A Book Deal – “Free the Animal”

Before I get to the "book deal," a quick word about Facebook. I get a lot of friend requests from readers but I must ignore them all. As my about page states: "Please note that I do not accept Facebook Friend requests from anyone who is not a current or past in-person friend or a family member." I’m not trying to be mean. I can be engaged in comments and I answer emails when I have the time. But Facebook is intended as a personal space for me with my family, physical world friends and a select few virtual world friends I’ve had for years and years. Please understand, and no begging to make an exception, please (as I’ve been subjected to a few times).  Also, there is a Facebook Page for the blog. Onward.

So, yes, I have "book deal;" that is, I’ve made a deal with myself to self-publish my book and work has begun in earnest on all fronts. So, the book is pretty much planned out, cover to cover, and I have made a number of competent & successful contacts in terms of consulting, editing, design, proofreading and distribution into the brick & mortar and online booksellers.

It will be a hardcover, professionally done in all respects. And while I know a lot of published authors (including in the non-paleo world) and have many ways to be introduced to agents in order to seek a conventional deal, I also have an understanding of the economics of publishing and what authors really make for their efforts. Essentially, unless you’re Black Swan lucky, you’re pretty much destined to earn minimum wage. Read up sometime on Tim Ferriss’ marketing efforts for 4-Hr Workweek, on his blog. Essentially, he had to do most of the work, not only to write the book, but market it. My point is, if I’m going to have to market it myself, which I have to do either way, why settle for a couple of bucks per copy on a $25 hardcover?

Plus, I have the wherewithal to finance the up-front costs of production and printing.

Moreover, far from being afraid, I’m elated. It’s a challenge I’m up to and am very confident that I have a far higher chance of big success through self-publishing, since my reward for success will be immeasurably greater. And besides, self-publishing is the wave of the future.

And oh, one other thing: I don’t have to put up with milquetoast editors and a publisher that wants to tone down my invective, dumb down the message, or run in fear of lawsuits. Screw that. When my book comes out, every single word will be just as I want.

So why the sudden surge now, when I’ve been talking about it for a long time? Enlightenment. I recently got a piece of advice from someone in the know (familiar with my blog), that I definitely ought not write another how-to paleo diet, fitness and health book. That that should be only one aspect of it in the larger context of Free the Animal. So, it’s going to be part telling the story and laying the basis for an evolutionary outlook to everything: society, culture, politics, public policy, and yes…religion.

Or, to put it another way: nothing is safe.

This opens a whole new realm, as I have posts on politics, culture and religion going back to 2003 for reference. While this book most definitely will not be a compilation of blog posts, there will be a few dozen included in the book, all tied together with a narrative, a story.

So, here’s the plan:

  1. I’m concurrently writing a "Quick Start Guide" (~ 10 pages) on paleo practices primarily for new visitors to this blog. This will be available for free download within a couple of weeks, in exchange for an email address.
  2. I’m also concurrently writing a more detailed How-To-Manual (~100 pages) on paleo practices as an eBook download for purchase. This will be available in a couple of months. The paleo section of the hardcopy book will be more story than How-To.
  3. I am currently working on the TOC and sub-chapters, with a lede for each chapter.
  4. It should then take about a month to go through the 2,800 posts to find the few dozen for inclusion in the book.
  5. Then, 2-3 months to rough draft the narrative that ties it altogether.
  6. Goal for completion of the initial draft: July 1, 2011
  7. From there, I will strive to have it on bookshelves by the holiday season

I will hold myself accountable by giving a progress update at least once per month, so expect the next one by April 1. Please encourage me to meet these milestones, on time. That’s why I’m posting this: accountability.

In the end, I think I will have met two goals. I do want to have a book that gives good detail on how to do paleo. I just didn’t want to write a major work on it, scour for scientific reference, go bug-eyed reading studies, and so forth. I just want a simple, practical, easy to implement guide with my take and style thrown in.

The second goal is to write a book that old-hand Paleos and longtime readers of this blog just might be interested in reading, because it will go far, far beyond paleo, into areas of self-discovery, success, failure, disappointment, and enlightenment.

