9 Ways to “Steal Like an Artist” to boost your self-publishing business

Greg Lim
4 min readMar 28


One of my favorite impactful short books I’ve read is “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest that you steal anything. “Steal Like an Artist” can be a little bit shocking because the word “steal” sounds like something negative and illegal.

However, in this context, the author is using the word “steal” in a different way. He is suggesting that instead of copying someone’s work outright, artists should learn from others, take inspiration from various sources, and incorporate those influences in their own unique creations.

It’s about being inspired by somebody else’s work and remixing their ideas to make something new, rather than stealing in the traditional sense.

Don’t ever copy outright; it’s wrong, and it’s not what the book is about.

Here are 9 lessons I got from “Steal Like an Artist” and how they can apply to self-publishers:

1. Steal Like an Artist:

The first chapter is all about getting inspired by other people’s work. As a self-publisher, you can learn a lot from other creators in your niche. Take a look at what’s already out there, see what works and what doesn’t, and use it to inspire your own creations.

I often look at the top three courses and books of a topic I’m about to write.

Eg. If I were to write a book about Notion API, I would be sure to watch the above videos

2. Don’t Wait Until You Are Ready. Just Start.

Don’t wait until you feel ready to start publishing. Just start; you’ll figure things out as you go, and your work will only improve with time and practice.

I don’t have a Computer Science Masters or PhD. But that didn’t stop me from publishing best selling coding books.

3. Write the Book You Want to Read

If you’re going to spend time creating something, it might as well be something you’re passionate about. Write the kind of book that you yourself would love to read. This way, you’ll be more motivated to put in the effort to make it great.

4. Use Your Hands

As a self-publisher, you’ll likely be doing a lot of the work yourself, from designing the cover to formatting the interior pages. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and learn new skills along the way.

5. Side Projects and Hobbies are Important

Sometimes, taking a break from your main project and working on something else can help you recharge and come back with fresh ideas.

My favorite is taking walks and jogs in the park.

6. Do Good Work and Share It with People

If you want people to find your books and buy them, you need to put in the effort to make them high-quality products. Once you’ve done that, make sure to share them with the world through social media, email lists, and other marketing channels.

My Twitter Profile

7. Geography is No Longer Our Master

Thanks to the internet, you can publish and sell your books from anywhere in the world. Don’t let your location hold you back from pursuing your dreams.

Book orders from various countries

8. Be Nice

The world is a small town. Treat others with kindness and respect, whether they’re your customers, fellow creators, or anybody else in your community. You never know when a positive interaction could lead to a new opportunity.

Andres from my first cohort just released his own book!

9. Lean Writing

Sometimes, less is more when it comes to designing your books. Focus on what is essential and cut out the rest. This way, you can create a product that’s simple, elegant, and effective.

I write all my books in simple MS-Word. I don’t have fancy interior formatting. I prefer to focus on content.

I hope that these 9 lessons have inspired you to create your book.

If you want to create books and don’t know where to start, check out my course that walks you through the steps and helps you create your first and publish it on Amazon KDP — and there’s even a money back guarantee! You’ve got nothing to lose.

Give it a try; you never know, this might be your first step to creating a passive income stream.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you again in my next article.



Greg Lim