Help Me Do What I’m Good At

03.16.2016 | 2:03 pm

A Fair Warning From Fatty: This post is going to be really dry for most of you, though hopefully pretty interesting for a few of you. It’s going to seriously blur my blog life and my career life. There will be links to my résumé (and to my LinkedIn page), and there will be pie charts illustrating my analysis of the Fight Like Susan crowdfunding survey I conducted a few days ago.

What’s Going On And How You Can Maybe Help

I’ve been working at a startup company for the past two-plus years. Unfortunately, they’ve had to cut me back to very part-time hours and pay. Without getting too deep into it, I’ll now be making 15% of what my salary was.

We can’t live on that. Not even close.

I need to find a job, and if you have connections to a company that could use a very experienced Storyteller (sometimes called a “content marketer”), or very experienced Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager, or just a remarkably disciplined and creative — yet almost ridiculously technically-gifted — content guy in general, please: introduce us. 

If you have something you think I’d be interested in, don’t be shy. You can use email (I’m, as you probably know), text messaging (my phone number is in the PDF of my résumé), or LinkedIn messaging.

How I’m Using My Time Right Now

Meanwhile, I have time, and I intend to use it fully. Starting next week, I’m going to launch a friends-of-fatty crowdfund / pre-order of the book I’ve intended to write for several years: Fight Like Susan

I will give you more details about the content of the book next week, but for now, here’s what I’ve learned from you about how this pre-order ought to work.

First, it looks like a large enough percentage of you want to buy a copy that this is not a completely insane idea. 
Between last Friday and Monday (a four-day period), 420 of you answered my survey. The first question was the most critical: how likely are you to buy a copy?

Your response was overwhelmingly encouraging:

Screenshot 2016 03 16 13 07 26

74% of the survey respondents said they definitely plan to, with another 14% at least willing to consider it. Now, I understand that this group is self-selecting, but I choose to still see it as a really hopeful sign. 

Second, you told me how I ought to price the book.

To be honest, I didn’t expect to get such clear direction on what the price ought to be for the book, but you were very helpful:

Screenshot 2016 03 16 13 11 29

$19.95 is the most popular option, but $14.95 and $12.95 were up there, too. As of this moment, I plan to make $14.95 the default price. If you want a signed version, that will cost $19.95 (58% of you indicated you’d be willing to pay $5 – $10 extra for the signed version, so this works out nicely for you).

And if you are in a tough financial spot (which I completely understand) but want to read or gift it to someone, then you can pay $12.95…and if the math works out, I may also include a $9.95 version. 

Third, I need to have a Kindle plan.

I guess I shouldn’t be at all surprised by this next chart, since I do about 90% of my own reading on the Kindle app for iOS devices. Still, I admit it, this does surprise me: 

Screenshot 2016 03 16 13 20 43

Yep, more of you want this book in Kindle format than you do in paperback.  We live in the future, folks. 

How much will I charge for the Kindle version? $9.95, I believe. 

Fourth, I need to rethink my “Podcast and Letter” incentive. 

One idea I had as an upsell incentive was to provide an exclusive ongoing podcast and newsletter for people who pay a certain amount. Here’s what you all thought of that idea, in terms of how much you’d pay:


Screenshot 2016 03 16 13 28 09

Just about a quarter of you were interested in paying for this, which isn’t bad. If 2000 of you buy a book and a quarter of you paid $10 for a weekly podcast / letter from me saying how the is going, that’s $5000, which is a good amount of money.

But one person left a comment saying: 

I don’t think i’d pay more for the podcast, etc on the book process. But I think it’s a good idea to do that anyway…blog the entire thing, basically give it away for free. This will bring in more people who are willing to buy it when it’s done.

When I read that, I realized it made so much sense. So that’s what I’m going to do: have Fight Like Susan Progress episodes on the FattyCast, and talk about (and excerpt parts of it) as I write. 

Fifth, you have several good ideas for me.

