An Opportunity to Say Thanks (the Writing of a #1 Amazon Best Seller)

One week ago, our book, Simplify, debuted on Amazon for the Kindle. By the end of the day, it had become the #1 Best Selling Self-Help book on Amazon – not just the #1 digital download, but the actual #1 book (hardcover, paperback, or digital). Interestingly enough, it had also become the #1 Best Selling book in the Spirituality Category as well.

For the past 8 days, it hasn’t moved from that top spot. For over one week, it has been the Best Selling Self-Help book on Amazon… beating out some pretty well-known authors in the process. At one point, it was even the #11 Best Selling Nonfiction download on Amazon outselling books by Darrell Hammond, Chris Mathews, Regis Philbin, and Bill Clinton.

Last night, I was reading with my son in our living room. (Coincidentally, he just so happened to be reading the #1 Best Selling Book on all of Amazon at the time: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever). When my wife returned home, in her hand was a copy of the most recent Green Living Magazine sporting a large picture of Dr. Andrew Weil on the cover. My 9-year old son turned to me and said, “Look dad, it’s a picture of the guy who is in second place on that book list you keep looking up.” He was correct: I do keep looking up the list.

But more significantly, Dr. Weil’s book, Spontaneous Happiness, has indeed been second place in the Self-Help category most of the past week. At that point, my son turned to me again with a puzzled look on his face and asked, “How come you’re in first place if he’s famous and gets to be on magazine covers and stuff?” I replied, “That’s a great question. To be honest, I have no idea. I’m not really sure how all of this has happened. I think I’m just getting kinda lucky. Oh, and I have some really great friends online who have helped me get here.”

And that’s the truth. This book’s success has little to do with me. I had no business plan or marketing strategy. I have a book that strikes a chord with people and gives them permission to get off the life-draining treadmill of consumerism. I have a blog with a few thousand subscribers. I have some good friends online willing to help me. And that has proven to be enough.

As I began to reflect on that fact and the overwhelming nature of this past week, it seemed that now would be an appropriate time to thank some of those people who have made this book’s success possible…

So, starting from the very beginning, a heart-felt thank you to the men and women who have contributed to a #1 Amazon Best-Seller:

___Thanks to June – my neighbor in Vermont who first introduced me to the idea of minimalism over Memorial Day weekend, 2008. Thanks also to her daughter who was living out a minimalist life and modeling it for her.

___Thanks to Leo Babauta who wrote the first article that I read online about the lifestyle. Its first paragraph alone was enough to sell me on the importance of the journey for my life.

___Thanks to Josh Griffin who originally introduced me to WordPress. It was also his blog that shaped much of my blogging strategy in the early days of writing.

___Thanks to the early commenters on this blog who gave me reassurance that this was a story worth sharing and encouraged me along in the journey.

___Thanks to Mandi Ehman who invited me to my first guest post opportunity – that invitation continued to shape my hope that this story may indeed inspire others outside my immediate relationships.

___Thanks to Everett Bogue for writing the ebook that inspired me to write Simplify. I learned most of my second-generation blogging strategy by watching him. He was also the one that inspired me to join Twitter – which has subsequently led to countless online relationships with fellow bloggers.

___Thanks to my wife and children for allowing their dad to spend his evenings and days off completing the book. Thanks to Martha B. and Jana B. for slowly and meticulously editing the first drafts of the book. Also, thanks to Nick K. in Omaha, NE for launching my speaking career shortly after the book’s launch.

___Thanks to the early affiliates/reviews/interviews associated with Simplify’s first launch. Some of the interviews that still stick out to me include: Naomi Seldin RamirezJonathan Blundell, and Tanna Clark.

___Again, thanks to Leo Babauta who invited me to write a guest post for his blog, Zen Habits. Writing for the #1 Blog in the World (as determined by Time Magazine) brought increased traffic, notoriety, and confidence. Also, his positive review of Simplify brought countless more traffic to Becoming Minimalist.

___Thanks to Karol Gajda who re-introduced me to the idea of publishing Simplify on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

___Thanks to Courtney Carver for introducing me to Chris O’ Byrne who would eventually reformat Simplify for the Kindle. He was a pleasure to work with throughout the entire process walking me through each step. His high esteem was cemented in my mind when late in the reformatting process, I apologetically asked him to make a last-minute change. His response: “Don’t apologize. This is your book. I want it to be exactly the way you want it to be.” Golden.

___Thanks to Deb at Red Willow Design Studio for the beautiful new cover art.

The book launched. I wrote a post to notify my readers. And then I waited…

___Over the course of the next 24-48 hours, countless online friends began spreading the word. The book was soon tweeted on Twitter, shared on Facebook, and +1’d on Google Plus. I have countless (even unknown) people to thank for spreading the word so extensively that this book would immediately climb the charts in the manner that it did. Some of the people that immediately come to mind include Joshua MilburnAdam BakerCorbett BarrChris GuillebeauDave BrunoColin WrightAmy BowmanColin RyanTammy StrobelLaura WittmannFrancine Jay, and Corey Allen. Needless to say, there are far more that need to be thanked… you know who you are. Thank you.

___But most of all, thank you to the readers of Becoming Minimalist. Thank you for purchasing the book, supporting the work, and spreading the word. You are among the most faithful, encouraging readers on the Internet today. I know it to be true – and so do other bloggers. Know that you mean far more to me than mere statistics.

