Joey Ingram and quick poker books

Joey Ingram and quick poker books

516M9GnZZOLThis week Youtube poker star Joey Ingram wrote a 40,000 word poker book in five days as part of a prop bet. As an aside, this is a bet I should have made myself because I am a productive writer and, as my wife will confirm, my greatest strength is getting things over with quickly. The most impressive aspect of Ingram’s bet was he managed to get some contributions from several elite players in those five days, because with the greatest respect, trying to get professional poker players to commit to a deadline is a lofty goal in and of itself.

Given that he already has a substantial following on 2+2, YouTube and Twitter, plus the attention the prop bet generated, I think it will work out a very profitable five days for him. He has already earned $2,000 from the prop bet which already puts him in the higher echelons of royalties paid to a poker author and great for five days work by most peoples’ standards. From speaking with many poker authors over the years, 10,000 lifetime copies sold seems like a notable success with poker books, with 20,000 being outstanding and only a few very special titles getting 100,000+ in sales.

I’d set the line at 10,000 and probably take the under for lifetime sales with this particular book, only because of the awareness of how fast it was written will make it seem gimmicky. I think he guarantees 2-4,000 sales alone from his popularity on 2+2 and Youtube, if the book proves to be good it could go way beyond that. If he wants a couple of free pointers to shift more copies he should A) Pay for a much better cover and B) Get his many guest authors like Cole South and Daniel Colman sharing his author byline on Amazon, because that is a big draw (this is one of the reasons why authors try so hard to get a famous person to do the foreword).

The turnaround time problem solved

Clipboard01Why would anyone want to buy a book written in five days? Well, assuming it is good (and everything I have seen from Ingram suggests to me it will be) then this actually solves a major problem all poker books (with a few exceptions) have faced since the poker boom. That is that poker evolves so quickly that the game progresses beyond the advice given in a book in the time it takes to publish one. You could be looking at a year to 18 months from start to finish to create a book, which is a generation in online poker. This is why training sites and webinars are so popular because they have such a quick turnaround time.

The main reason I agreed to work on The Mental Game of Poker was because I knew it was a rare exception that would not date as rapidly as generic poker strategy does. Just look at a classic like Harrington On Hold’em, one of the best selling poker books of all time, but which today might seem incredibly dated. There is usually a small window of time for standard poker strategy, which is no doubt why Let There Be Range was priced over $1,000 when it came out. While the advice in these books is still fundamentally sound, the game evolves quickly because of that advice. You only need to look at what people consider to be the ‘correct’ opening bet size to see how frequently consensus changes in poker.

Knocking a book out in five days solves this problem to some degree. Of course you still have to market it within a short window (which is why it is so valuable to have a preexisting audience rather than starting from scratch) but you do buy yourself a lot of time. Amazon is my favourite tech company because they have made it so easy to have a book of any length up on Kindle and a softcover via CreateSpace in under 72 hours. No longer do authors have to submit a book proposal, work for months on the book, send it to the printers and wait for months before it hits the shelves. As Joey has shown, if you are really inspired you could have your own book out a week from now.

downloadWhile I don’t think five days to do 40,000 words is necessarily a good idea, I do think smaller books produced in a short amount of time are perfect for poker and the time we live in. One of my favourite things on Amazon right now is a series called History in an Hour which is a series of short books designed to plug basic history knowledge that only take an hour to read. Because we all have a Kindle/Phone/iPad these days and because CreateSpace has solved the problem of excessive printing costs, I think there is a potential market available for shorter poker books that still face the problem of dating, but by nowhere near as big a degree as they did before and arguably they are now on an even playing field with training sites.

A few years ago I wrote a post giving advice for poker books that should be written and I am very proud to say that post influenced Ken Lo to write A Poker Player’s Guide To Mixed Games. Training sites are still the preferred way to learn in poker but people still love to read and I hope this post, and more importantly Joey’s bet, influences more people to write shorter more up-to-date poker books.

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