The title will be, of course, Free the Animal. I should have a half dozen or so subtitles by my next update and perhaps you all can help me decide which hits nerves best.


Addendum: It occurred to me that I left out an important detail. The writing style will be decidedly misanthropic. But I suppose you’d have guessed that anyway. The twist is, it’s not misanthropy directed at man qua man, but toward authoritarian aspects in all facets of what’s ironically referred to as "civilization."


  1. bee on February 28, 2011 at 11:18

    more power to you, richard, in spreading the word.

  2. Matt on February 28, 2011 at 11:42

    Good for you, Richard! There are many reasons to write a book and getting rich isn’t one of them, but self-publishing is the way to go especially since you have a large audience already. We self-published ours which allows us to make changes whenever we see fit and have things our way, including in-text citations. (I hate when “scientists” point to their publisher as a reason for lack of in-text citations)

    Good luck!

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2011 at 12:04

      I’ll get a review up on your book one of these days, Matt. Have been kinda sidetracked reading Sarno books on TMS, which is going quite well. Improvement virtually every day.

      • Jeanie on February 28, 2011 at 12:55

        We just got the Sarno book – extremely interesting!!

      • Matt on March 1, 2011 at 11:56

        Very glad to hear you’re seeing improvements with that! I’ve been doing some rehab lately and it’s not as fun as balls out lifting heavy and hard. I’m interested to hear more about your results and I’m putting Sarno’s book on my list to check out.

  3. Jason Sandeman on February 28, 2011 at 11:53

    Put me down for a few copies! I can’t wait to see what you come up with Richard! If you need any testing, or something for your recipes, I’d love to help man!

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2011 at 12:22

      Not going to be any recipes per se. Rather, I want to offer principles that can be applied to all paleoish food preparation. But, nothing is in stone yet and even so, highly likely that I’d want to run some of the cooking by a paleo chef anyway, when the time comes.

  4. Neill on March 1, 2011 at 02:17

    I always wondered why you didn’t collect e-mails. You could have had a massive list by now.

    In stead you’ll just have one in a couple of weeks. :)

    I’m very interested in your book. It’s no coincidence that many people share your evo-outlook on everything. It just works.

  5. Anon on February 28, 2011 at 11:21

    “..But Facebook is a private space..”


    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2011 at 12:02


      Well, I suppose I get what you mean. Even still, I’m quite certain it’s a lot more private than this blog.

      I guess I should do an edit.

      “But Facebook is a private space for me with my family, physical world friends, a select few virtual world friends and hackers…”


      “But Facebook is a personal space…”

      Perhaps the latter. :)

  6. Jeanie on February 28, 2011 at 11:24

    Yay! You can count on me for your accountability!

  7. Brian Scott on February 28, 2011 at 11:33

    Looking forward to reading the book, especially commentary on religion. I’ve only really seen you talk about it in replies (and in the one article about how you don’t have to believe in evolution to go paleo).

  8. WyldKard on February 28, 2011 at 12:02

    Richard, are you considering an eBook version? With little hassle and cost, you can get your book listed in Apple’s iBooks store, as well as Amazon’s, et al. Some of us prefer buying digital copies to save on paper and storage. :)

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2011 at 12:26

      Yes, but not initially. I absolutely plan to shoot for the moon on this, and unfortunately, ebook sales are not yet counted in the various best-seller lists, so far as I am aware. But if the changes between now and then, sure. And in any case, after the initial push, just like Robb Wolf did.

      • David Black on March 1, 2011 at 03:47

        The New York Times recently changed its best-seller lists to include ebooks (hard copies only, ebooks only, and combined lists). Others will follow. I bought Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet first as an ebook; he sent the hard copy when ready at no extra charge.

        Your writing plan seems sound–doing it in stages. And I like the idea that the final product will be as much memoir as diet/exercise guide.

  9. Jim Arkus on February 28, 2011 at 12:16

    Very excited for this one!

