Earlier this year, I published my first book, Personal Finance for People in Tech. After some positive reviews and requests for more content and more formats, I’m proud to announce that the book’s second edition is now available. You can now get Personal Finance for People in Tech in paperback, audiobook, and e-book. You can get a copy of the audiobook for free by starting a free trial of Audible (the audiobook is yours to keep even if you cancel your membership) and you can read the e-book for no extra charge as a member of Kindle Unlimited (which I helped launch in 2014).
In this second edition, I revised the existing chapters and added six new ones. There are new chapters on windfalls (including inheritances and company buyouts), marriage, your children’s education, trusts, and estate planning. I’m particularly grateful to my friend Justin, who is married with children, for helping me with the editing of a couple of these new chapters. All of the existing and new material has been professionally copy edited, and I hired a graphic designer to lay out the print book and to remake the graphics in a polished, consistent style. I also hired a professional narrator to record and produce the audiobook on Audible. I’m very satisfied with the way everything came out, and I hope you enjoy the new edition as well.
The timing of the second edition’s release hasn’t been ideal. On November 9, the day the print book became available, Meta laid off 13% of its workforce. The following week, as the e-book became available, Amazon started the largest layoffs in its history. After a decade of constant growth, the U.S. tech industry is now facing a reckoning, and thousands of my colleagues are suddenly on the job market. My heart goes out to those affected, and at the same time, I don’t have much advice to offer to people who urgently need to change employers. I also feel that now is a time for everyone to take their personal finances more seriously. My broad advice to workers is to focus on their work and their personal finances, which they can control, instead of focusing on what their executives and managers are doing, which they can’t. It’s time to get back to the basics with most of one’s finances: no more 18%-interest crypto savings accounts that end up collapsing, leaving depositors in the cold.
I spent a lot of time reviewing and editing the first edition myself, making a minor revision after publication. Because I wanted to publish the second edition in print and as an audiobook, which are much more difficult to edit after publication, I hired Heather Pendley to do the copy editing. I found her on Reedsy, a marketplace for freelance publishing professionals. After I converted the book from Markdown to Microsoft Word format using Pandoc, I sent a document to Heather, who used Word’s “track changes” function to suggest over 5,000 edits. (Many of these were very small; changing “U.S.” to “US”, to match the recommendations in The Chicago Manual of Style, counted as two edits.) Heather also left me a few comments where she found my wording to be unclear or ambiguous. I accepted nearly all of her edits and made further revisions of my own. I could then use Pandoc again to convert the revised document from Word back to Markdown format so that I could publish the second edition in e-book format.
For the first edition, which was only available on the Kindle Store, I made some charts and graphs using a combination of Google Sheets, Tableau Desktop, and Diagrams.net (formerly draw.io). Heather introduced me to Hillary McMahan, a graphic designer who imported my Word document into Adobe InDesign and who made the images and layouts much more professional than I could ever make them. I ended up learning a lot about book production in this way; at the start, I knew nothing about InDesign, running heads, typesetting for print, and many other concepts, but Hillary asked me lots of questions as she made my written material look better on paper. Once Hillary had a print-ready PDF, Reedsy helped me hire Sandy Blood to make a print index. I hadn’t even known that “indexer” was a profession, but Sandy did great work to help my print readers find everything I wrote about.
For the audiobook, I uploaded a sample script to ACX, a marketplace operated by Audible, and auditioned narrators to read my whole book for me. Conducting auditions for someone to, essentially, portray myself was perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this production process. I hired Geoffrey Scheer, a professional actor, as my narrator. Geoffrey did great work, quicker than I had expected, and he made a few corrections at my request right away.
This was my first experience hiring professionals for book production. I learned that I had to be as specific as possible from the start. Reedsy asks authors to prepare “briefs,” or requests for proposals, and to request quotes from no more than 5 professionals. I also had to ensure that the work was done to my satisfaction before Reedsy processed the final payment. ACX asked me to write an audition script and evaluate the narrators who read it for me. That puts pressure on the author to be concise and to select professionals who are both well-reviewed and likely to respond. My duties as an author included those of a project manager: preparing proposals, answering questions, following up on works in progress, and evaluating results. I’m sure there are professional project managers for book production, but I didn’t hire one this time.
I am an employee of Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon. Amazon owns the Kindle Store, Audible, and ACX. The contents of my book, my audiobook, and this article represent my opinions only and not necessarily those of Amazon or any of its subsidiaries.