I was really glad I left a place in the survey for comments; many of you left some really thoughtful, useful insights I’m considering making part of this project:

  • Kindle + Paperback Option: Several people noted they’d like to have both Kindle and paperback versions of the book. I think that makes perfect sense and plan to have a bundle with both at a good price.
  • T-Shirt, Jersey, Socks, Bottles: This was the single most frequently-made comment: where are the incentive levels for these items? I’m working on design now and will have them as part of this project.
  • Audio Option: I was surprised how many of you want an audiobook option for this book. It’s a daunting idea, but I’m intrigued by it. I think I might make it a “stretch goal” target. I’ll have to figure out how that might work (and I’m open to suggestions). 
  • A “Just Donate” Option: A number of very generous folks said they’d like to just be able to kick in some money, either as thanks for a lot of years of bloggage, or because they’re just really nice.
  • An Outrageous Option: I’m not sure what this should be, but I’m certainly open to suggestions.

I’ll be launching this pre-order next week, and I’ll begin writing the book itself next week. Be on the lookout for that. 

this is a weird, scary, intense, very educational time for me right now. Whether you help by pre-ordering a book or by pointing my résumé out to someone who might have work for me, I appreciate it.


  1. Comment by Don | 03.16.2016 | 2:23 pm

    Hi Elden,

    Bold moves, tough and sometimes scary life events you’re experiencing. I wish you all the best on your book endeavor and career search.

  2. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 03.16.2016 | 2:32 pm

    Good luck on the job search. Start ups and being self employed are similar great potential for success and great potential for lots of sleepless nights.
    If I had need of someone with your skills I would offer you a job, which you would immediately decline as there are no mountains in Michigan so climbing is not a skill a biker uses much here thus negating the best skill in your cycling quiver.

  3. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 03.16.2016 | 3:15 pm

    An open letter to the cycling industry:

    Dear Cycling Industry,

    Are you folks off-the-charts crazy!? How is it that you have not already found a way to make Fatty central to adding value to one of your fine enterprises?

    As the Noodle is to Specialized, and as Yuri is to Gu, surely Fatty is to ______ (you don’t need to have gotten a good score on the SAT to figure THIS out).

    Fatty is modest, so he won’t say he can write like the Noodle (I beg to differ–they’re both top notch). He won’t say he can ride like Yuri (okay, he might be right here, but on the cusp of top 100 at Leadville isn’t exactly chopped liver). If ever there’s been a stellar writer-rider combination, however, it’s Fatty.

    I’ve read his writing–I keep coming back for more. I’ve heard his podcasts–I’m mesmerized. I’ve seen him talk in front of groups–can anyone say Fred Talk*?

    Five hundred units of Root Beer Gu are nice, cycling industry. Random Cannondale Scalpels are nice, cycling industry. But those don’t pay the bills, cycling industry.

    So pay his bills, cycling industry** (and a bonus would be nice, and maybe some equity) by making him a creator, a product manager, a communicator, an ambassador, a whatever, and he’ll pay your bills times ten.

    Your (soon to be bigger) customer,
    Jeff Dieffenbach

    *I just invented that, and lay claim to it

    **Okay, maybe not Assos

    Jeff, you just completely made my day. Thank you for saying this. – FC

  4. Comment by Yannb | 03.16.2016 | 3:27 pm

    I agree with Jeff’s points. Would be really cool for you to land a job in something related to cycling. But then again, you don’t s–t where you eat.

  5. Comment by Stephen S | 03.16.2016 | 3:27 pm

    Have you reached out to World Bicycle Relief? No doubt they’d love to have someone who can tell stories like you, has your insane conversion rate (sorry but that’s what it is), and has already shown themselves to be a dedicated asset to the organization the way you have for like five years.

  6. Comment by wharton_crew | 03.16.2016 | 4:20 pm

    I ride by Racer’s everyday and imagine what kind of LBS franchise juggernaut he could be with you as his Chief Mktg Officer. I’d be happy to introduce you to him. ;-)

    All joking aside, I could see you in a non-profit world, similar to Doug Ulman. Have you looked into Huntsman Cancer center?

