Up Theirs

by | Nov 28, 2012 | Archives

Christopher Kimball Publishes “Cook’s Illustrated” and can provide us with a valuable lesson.


Can Christopher Kimball say to mainstream publishing… “Up yours”?

Yesterday’s message looked at the growing cost of stress and desk rage.

One way to beat both is to write at home and self publish.


Writing at my Florida home. There is no Desk Rage here!  This is why Merri and I have loved to self publish for over 40 years.

The story of Christopher Kimball and Cook’s shows how profitable self publishing can be and why.

An October 2012 NY Times article entitled “Cooking Isn’t Creative, and It Isn’t Easy”  by Alex Halberstadt outlines Kimball’s success and how Kimball created his fortune by defying what mainstream publishing said “This cannot be done”.


A cover of Cook’s Illustrated.

The article begins:  Inside the renovated Le Bernardin in Midtown Manhattan, the pink flowers are as tall as dogwoods and the latticework walls give off a coppery, sci-fi sheen, and Christopher Kimball, the most influential home cook in America, prods a fork into an appetizer of Wagyu beef, langoustine and osetra caviar from China.

He pulls apart the cylinder and glances skeptically inside. “I’m happier eating at Di Fara,” he claims, meaning the slice parlor in an Orthodox Jewish section of Midwood, Brooklyn, that has been occasionally hounded by the city’s Health Department. “

“Just real pizza,” Kimball enthuses. “No duck sausage and crap.” It’s true that he appears out of place amid the restaurant’s boardroom-in-space décor; with his bow tie, suspenders and severely parted hair, Kimball looks like someone who might’ve sold homeowners’ insurance to Calvin Coolidge.

This NY Times article tells how Kimball began Cook’s Illustrated 19 years ago and continues to edit and publish every other month.

Then it explains how the magazine is “Timeless”.   Cooking in the United States has changed more in the last 25 years than in the preceding 50 ranging from  California nouvelle and Asian fusion, to the farm-to-table movement, Whole Foods and the gourmet supermarket, to convenience-store sushi.

Kimball has ignored all this new fancy stuff and focuses on preparing middlebrow American dishes at home with supermarket ingredients and omits everything glossy cooking magazines have come to be known for.

The article continues with a more interesting fact and says: There aren’t even ads.  From the start, readers latched onto Kimball’s strange magazine with crablike tenacity. Today, roughly three-quarters of subscribers renew, a rate that’s the envy of publishing.

In 2007, they signed up their one millionth subscriber, and over the years Kimball has supersized his idea into a franchise that includes 12 seasons of “America’s Test Kitchen,” the most-watched cooking show on public television; a second magazine, Cook’s Country (with its attendant show); reams of special issues and books; a battery of paid Web sites; a radio program; and even an online cooking school, and he has done it without discounting subscriptions or giving anything away or taking on a single advertiser.

One reason Kimball can say “Up Yours” to the establishment is that he understands his audience.

The article explains: At the core of C.I.’s M.O. are two intrepid observations Kimball has made about the innermost psychology of home cooks. Namely that they 1) are haunted by a fear of humiliation, and 2) will not follow a recipe to the letter, believing that slavishly following directions is an implicit admission that you cannot cook.

Success did not come automatically.  Kimball started a similar venture in the 1980s with seed money raised from his brother-in-law and a handful of investors. The venture folded in 1989.  It’s funny how much Merri just loves Cook’s and has been totally faithful to it from the beginning..she loves the look and feel of it and the beauty of the covers as well as the no nonsense articles.  She always has those around our kitchen in North Carolina…which lends a look of old fashioned food…just what I love also.

They key is Kimball did not give up nor lose belief in his purpose.

He tried again with a new venture (the magazine now) and the article says:  “When Chris called and said he was starting this black-and-white cooking magazine with no ads. This was a magazine-publishing model that was more common in Europe and based on subscription revenue instead of ads. His plan — if it panned out — would free him from not only the treadmill of ad sales but also the product placement and saccharine coverage advertisers expected.