You encourage me, challenge me, and motivate me as a writer and as a person. Thank you for changing me and shaping my life. You’ve made this ride far more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined.


Through Sunday, November 20, Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter their Home and Life will remain priced at $0.99 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. You can support the work by buying the book, leaving a review, or spreading the word. On Monday, the price of the book will increase to $2.99. Additionally, our second-book, Inside-Out Simplicity, is also available for only $0.99 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords through this weekend. So download your copy today. And thank you in advance.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    Thanks to YOU who made this affordable with a low price tag. It was hard for me to pass up this deal but not so hard to pass along the deal to friends and family! As a family of 8, our family size is not minimal but our lives as consumers can be! We want to live more by owning less and Simplify will continue to inspire me towards that goal. Thanks again!

  2. says

    As I told you Joshua, big congratulations and kudos, even if you never intended your book(s) to climb charts.

    I’m excited both for you and myself, because you’re the perfect example of how the gatekeepers don’t matter (as much) anymore.

    Many variables need to fall in place for success, but it becomes inevitable if you keep going, as you have.


  3. Sheila says

    Very nice post. And thank YOU for writing such a great, simple book–and selling it for .99 cents so it was very easily accessible.

  4. says

    I am a big believer in kindness– hence my just completed 46 Birthday Random Acts of Kindness this week. This post made me smile. I think I enjoyed the thanks you gave as much as I will enjoy the book.. and yes, I bought it! Keep up the great work for those of us who are attempting to move to this kind of lifestyle!

  5. says

    Love reading about your success. It is simply inspiring.

    I sold or gave away most of my things over 7 months ago and moved to Hawaii. It has been so freeing and my continuation of living simply only gets better and better. I got a copy of your book as I started the process, but even as one who has so to speak “done it”, I’m moved to read your book again. I find more “things” creeping into my new home and now is the time to keep the practice strong!

    On another note, Courtney Carver also sent me to Chris O’Byrne for the publishing of my e-book 5K Training Guide | Running with Dogs. He was wonderful and again, this post inspired me to promote my book and keep moving forward with my dreams.

    Aloha Wags!

  6. says

    First of all, I love love love your books and they DESERVE to have the success !!! Secondly, I love this post. Acknowledging those who have given us a hand up along the way is terrific. Long may you write :)

  7. says

    Well done Joshua – inspiring and encouraging stuff.

    I think it also illustrates the appetite in the wider world to change our way of life, and transition to something simpler and more connected. Our current way of life has not only not made us happy, but it’s destroying the planet.

    Keep writing – the world needs more voices like yours :)

  8. DebbieRN says

    When I see people running outside, it makes me happy.
    When I hear of successful entrepreneurs in this economy, it makes me happy.
    When I realize that I have all the things I need and that I work to add value to people’s lives, I am relieved, happy and enthused. These are results from adopting rational minimalism. Congratulations on your family’s success, Joshua!

  9. says

    Congrats Joshua! Wonderful to see such great support. But in the end, they’re so eager to spread the word because it’s a great word to spread! Best wishes for continued success!

  10. says

    I have just recently started living more minimally and really enjoyed reading Simplify. Thanks for opening my eyes to the more important things in life! God bless and hope you continue to have great success.


  11. says

    Congratulations!!! This is much deserved. Thank you so much for sharing your journey on your blog and your experience in these books. I bought both books for my kindle. I devoured Simplify in one day (mostly while my two year old was napping) and loved it and am now just starting with Inside Out Simplicity. This one is, as you mention in your intro, a book to be read more slowly and thoughtfully. Again, thank you. I am new to this journey of simplifying my life and am so excited to be here but also have the unexpected benefit of finding so many other people on it as well who are sharing their stories and keeping me moving and inspired. I feel like the fact that you are at the top of all these best selling lists is also a testament to where we are headed as a society and that makes me even more excited and happy. Again, thank you for sharing your journey and experience.

  12. Loren says

    Just finished the book. Accepted the invitation and my husband and I started today. So far so good. We knew we always wanted this but the book gave us that push we needed. We have a baby so her stuff we need to keep,we would like to have another baby someday, but we are donating a lot of stuff so we can neatly store the baby stuff. We are inspired and excited. Keep you posted.

  13. says

    I have the book on kindle and I love it. Thank you for your inspiration. You would not believe how many boxes of stuff I have removed from my home already! I feel happier, lighter, and free to just pass this stuff on with no guilt of money lost and time wasted. I can see joy, life, time, and peace coming in with every box that goes out!!! So THANK YOU! I am not at all surprised that this book is a best seller. Congrats

  14. Sarah T. says

    I’ll add my voice in the “thank you” chorus! Minimalism is attractive, but not to the extent some take it. I have 4 kids ages 5 and under, so the idea of “rational minimalism” speaks to my heart. I bought the book, read it, and now intend to start slowly: What are our priorities as a family? How will our home reflect those values? Then evaluate each item based on new criteria. I’ve been on a purging spree for months now, and there is a lot less stuff around- and yet the more empty space I see, the more I desire. It has me reevaluating all our furniture- the purpose of each piece, the amount, the location. But I don’t want to go about this haphazardly. My goal in life is to live intentionally, and I want to be intentional in my minimalistic endeavor rather than as a reaction.

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