  10. Tuck on February 28, 2011 at 12:19

    I hope you gave yourself a generous advance. It’s well earned, as I expect your book will be a big success. :)

  11. Lute Nikoley on February 28, 2011 at 12:48

    Good news, go for it. As for the religion? I think most of us are thick skinned enough that we can take it (except for a few exceptions). If I didn’t read and look at anything anti-Christian, I’d have to stick my head in the sand. So, bring it on, I’ll buy some, but you’ll have to sign them.

  12. Garth on February 28, 2011 at 12:49

    I like it. Hope you get this done well.

  13. Bill on February 28, 2011 at 13:00

    Just make sure you have a comprehensive index. Something Robb Wolf omitted.
    A retrospective downloadable pdf index helps in his case, but I’ll bet he rues the ommission.

  14. William Marcum on February 28, 2011 at 13:14

    As soon as I started reading this post, my first thought was “You should check out some of Tim Ferris’s blog about his latest book..” Only to read you already have. Always a step ahead Richard.. Always.

  15. Marilee on February 28, 2011 at 13:25

    Just stay the course, and you’ll succeed.

  16. Paul C on February 28, 2011 at 13:42

    I’ll volunteer to get the first book burning/banning going. Yet another reason not to do an ebook.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2011 at 13:52

      That’s actually a great marketing / promotional idea, Paul.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2011 at 13:53

      Perhaps I can get someone else to organize death threats…

      • Chris G on February 28, 2011 at 15:12

        Vegan death threats….

      • Bushrat on February 28, 2011 at 22:05

        I know this guy who would do it for a truckload of bananas…

      • Sean on March 1, 2011 at 03:20

        ha ha

  17. Rip on February 28, 2011 at 14:06

    As someone striving to get their own book self-published, you have my total support and encouragement. Self-publishing is the way forward; the publishing industry is going the way of the record industry as more and more people realise that they can do it themselves.

  18. Hans on February 28, 2011 at 14:12

    I guess the only reason for self-publishing is, that you will find no publisher for your book, and I guess you know that.
    So you tell yourself and your blogreaders, that self-publishing is the future and more succesfull anyway.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2011 at 14:29

      Actually, you’re ignorant, Hans. That’s why you “guess” wrong.

      But, since you’ve never accomplished a damn thing that I’m aware of, believe what you want if it makes you feel good.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2011 at 17:54

        Just use the damned delete button, like the good anarchist you are.

        Whatever you let a dog do, you are training it to do : )

        I have friends with book deals. It’s the route to go if you are either poor or already famous. But like you, I also have the means to self-publish and plan to do so. Unless I’m offered a John Paulson-sized advance, I prefer to be in charge of the whole shooting match.

      • Sean on March 1, 2011 at 03:25

        “Whatever you let a dog do, you are training it to do”

        Does that go for children, also ;)

      • Hans on March 1, 2011 at 01:56

        aah, seems I hit a sore point. But you`re right, I woudnt find a publisher as well.
        But I would nottry to hide the truth behind those palliations.

        However, good luck with that!

      • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2011 at 07:27

        The sore point, Hans, is dealing with projection.

        “I woudnt find a publisher”

        Yea, I have no idea what in the world that has to do with me, the 50K absolute unique readers her per month, my interviews in Der Spiegel, Macleans, La Liberte and those less notable.

        Understand: I would reject a book deal that didn’t come with a $100K advance or more. And that’s not going to happen because first timers get $25K, typically. I’d rather spend $25K to do it myself, have full control, and get paid what it’s really worth.

      • Jim Arkus on March 1, 2011 at 07:38

        Hey, self publishing worked pretty goddamn well for Mark Sisson, I’d say. I was at a Borders in Pennsylvania this weekend and they had both the PB and his Cookbook displayed very prominently. There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll be very successful with this.

  19. Joseph on February 28, 2011 at 14:13

    Great news! I look forward to reading it.

  20. MountainDew on February 28, 2011 at 14:32

    Nice to hear about the book Richard. OT: any posts coming up on your LeanGains progress?

  21. Paleohund on February 28, 2011 at 15:19

    Looking forward to a paleo book with some edge. Right on Richard!