Kimball then expanded from success to success as the article says:  His magazines and books have made him very rich — the company remains privately held, and while Kimball won’t disclose hard figures, he does admit, and not without pleasure, that annual revenues are well over $50 million.

Yet Kimball remains an introvert.  Like many self-invented people, Kimball is watchful and innately shy, and he relies on self-effacing jokes and bluster to mask an ever-present discomfort.

He remains willing to try new things and is not afraid to look bad.  Here is what the NYTimes says of his expansion into TV.   Watching the early episodes can be borderline painful. Everything about the first season looks as if a busload of graduate students in sociology occupied a TV station and decided to create programming.  “Those shows are pretty rough-looking,” he says. “I think what appealed to viewers was how real they were.”

This success has come because Kimball has focused on his reader, not the publishing industry.  Yet he also retains a unique freedom to enjoy the process.  The article outlines this and says: But we publish what our readers want, not what Christopher Kimball wants.

That, too, is the reason he offers for mostly shunning issues like nutrition, obesity and food politics. “I don’t think anyone picks up Cook’s Illustrated to be preached at,” he says (ignoring the rampant contradictions). He happens to have a point. According to reader surveys, the editorials — in which Kimball preaches on more existential subjects — remain C.I.’s least popular section. When I pressed him about the business logic of continuing to print them, he tried a few tenuous rationales, finally landing on, “This is my magazine, and I will print what I want.”

There you have it…. reduced stress… great income… the freedom to tell the establishment up yours…. by following a purpose and serving readers well.

Self publishing. There is nothing like it.


Back page of a Cook’s Illustrated.

Kimball is smart at the profit making level as well.  The magazine is in low cost to print black and white except for the first and last page….this is also in general a “no no” for magazines.


Inside back page of Cook’s Illustrated.

This allows the magazine to show the  recipes in each magazine in color but keeps printing costs at a minimum.

If you feel outraged at how the establishment is pressuring you… tell them or don’t tell them, just think…”Up Theirs”.  Follow you own purpose and start your own writing and self publishing now.


Seven P Secrets of Self Publishing

When you write, you can work anywhere. 


Here I am working poolside in the winter, at our Florida farm.

gary scott

Here I am with our hound Ma, working during the summer at our North Carolina farm.

Learn how to earn everywhere, while living anywhere you choose.  I have been able to earn by writing in Hong Kong, England, the Isle of Man, Dominican Republic and Ecuador to name a few of the places I have lived.   Anywhere I am,  I am  able to work.

All I need is my laptop.

That’s all you need too… a laptop to be free!

Before computers, a pencil and pad did the job.

Freedom is just one benefit you can gain from a laptop business.

Another benefit is income.   Writing has brought me both our farms in Florida and North carolina, free and clear… plus a lot more.

Another good example of earning potential is my friend Hugh Howey.   He was working for $10 an hour in a book store when he self published his novel Wool, typing in a storage room during his lunch breaks.

Soon he was earning over $100,000 a month on Amazon.com.  This helped secure a six-figure book deal from Simon & Schuster, and an option for film by Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner and Alien.

That’s what he’s doing now.

Hugh Howey

Hugh and I playing chess (he beats me badly).

Writers like Hugh are great inspirations.

A couple of years ago Hugh  left Florida, and moved to South Africa.  He had a sailing catamaran built for him and now can sail the world while he continues to write.

Hugh explained it like this: And that’s the miracle of working as a writer: I can do it from anywhere and everywhere. The past few years, I’ve done a lot of writing from airplanes and airports while on business trips abroad.  SAND was entirely written overseas while traveling through seven different countries; I think it’s a better story because of those inspirations.  In upcoming years, I may be writing near your home port.

Hugh’s a super star writer and his success could not happen to a more deserving and talented person.  He pours enormous energy into being worthy of his readership.  But you do not have to be a million dollar a year earner or a traveler to benefit from writing.