    Also, can you tell us how big your reader-base is? It helps to go to our bosses and say we know a blogger with xx million readers. No pressure to disclose, if the number is too big. We know you don’t like to brag.

  7. Comment by PNP | 03.16.2016 | 4:28 pm

    Ditto what Jeff said. It does seem odd that they’re not seeking you out. You do, after all, have connections just about everywhere.

    In the meantime, enjoy your time off. Ride and write, and hang out with your family. When you get to my age, you’ll realize that we all spend way too much time working and not enough time living. Take advantage of it while you can.

  8. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.16.2016 | 4:53 pm

    As usual, late to the party. Survey? Let me get right on it!

    Jeff sums it up best.

    The bike industry could use a voice like yours, more importantly, the ENTIRE bike community could use a voice like yours. Dave Towle and The Bobke are great for ‘racing’, but you are the voice for the rest of us.

    I’m ready to send a check, but you better hurry before Wife #1 finds out.

  9. Comment by rb | 03.16.2016 | 5:37 pm

    +1 for Jeff.

    Having a very basic understanding of how the cycling industry works, it’s all passion and “stuff”. Very little actual money. Just ask US National road race and criterium champion Eric Marcotte.

    Tech needs awesome communicators. After all, someone needs to make the money so they can spend it on bikes, nutrition, and gear!

    Sent you an email…perhaps stars will align as lightning strikes.

  10. Comment by rb | 03.16.2016 | 5:52 pm

    I forgot! I love the data. Really. I read it a little differently. We live in the future, but 41% *still* want a physical copy. I suspect it’s due to the nature of the book. Many may want to gift it, or have it on the bookshelf

  11. Comment by Randy J from GA | 03.16.2016 | 6:26 pm

    Best of wishes. For what it’s worth, out of all the sources of info i consume (magazines, ads, TV, websites, etc.), i have purchased more items based on your blog… than any other. Your voice is very powerful and i hope cycling companies recognize this. And, personally, i appreciate all you do to educate and entertain. Thank you.

  12. Comment by leroy | 03.16.2016 | 6:41 pm

    My dog offered to explain to me any big words your book uses.

    Told him that’s not what you meant by “outrageous option.”

    But it’s the thought that counts. And I think he knows he can’t top Jeff’s thoughts.

  13. Comment by Evan | 03.16.2016 | 7:40 pm

    Another +1 for Jeff, and make it a +1 for Randy J. I also have done more from this blog (Niterider light, various Gu’s, 100 MON, Rockwell Relay, the list goes on…) than any other cycling site. And this doesn’t count the other people I’ve persuaded to do an event, or try something, because you helped persuade me.

    I’ll also be going for a copy of the book (format to be determined), mainly to help with whatever you do. So you can add one more person to your previous totals.

  14. Comment by Corrine | 03.16.2016 | 8:23 pm

    Totally agree with Jeff. Thanks for saying it well, Jeff! Good luck in your job search, Elden and with writing your book. I can’t wait to read it.

  15. Comment by Snowcatcher | 03.16.2016 | 8:45 pm


    I didn’t do the survey because I have limited internet access these days. I will gladly buy your book in electronic, print AND audio versions, whatever you make available (I enjoy all three), and I will gladly make a donation, too, if I can afford it. I’ll pay extra for the signature.

    Just make sure whatever you do that you cover your costs; last thing you need right now is sinking money into something that leaves you further in the hole.

    If I had a company, I’d hire you in a heartbeat because I like your writing style, and I see your creative potential as well as your huge following. I wish you luck in your search, and if I hear of anything, I’ll definitely be pointing it to you.

