02:12

      Fast? Shit, I guess you weren’t arond when I was talking about this in like 2008. 🙂

      But yea, I know what you mean. Can hardly believe it myself.



    • Sean on December 17, 2011 at 06:28

      You are talking to a guy with a perennially unfinished novel in the closet
      (it was a Chandleresque red-noir piece set in recently post-communist Prague). So I’ve tons of respect for anyone who can actually finish a book and sell it, or sell a book then finish it so quickly. Well done, sir.



    • Richard Nikoley on December 17, 2011 at 07:05

      In 1991 while living in France and the communist block was breaking up, I started on a book with a working title of The Last October. Dumb, yea, but the idea was that this second Russian revolution catapulted Russia to economic dominance in a sort of renewing, start over kinda way. It was a suspense novel.

      Guess I should have been thinking China. Interestingly, I visited China in ’86 and the USSR (Ukraine) in ’90. The Chinese seemed way more primitive, separated by that 4 year span of time.



    • Sean on December 17, 2011 at 08:57

      In retrospect it seems very difficult for countries to shake off their historical shackles, I don’t think China or Russia have made huge progress in this regard (but in 1991 one could certainly dream). The US certainly had an initial advantage in this regard.

      It would’ve been quite interesting to see Ukraine right before the fall of the Iron Curtain, or China back in ’86.



    • Richard Nikoley on December 17, 2011 at 09:12

      The two things I remember most about China were 1) being somewhat like fish in a bowl, and I mean that literally. Wherever we went, the Chinese would group around and stare at us. There were few restaurants, but when we’d be seated in one, there would be a crowd outside with their faces to the glass, observing our every move.

      The second was that there were no traffic lights. Every intersection of any import had a guy or gal in their Mao uniform standing on a cement pedestal in the center of the intersection directing traffic.

      OK, a third thing. We were there in a contingent of three US Navy warships in the very same port, Qingdao, that the navy had last departed from about 40 years earlier. It was a big affair, with a 4-star Admiral temporarily embarked on our ship (USS REEVES, CG-24), greeted by the Ambassador to China, all the pomp & circumstance you can imagine. The run-up preparations for the trip were brutal. I was the electrical officer and there was no such thing as all the lights on deck, as well as the carnival lighting (all around the railing and from bow to stern, up & over the central mast) have a single bulb out of order, or that every single one one them came on simultaneously as the second of sundown for our precise location or go off equally simultaneously at sunrise. Anyway, all of this involved constant contact with various Chinese young people, all with good bi-lingual skills, all in their Mao uniforms, nobody with any sort of insignia to determine “rank.”

      But interestingly, I found them all to be the most puerile, pestilent, snobby, elitist bunch of boorish people I had ever encountered. Never smiled, never laughed, never joked. Robots.



    • Richard Nikoley on December 17, 2011 at 09:19

      Here’s a photo of us, dockside.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Reeves_China_(1).jpg

      And yea, we were all fucking way embarrassed by the “happy faces” on the SPG-55 fire control radars. Those are what electronically illuminate an air target for the surface-to-ait missiles we carried.



    • Sean on December 18, 2011 at 06:27

      Don’t hold back Richard 😉

      One of the funniest people I ever met was an e-mag prof from China. He was made even funnier by the fact that he talked really fast and had a strong accent so when he’d throw in a joke in lecture it would take a shifting of gears to get it, meanwhile he was halfway into the next proof in perfect deadpan fashion. Such a welcome contrast to the profs who made shitty jokes then waited for the overloud sycophantic laughter. But of course he chose to leave and definitely wasn’t a robot.

      A lack of humor and a rigid adherence to an idiotic paradigm really do go hand-in-hand. And of course, a belief in the ‘correct truth’ gives one the excuse to consider oneself superior to non-believers. It’s a fucked up combination that has, unfortunately, proved itself very powerful throughout human history.



    • Sean on December 18, 2011 at 06:33

      Wow, those happy faces are pretty pathetic.



  10. Richard Nikoley on December 17, 2011 at 07:46

    I just posted this update:

    Update: There’s one element of this deal that I forgot to mention—which is strange, as it was a major deciding point for me to go with Hyperink. As an ebook, it can be revised and updated almost continuously. Thus, this is likely the only book I will ever write on the Paleo lifestyle as concerns diet, exercise, health & fitness. What Hyperink does is share a Dropbox folder with me and whenever I have updates, corrections or new material to add, I just drop it in there, they make the corrections and republish it in all the various ways (PDF, Kindle, Nook, iBook, etc.). Right now, I plan to do that on a quarterly basis. I don’t know what price points they are going to set, but I do know that getting the PDF directly from Hyperink on their website—as opposed to the other outlets—is a higher price point that comes with some extras, one of those being lifetime updates.

  11. Razwell on December 17, 2011 at 09:41

    That’s awesome , Richard. ( Complete with penis references ALA Boogie Nights and Dirk Diggler) LOL !!!!!!!!

  12. elana on December 17, 2011 at 09:47

    Big congratulations! I’m looking forward to reading it. I make a point of purchasing the books written by my favourite bloggers, even though they have, for the most part, already given it away for free because it seems the least I can do to support their work. And I really do appreciate the work, the research, the passion, and the occasional choke-on-my-coconut-oil-slicked-tea laugh.

    Thank you, Richard.

  13. Jane af on December 17, 2011 at 14:38

    Congratulations! Bittersweet timing – the passing of Christophers Hitchens and the birth of your book. Much success!

    • Richard Nikoley on December 17, 2011 at 14:47

      Jane,

      If I haven’t said anythng about Hitch, as opposed to say, Jobs, it’s only because I’m in a fog about it. Plus, for some reason, I sense he would want his legacy treated differently. Still trying to figure that out. I’ll probably write about it eventually,



  14. VW on December 17, 2011 at 15:37

    Congrats, Writer Man.

  15. Jane af on December 17, 2011 at 15:44

    Just keep doing what you are doing: not fearing to speak the truth. I would say that is the highest tribute to Hitch.

  16. Gordon on December 17, 2011 at 17:15

    Congrats! Will definitely buy this book. You helped bring me to Paleo, and I’ll give you value for value as I can.

  17. Noah on December 18, 2011 at 11:52

    Great. Will definitely buy it. Is there any cool “gifting” system set up so as to put under someone’s virtual Christmas tree?

    And, I’m sure you’ve been asked and responded before, but what camera are you using for your food pics? They are top notch.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 18, 2011 at 15:27

      I’m sure amazon allows for the purchase of kindle books as gifts, as they do for regular books. It’ll also been on the Nook and iBooks.



    • Noah on December 18, 2011 at 17:22

      New to the tech. Camera?



    • Richard Nikoley on December 19, 2011 at 07:34

      Oh, here you go, Noah.

      https://freetheanimal.com/2010/01/happy-birthday-to-the-doggie.html

      It’s the Panasonic Lumix GF1, a micro four thirds. Many of the pics I take now are with the iPhone because I have it on hand but all the real good one are with that. I’m just about to put up some pics of my liver and onions from last night I took with it.



  18. Pauline on December 18, 2011 at 13:03

    Wow! That was quick, looking forward to getting a copy soon we are trying our best to keep up with your learning curve in the publishing department!

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