The good news is… you do not need a huge success to have a rich and fulfilled lifestyle.  Self Publishing can bring you a life that most people only dream of, as a journeyman writer, instead of a super star.

May I hastily add that the path to stardom begins as a journeyman… so the journeyman’s path brings success without stardom… but can also lead to stardom.

What most success stories like Hugh’s rarely explain is the many hours of writing that was devoted before their self published book sales soared.   Hugh, like most writers were journeymen first.  Stardom came later.

Here are sevens secrets that can help you become a journeyman writer. 

The secrets are a writer’s armory of tools that allows almost anyone to create successful publications for income, freedom and fulfillment.

Take Merri’s and my publishing business as an example.  

Merri and I are not writing stars.  We are journeymen who have for more than 40 years, year in and year out, earned solid income writing and self publishing dozens of publications about multiple subjects.

Some years that income has been more than solid… over a million dollars.  Yet in terms of stardom, we are hardly known.

In a moment you’ll see why that’s fine for us and probably will be for you too.

First some history.

Merri became involved in self publishing over 40 years ago… first helping a veterinarian publish a book on a very specific market… animal acupuncture. Then she showed a needle point artist how to sell more books to an even more specific audience… “needle point enthusiasts”  about her needle point work to an audience larger than the population of the city she lived in.  This led Merri to eventually become Executive Editor of an award winning magazine in Florida.

My story allowed Merri and me to work and live from Hong Kong to London to Europe to Eastern Europe, then the Caribbean and then Ecuador… making millions in the process of following our adventures… having fun… while helping a large readership adapt to a rapidly changing world.

That’s what self publishing can bring, profit, adventure and fulfillment, a great feeling of worth and wonder.

Self Publishing has created exactly the lifestyle we desire allowing us to span the world and work with meaning and purpose.

Self Publishing has become a new business art form. 

The seven secrets can help you start your own self publishing business now.

Everything in publishing is new and exciting and changing.  Publishing is being recreated by the wonderful power of destructive technology.

Everything is new… except the seven secrets. 

Change in the publishing industry is disturbing many.   We love this evolution due to these seven secrets we call the 7Ps.  The 7 Ps are so fundamental to writing and publishing that new technology enhances rather than reduces their power.

The First P is Passion.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it AND create income with self publishing.  This can be your direct ticket to the kind of fulfillment you’ve always wanted.

Whether you want to travel the world or live as a recluse, work 12 hours a day or not work much at all,  you can set your schedule to succeed, if you’re willing to learn these seven secrets.

You can start part-time with any dream, passion, and budget.  Once you’ve created a product, you’ll enjoy the “multiple effect” of producing profits over and over again.

So the question is… What do you love to do?

What’s Your Passion:  An example is that thirty years ago, a client of Merri’s had a passion to help people who were in pain?  He published a series of pamphlets explaining various chiropractic disorders in very simple terms.  For example: “What Is Whiplash?”

The pamphlets contained solid information, but were simple 5″ x 7″ brochures with drawings and explanations. He sold them with a rack to chiropractors, who put them in their offices for patients to read.  These little self-published items sold year in and year out for decades.

There are thousands of ideas of this sort that can lead to big business.  It’s just a matter of defining and then acting on your passion.

Although I can work when I please and go where I wish, for me the most important reason for being a publisher is the satisfaction it brings. 

I love the projects I take on, so work doesn’t feel like, well… work.

What do you love?  If you love golf, then you can write and sell publications about golf.  Love travel, fishing, dogs, dolls, or art?  Write and sell publications in these fields.

Are you concerned about crime, war, poverty or environmental issues?  You can publish information products that help reduce these concerns.

Would you like to help the world be a more spiritual place?  Publish a newsletter, write a book (or hire someone to write it for you), record a tape… publish something that enlightens people.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it and earn income by publishing for ereaders, print on demand, CDs, lists, bound books, or any format you choose.