  22. Jeremy Voluntaryist on February 28, 2011 at 16:27

    Can’t wait to read it. Will order a copy for sure. And I want a real book, none of that digital shit. I like to touch and turn real pages, not click a button.

    Gotta love people like Hans that come in, shit on the page just to get a reaction, and then sit back and wait for the replies. I always wonder, if they don’t like what you have to say, why the fuck are they visiting your page? No one is forcing them to click the link, or type in the address. They’re trolls, and should be ignored just as we would any other shit for brains.

    • Paul C on March 1, 2011 at 07:25

      Hans is an unaware troll. Experienced trolls don’t have to post the “sore point” self-validation, then run away. He is also mistaking the reaction, because it is brutal truth, not the provoked whining of a bullied victim. The truth is too hard to face, that the only accomplishment is an attempt at the cheap thrill of trolling.

  23. Jess on February 28, 2011 at 18:42

    Will also be buying your book when it comes out. You’re definitely one of if not the most interesting of the paleo bloggers.

    Also, anyone else imagining an April Fool’s joke saying he gave up on the book for the April 1st update?

  24. Jeff on February 28, 2011 at 19:24

    Sounds great. Looking forward to the e version since I’m an old fart that needs to be able to make the fonts big enough to see.

  25. Lars Thurfjell on February 28, 2011 at 21:42

    Looking forward to it Richard… especially the breadth of topics. I’ve been exploring primal living beyond food and exercise myself and believe you will have something of interest to say. Best of luck.

  26. James M on February 28, 2011 at 22:26

    I’ve been loving your blog and its archives for a while now, so I can’t wait to get my hands on your book. Kudos for going the self-publishing direction. I think it will be the one thing that saves the publishing world – that and indie presses.

    I’d happily purchase the hardcover book if it included an eBook along with it. I prefer reading on my Kindle now, and would give the book away to someone that needed it or even the local library.

    Best of luck with it all.

  27. Eric R on February 28, 2011 at 23:11

    Suggested subtitle: “An Evolutionary Approach to Everything.”

  28. George Phillips on March 1, 2011 at 01:43

    Fucking Health

  29. Sean on March 1, 2011 at 01:57

    I totally want in on the subtitle contest (please make it a contest).

    Free the Animal
    Buy this book or we shoot the vegan (with cover pic)

    Free the Animal
    fuckity fuck fuck fuckity fuck

    Free the Animal
    I get 300,000 hits a day on my blog now buy my fucking book!

    Free the Animal
    Free your minds and your waist will follow

    Free the Animal
    Grok this!

    • Sean on March 1, 2011 at 02:24

      Free the Animal
      Now with twice the fat and half the carbs

      Free the Animal
      Nice and slow, step away from the statins

      Free the Animal
      All the cool kids are doing it!

      Free the Animal
      If you haven’t realized you’re an animal you ain’t free

      OK, I think I’m done.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2011 at 04:24

      That second to the last has some potential, Sean.

      • Sean on March 1, 2011 at 10:21

        You’re welcome to it but if you end up using it I expect a few bottles of “real” olive oil.

  30. Aaron Curl on March 1, 2011 at 02:00

    This is great news. Your mental mindset reflects mine ( or vice versa ) in every aspect! I came to be open minded over a course of many years and many adventures but finding paleo really opened a whole new world (of lies,deception and government conspiracy). Paleo was the final nail in the coffin for me, I put to death the fake reality all humans were meant to blindly follow. I found your blog over a year and a half ago and was amazed by the things you said and I know this book will be truly awesome. I bought all the other paleo books of course but I know yours will be the best…can’t wait!

  31. Kylie on March 1, 2011 at 06:18

    would be awesome to put some of your meat mastery in a page or two!

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2011 at 06:25

      it will be, Kyle, but rather than page after page of meal plan and recipe filler, thing of it as stories of my fiends and I enjoying getting together, preparing, enjoying each other’s companies. Instead of how to, Ill talk about why, in all it’s facets.

