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Scott Berkun gives us the backstory on releasing Mindfire 1.1: the updated edition

MindFire cover 2011Author Scott Berkun gives us the inside scoop on releasing the updated edition of his self-published book, Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds. First published in October 2011, the new edition catches 100 typos and adds fixes and little touches “to make it the best version of the book ever,” in his words.

The book is a terrific collection of his essays, mostly written for his blog. Scott is also the author of several other books, traditionally published. My favorite is Confessions of a Public Speaker. Mindfire topics include:

  • The Cult of busy
  • Why smart people defend bad ideas
  • Street smarts vs. Book smarts
  • The secret motivation of death
  • Creative Thinking Hacks

The updated digital edition of Mindfire is available free on his site,, for 48 hours, beginning at 9 AM PST on Wednesday March 20, 2013. You can download it as a PDF, a .mobi file for Kindle or ePub file for everything else.

DW: What made you decide to re-release Mindfire?

SB: The first edition released with more minor issues than I wanted. The plan was always to do an update, I just never thought it would take this long. Walt Whitman updated Leaves of Grass a dozen times over decades, and I wanted to avoid doing that. But many authors wish their publishers would update their books, and since I self published the choice was mine.

DW: Is this kind of control over your book the reason you decided to self publish Mindfire in the first place?

SB: Absolutely. I have no excuses. All the things a reader dislikes about the book are my fault, but so are all the things they do like.

DW: It’s been almost 18 months since the original pub date of Oct. 11, 2011. Why 18 months between editions? Did it just work out that way or do you have a formula??

DB: The primary reason was I spent 18 months working at as research for my next book, The Year Without Pants, which comes out this September.

DW: You say over 100 changes: Did you add new material? Did you update the preface or introduction?

SB: There is no new material – all the changes are quality control in one way or another: typos, grammar, accuracy and layout.

DW: Did you use a copyeditor again to go over all the material in the updated edition? A proofreader? Any advice on that?

SB: Yes. I have some very generous fans who love to find typos, but I also hired a professional proofreader to give it the final pass.

DW: Will the updated edition say “updated” on both the e-cover and the paperback cover?

SB: No. I’d only do that if there was new material warranting people who have the first edition to buy the new one. The Printing History is listed in the open pages and says 1.1 for anyone wanting to confirm which edition they have. Since late last month Amazon has been selling the 1.1 edition so many people may have it without even knowing it.

DW: Are you using CreateSpace for the print on demand (POD) version of the softcover? Any pros and cons you can offer about using CreateSpace?

SB: I used LightningSource for the print edition and BookBaby for all digital editions. LS had more flexible pricing than CreateSpace when I made the decision in 2011 – things may have changed by now. CreateSpace has many good things about it.

DW: I love the cover. The orange really pops. What advice would you give to new authors who are self-publishing about their cover designs?

SB: You get what you pay for: hire a great designer. Look at their portfolios and contact them early enough for the good ones to fit you in (the good ones won’t be available on a moments notice). You can read a great behind the scenes story of how the cover for Mindfire was designed here.

DW: What are your plans for promoting MindFire this time around other than the free download starting March 20, 2013 from your site. Great idea, BTW, and I like the way you’re asking people to help you spread the word.

SB: I have a large email list I use to stay in touch with fans. The promotion asks people to join the list. Giving the book away on Kindle makes that impossible to do. I might do that as well at some point, but a free book for joining a mailing list seems a fair deal.


Read interview with Scott Berkun on O’Reilly FYI:  Scott Berkun Answers Proust’s Questions


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