  16. Comment by zeeeter | 03.16.2016 | 9:37 pm

    I’m not sure I’m looking forward to reading the book but will of course buy it in due course. As for the audio book option, if you don’t want to be the reader, Fatty, I’m certain enough of us are on Twitter to start a very persuasive campaign to get Patrick Dempsey to do it, when he’s not playing with his cars! :)

  17. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.17.2016 | 1:08 am

    @Zeeter’s a genius!
    Patrick Dempsey reads Fat Cyclist.(his picture may just have to a little larger than yours on the cover) :-)

  18. Comment by Michael | 03.17.2016 | 5:07 am

    Hey Fatty, I remember years ago reading some of your writing for the book. Today I came to your site expecting that you were already selling the book. I was going to finally buy a copy. What do I see as the latest article? Add me to the “I’ll definitely buy it” list. Just make sure there’ll be a version I can buy from Australia please.
    PS just listened to my first few Fattycasts. After the initial shock of actually hearing your voice I’ve found I’m really enjoying your interview / chat style. Great work. Thanks.

  19. Comment by Brian in VA | 03.17.2016 | 6:46 am


    I look forward to the work, as do so many people.

    If you decide to do an audio version, I’d be willing to donate the voicing of it. (I do a good bit of voiceover work in my job including elearning modules and internal videos.)

    I’m considering voiceover to be my retirement job, coming sooner than later I hope, and would love to do this for you.

    Best of luck!

  20. Comment by Tim | 03.17.2016 | 7:17 am

    On a completely different note, FOF Jill Horner set a new women’s record for the 1000 mile Iditarod Trail Bike race. She finished last night.

    That is awesome! She’s such an inspiration. – FC

  21. Comment by miles archer | 03.17.2016 | 8:37 am

    You ever think about getting a superstar to write a forward for your book? You think Lance would do it?

    I hadn’t thought about getting someone to write a forward to my book, but it’s a good idea. I’ll have to think about who would be the right person. – FC

  22. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 03.17.2016 | 9:06 am

    I like the paperback / Kindle option a lot, and would almost definitely go that route.

    Good luck in the job search – been there, done that. I have sent you some links to jobs with my former employer (now retired) if you are willing to consider relocation and doing what you do in a completely different field of products.

  23. Comment by Christina | 03.17.2016 | 9:13 am

    You can’t sign my kindle!

    Seems to me you should be a product marketer. The Pearl Izumi people have folks that just generate buzz. You, my friend, can generate a sh-t-ton of buzz, to put it mildly.

    And I can’t wait for a t-shirt with this book.

  24. Comment by AKChick | 03.17.2016 | 10:00 am

    I so wish I knew of a firm that could use your mad skills. All the marketing folks I know are of the architecture/engineering variety and a very different breed of marketer. I’ll keep you, Lisa and the family in my thoughts and prayers that the right opportunity presents itself at the right time. I know there is a position out there for you. It would be uber awesome if one of your fans could hook you up with an opportunity. A payback of sorts for all that you do to help so many. :)

    So hurry up and get all the details worked out so we can pre-order! :)

  25. Comment by AKChick | 03.17.2016 | 10:03 am

    Shoot, I just saw the comment about Jill Homer finishing the Iditarod! I’ve been following her Facebook page and GPS tracker. That woman is crazy tough. She may not think she is, but I know many of her fans do. What an inspiration (though, I still do not want to do that many miles on a fat tire bike). Can’t wait to read about her adventure on her blog! I know that they encountered 20-30+mph winds on the coast and wicked wind chills. She powered through like a champ! I think that should be one of your next challenges. :) Fat bike a portion of the Iditarod trail. You have a host in Anchorage that could help!

  26. Comment by owen | 03.17.2016 | 10:48 am

    Lifetime/Leadville Race Series seems a perfect fit for you – they could benefit greatly from having you I am sure

  27. Comment by Doug (Way Upstate NY) | 03.17.2016 | 11:06 am

    I agree with everything Jeff said EXCEPT the Assos thing. Part of me is smirking at the thought of Fatty working for Assos…….