  32. Daniel Merk on March 1, 2011 at 06:43


    Instead of showing a whole section of paleo success stories, just dig deep and show lots of vegan failures. Find people that were once really healthy and fit and now are lethargic, weak, and type2. I’d pay for a book like that. Best part is that at your book signing, you won’t have to worry about being hit in the face with a cayenne/shaving cream pie; you’d bust some heads.

    Good luck bro.

    • Jeremy Voluntaryist on March 1, 2011 at 07:00

      “Dig Deep”? I don’t think it will require much digging! They’re EVERYWHERE.

  33. rob on March 1, 2011 at 07:09

    “Free The Animal: How To To Crush Your Enemies, See Them Driven Before You, And Hear The Lamentation Of Their Women”

  34. Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2011 at 08:53

    I just added something to the post.

    “Addendum: It occurred to me that I left out an important detail. The writing style will be decidedly misanthropic. But I suppose you’d have guessed that anyway.”

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2011 at 08:57

      Oops, just so I’m not misunderstood, this is not veganesque misanthropy.

      “Addendum: It occurred to me that I left out an important detail. The writing style will be decidedly misanthropic. But I suppose you’d have guessed that anyway. The twist is, it’s not misanthropy directed at man qua man, but toward authoritarian aspects in all facets of what’s ironically referred to as “civilization.””

      • Brian Scott on March 1, 2011 at 11:41

        I have never pegged your style as misanthropic, Richard. Caustic and intolerant of authoritarianism and the zealotry that makes up modern institutions that promote authoritarianism, but certainly not misanthropic. Yeah, I know what you mean, but given how you support something which is decidedly life giving and for which most of mankind would benefit from, I’d peg you as an incorrigible humanitarian. ;)

      • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2011 at 13:09

        Brian, I’m not altogether happy with it either as it requires too much clarification and distinction. Yea, you have me pegged pretty well.

        This is not set in stone. It’s just my working theme for right now or until I come up with a better way to describe it.

  35. George Phillips on March 2, 2011 at 00:51

    That pithy subtitle might just be needed to differentiate FTA from “Free The Animals” ‘the story of the animal liberation front’ !

  36. Jim on March 1, 2011 at 10:16

    All the “authoritarian aspects” of civilization will be attacked except capitalism. Therein lies the true irony.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2011 at 10:21

      That’s what you think, Jim.

      • Joseph on March 1, 2011 at 12:36

        The only thing Richard won’t do is apologize for existing. That’s OK. I’m sure some of us less confident folks will be willing to pick up the slack and be doubly sorry we were ever born. I’m ashamed to admit I am almost certainly one of them (sometimes, on bad days)!

    • Brian Scott on March 1, 2011 at 11:36

      I don’t get how laissez-faire capitalism can be considered authoritarian when it is by definition “I ain’t gonna tell you how to spend your money”

      • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2011 at 13:07

        Brian, I was just extending Jim the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure what he meant is that little in the global scene of international conglomerates — all protected by the state through various incentives, breaks, and most important of all, heavy regulation so as to raise barriers to entry — resembles actual capitalism which is merely the private means of production.

        You’ll have something resembling actual capitalism once a person’s business, commercial land and buildings, plant & equipment, absolute authority to employ or not employ (hire & fire) on any grounds whatsoever are held as sacred as is that same person’s house and family. …Although, that, too, is eroding.

      • Sean on March 1, 2011 at 13:45

        Yes, crony capitalism isn’t actual capitalism, but what does that have to do with the “authoritarian aspects” of capitalism?

      • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2011 at 14:15

        Only to the extent that corporations are backed and protected by the state.

        If Jim meant that because some company not protected and advantaged by the state produces with such cleverness, tenacity, efficiency and so on that nobody can profitably compete with them and so you are “forced” to deal with them then, well, Jim and I would have a different view, to say the least.

      • Sean on March 1, 2011 at 14:39

        “Only to the extent that corporations are backed and protected by the state.”

        That is a good definition of crony capitalism, Richard, but I don’t see what it has to do with the “authoritarian aspects” of capitalism that Jim is bitching about.

