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Reader Ryan (“impliedvolatility”) asks

Why sell a book?

[dc]T[/dc]his is a good question, and there are a few answers. First, I like to teach. I always have, and I think I am pretty good at it, especially when it comes to high level skills like chess, music, or trading. I have been teaching all my life (even when I was spending 14 hours a day, 6 days a week in a professional kitchen, I often taught a cooking class on my off day), and the book is a logical extension of that desire to teach.

Second, the discipline of writing the book was good for me. I wrote the first draft in about a month and a half, but the long work outlining and planning forced me to codify and to clearly define my trading. I found that there were things I had been doing for years that could be cleaned up a bit. Also, I was coming out of a period of trading where I was trying a style and a timeframe where I had no edge. I wrote the book at the same time I returned to the style of trading I had done for many years. My trading results were outstanding, and writing the book was somewhat cathartic. Writing the book made me a better trader.

Third, there really was an altruistic component to my motivation. My friend Mike Bellafiore told me that I should only write a book that would be a gift to the trading community, that no other reason for writing a book could really make it worthwhile. He was absolutely right. I want the book to sell well because I want this information to be in every developing trader’s hands. No one writes a trading book to get rich—even at a very high level of sales if you think of the project on a per hour basis, you’re not even making minimum wage. That’s not why I want everyone to read the book. I have seen so much garbage sold to struggling traders under the umbrella of education for many years, and so little material that really focuses on helping that trader find her edge. I wrote this book to, hopefully, correct some of those errors and to give people information that could have saved me a lot of time, money, and anguish along the way.

You might logically ask if I think selling a book will degrade my edge in the market, and the answer is I can’t imagine that it could. First of all, what I do has a large discretionary component. Two traders are going to make slightly different decisions given the same set of data, and that is ok. Second, there was a tremendous amount of quantitative work cut from the book (the original was over twice as long as the final version), and most of that was research supporting the trading styles and patterns that I used in the book. I know this stuff has a statistical edge because I have researched it on every timeframe, every asset class, and they hold up even on very old, historical data. (Equities in the 1700-1800’s, commodities in the Middle Ages, etc.) As long as people continue to make decisions on response to risk and opportunity in the financial markets, the big picture market moves will be the same. As long as the trader stays out of the noise, minimizes transaction costs, and avoids mistakes, it is hard to imagine anything significantly degrading the edge in this style of trading.

So, if you haven’t already, please check out The Art & Science of Technical Analysis. You can see several of the chapters in full text on Amazon, and make a decision about whether it might add something to your trading. I also want to take a moment to thank all of my readers who have left reviews. If you’ve read the book and found it useful, and if you’d be inclined to leave a review on Amazon, I would certainly appreciate it. The reality of the publishing business today is that those reviews are important and influential. Your feedback can be very helpful to me, and to other potential readers. As always, if you have questions, keep ’em coming.