    I could be their new ad director. – FC

  28. Comment by Doug (Way Upstate NY) | 03.17.2016 | 12:38 pm

    Fatty, Having you as the ad director would so fun. I picture those ads like an animated movie where there is one level for “kids”, and a deeper level for people who “get it”……

  29. Comment by Jacob | 03.17.2016 | 12:38 pm

    I discovered your blog 6 or 7 years ago and the blog is the inspiration that got me back to bike racing. (Yes, I was googling fat and cycling because I wanted to her back in shape). I still struggeling with the weight. But after 15 years of non-riding, I now do road races, cyclo-cross and track. So a big thank you and could er please have a “just donate” option to be able to give a little back.

  30. Comment by Doug (Way Upstate NY) | 03.17.2016 | 12:40 pm

    And one more thing Elden. I know this is stressful for you. But I also saw your level of “happiness” last year at Boggs. Life’s short. And sometimes it gives you a kick in the butt to help remind you to be true to yourself. My hope is that this presents an opportunity for you to do more of what would make you excited and satisfied. (And maybe you WILL get your chance to be a grown-up like the Noodle ;) )

  31. Comment by MichelleNZ | 03.17.2016 | 4:07 pm

    I have no contacts that can help, but as everyone else has said, someone is missing out big-time if they don’t pick up an award-winning blog writer and fundraiser, who is also probably pretty darn good at his daytime job. I say probably because I understand little of what you do for work, but if you bring even half the enthusiasm and skill to that as you do to this blog (which is done for love, not money), I reckon you do a pretty stellar job. As Doug and PNP say, try and enjoy this time. I look back on time I had between jobs and wish I had been able to relax a bit more and enjoy the creative freedom, rather than continuously worrying about the future. Something great always seems to turn up. Especially for a guy with the skills and contacts you do. Put another one down for an oldfashioned hard cover copy.

  32. Comment by Tom in Albany | 03.18.2016 | 6:28 am


    Some thoughts:
    1. One reason why I buy some of your recommended brands is that you are neutral testing. Increased GU sales aren’t on you. If you were to work there, people would, perhaps rightly/wrongly, question your motivations. That said, the creative/writing aspect of that kind of job seems like it is right up your alley.
    2. If you got a FT job, would ‘Fight Like Susan’ get pushed back? Not that you want to push it back but, there are 24 hrs in a day. You’ve got kids and a wife and hobbies you love. Maybe this was the only way the opportunity to write this book would come around and be able to throw yourself into it. That’s why I’d donate to the cause.
    3. I like books. I look at a computer all day. And my phone. And hear my kids complaining about wanting more screen time. Physical books make me happy.
    4. I think that your Fattycasts/Blogs/Updates of the riding should be your advertising budget. Gotta spend it to make it – so to speak.
    5. Did you accomplish what you needed to regarding your closeout sale of Fatty Gear?
    6. Don’t know what crowdfunding you’d use. I actually sponsor one cartoonist (Keith Knight – Dude’s hillarious!) via Patreon. I don’t give much but, it’s a subscription. So, $x gets charged to my paypal account each month until I tell it to stop. Maybe this is a better approach – the auto-deduction – and might net you more support than asking for one-time, larger contributions?
    7. I started reading your blog after Susan died. I read enough of it that I started reading backwards and googling different chapters of your life. I don’t know how to raise funds for something like this but, THIS book, assuming it still fits the intent you’d described in the past, could be an incredibly valuable tool for many.

    I wish you tailwinds on this ride, Fatty. I hope you turn in a podium finish!

  33. Comment by Tom in Albany | 03.18.2016 | 6:31 am

    d’oh! In #4, above: riding = writing.

  34. Comment by Joy | 03.22.2016 | 8:47 am

    I sent a feeler out for you at my employer. I hope you find the perfect fit for you, wherever that may be (although I selfishly wish I could claim you as a colleague!).

    Hang in there and go for a ride when it starts to get to you!


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