Be immersed in your passion and get paid well for it. 

This is why stardom is not the main goal for most writers and self publishers.  Extra income, more freedom and fulfillment are usually more than enough enough.

The seven Ps are:

#1: Passion

#2: Problem

#3: Person

#4: Profitably Priced Product

#5: Prospecting Pathway

#6: Promise

#7: Presentation

The first time I exposed others to the secrets in Self Publishing was in a weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.  We offered the camp for $1,500. 80 delegates enrolled.  People from all walks of life attended—chiropractors, businessmen, investors, doctors, realtors, inventors, airline pilots, engineers, and housewives.

Merri and I were so overwhelmed by the response, we decided to make it available to a larger audience.  We created a written course based on our current self publishing activity called “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher.”  Then we recorded the weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.

Thousands have used the course as it has evolved over the decades.

Writing to sell is one of the most powerful forms of marketing  and marketing is what we do in every aspect of life… every day. 

The heart of all events requires marketing.  We market ourselves, our business, our thoughts ideas and beliefs all the time.  In business, marketing covers strategic planning, product design, packaging, distribution, advertising, public relations, promotions and sales.  Marketing is the process by which anything and everything, product, service, idea, person is introduced and promoted. Without marketing, you may be or have something great, but no one knows it.

All marketing begins with writing… whether, a speech, picture, video, movie, advertisement, announcement, banner,  jingle, song… the birth place is in the written word.

Why words are better than cash.

You can turn words into cash.  Mix in a little wisdom and deliver benefits.  The value of honest word’s never deflate.  A dollar, decades ago, was worth 15 greenbacks today… or more.   Useful, wise words, even hundreds of years aged… are often worth more now.

Take these 153 year old words: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Has time diminished the value of these words?

Sometimes Merri’s and my writing led us into incredible adventures.


Here I am with Merri and an Ecuadorian Yatchak deep in the Llanganatis Jungle creating a shamanic tour.


Yet during the pandemic we have been able to continue sitting away from the madding crowd in our cabin on Little Horse Creek and at our Florida farm.

There is a possibility that Merri and I know more about writing from home than 99.9% of the people in the world.  We have been at this for over 50 years now and thousands have taken our online correspondence course on how to create your own self publishing business.

A writing business not only creates unusual profit opportunity now… but can create income for a lifetime!

The course “Self Fulfilled” shows how Merri I and have created riches and a lifestyle beyond our wildest imagination and shares steps you can take to create a profitable and fun business.

This course shares how we have done this… what we did right… what we did wrong… how you can get started and what you can do much better than we have.

To help you start, I have created a special streamlined offer… our course on how to be a self publisher with all the frills removed at a 75% discount.

Self Fulfilled is normally $299.  Thousands have paid that price.  The streamlined course is only $79.

GUARANTEED. Even At This Low Price, We’ll Still Accept All the Risk!

We completely guarantee the program.

Order Self Publishing: Your Complete Business Plan for becoming a self publisher and take a full 30 days to put it through its paces. That way you can follow my simple process and start seeing the results for yourself.

If you’re not completely convinced that this information is so powerful that it can help you quickly develop income through writing to sell—all you have to do is let us know and  you’ll receive a complete refund of every penny of your investment.

Fair enough?

Our publishing business has brought us more wealth, satisfaction, fun and friendship than we ever imagined possible. And now we want to share our knowledge and secrets with anyone who has a desire to experience this way of life.

Whether you are an engineer, doctor, housewife, business owner, or retiree… self-publishing offers a way to make a six- or seven-figure income by turning your passion into profit.

Don’t miss this special opportunity.  Order Self Fulfilled How to be a Self Publisher today if you want to cash in on the satisfying, profitable and exciting lifestyle that publishing can bring despite and in fact because of trouble in the world.

Self Fulfilled Special $79 

Self Publishing 2021 discounted to $79 - using coupon code SELFPUB at checkout to immediately save $220 off the regular price of $299.


Gary Scott