    • Sean on March 1, 2011 at 11:57

      Jesus tittyfucking Christ what do you know about irony, anonymous Jim? Could you please explain what the inherent authoritarian aspects of capitalism are? And while you are at it, please explain what they have to do with Richard writing a book about his extraordinary health transformation and his popular blog describing it.

      Beware of assholes who claim to know the difference between true and fake irony.

  37. Erin on March 1, 2011 at 11:58

    Great news! Looking forward to reading it Richard! :)

  38. Steve L on March 1, 2011 at 19:05

    “Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.” Benito Mussolini

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2011 at 20:16

      In the classical definitions I have know, we are more fascist than socialist. Socialism is state ownership and control while fascism is so-called private ownership under total state control

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2011 at 20:19

      But ya, the corporation is a state sanctioned entity with separate rights and obligations apart from persons. The biggie is limited personal liability. This creates a whole host of unintended consequences. Better that everything was proprietorship or partnership with full personal liability, then you buy insurance against fuck ups.

  39. lpdbw on March 1, 2011 at 21:44

    Hey, you know you need a good editor.

    That would not be me.

    However, I know someone who does that kind of work for a fee.

    Email me.

  40. Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2011 at 10:45

    This 26-yr-old girl has self published 9 fiction books since April, 2010 !!! and sold in excess of 900,000 copies.


    It’s a whole differn’ world, folks.

    • Sean on March 2, 2011 at 22:13

      That’s actually quite cool. Amazing how unbridled access to information can really be a game changer. And the effects are just beginning to be felt.

    • Tracy on March 3, 2011 at 19:00

      It is a different world… Radiohead has been self publishing (not the right word?) their albums and it’s working well for them. I’d rather pay the person/people who created the content than some record/publishing company, personally.

      Can’t wait to read your book! Good for you (and about bloody time too!)

  41. Josh on March 10, 2011 at 18:08

    Personally, I don’t think anyone is doing enough to alienate the vegans/vegetarians. At this point, all this big talk and aggressive language is just fueling their Al-Qaida style cells. As I type this legions of lentil chomping Nazi’s align against us conspiring to steal our meat, probably intending to plant it and grow animal trees or something. It’s time to get armed and enforce our world view martially and ruthlessly. If you disagree you are a pussy.

  42. Josh on March 10, 2011 at 18:36

    How do you kill that which is already dead?

  43. […] takeover of the vegan community. He’s trying to replace T. Colin Campbell as their leader. His upcoming book? The New Evolutionary Vegan Diet Solution.  Its premise: vegans are so brain-addled from lack of […]

  44. Jasen on May 2, 2011 at 15:21

    Richard, I have been following your blog for about 2 months now. During that time I have lost 25 lbs just be changing what I eat!!! I can’t wait till your book comes out! Put me down for a copy!

    • Richard Nikoley on May 2, 2011 at 15:29

      Jasen, that’s great news. Wow, 3 lb per week loss. That’s pretty rapid. If you have lots to lose, just don’t get discouraged when it slows down to 2 and then 1 lb per week. Totally normal.

  45. […] blog about Paleo coming in last of 20 for diets). So, a couple of months back, I wrote a post about doing a book. Of course, nothing does nor should go off "as […]

  46. Primal Toad on June 14, 2011 at 12:29

    I love it Richard. Good luck with it all. I have my Primal Smoothie Recipe eBook now out with a major update coming in June. It’s a shit load of work but its all worth it. Take your time. Only set deadlines when you are certain you can meet them (I did NOT do this – big mistake!).

  47. Livefree on February 22, 2012 at 08:56

    Why does every former FAT GUY attempt to become a fitness expert? So we have all the former unhealthy people teaching people how to be fit? What a weird world we live in. I would think people would follow and want to model people who are already there and have always been fit and healthy, and ask them their secrets. That’s what I would do if I were in a unhealthy situation. I would never go to and follow a former fat ass.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2012 at 09:16

      Perhaps because we “live free”, moron?

      This post is over a year old and you’re behind the times. Common for a moron. The book has been published, approaches 3,ooo in sales and last I checked, has 22 reviews on Amazon, 20 of them 5-star, including a 5-star by an NYT best selling author of two books who was himself, formerly fat.


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