Publishing Timeline

Hey there, I'm Robin Harford, a bestselling author with over twenty-five years of experience as a self-publisher.

The Minimalist Publisher is a masterclass for how-to authors who want to wrestle control back from Amazon and build a simple profitable book business selling directly to their audience.


I sold my first self-published print book in 1993 and my first e-book in 2000 under a pseudonym. It was all cloak and daggers.

In 2008 I started my second publishing company, which I still run today. I don’t use pseudonyms anymore.

Below is a timeline of what I have done.

Important Notice

When I started self-publishing, I was in my twenties. I was also a bit of a rabble-rouser and liked to goad the authorities. It shows in the subject matter of what I wrote and published in those early days. Try not to judge me or the content.

It’s the context that is important.

Back then, I was a young man, and some young men screw up. I did. Learn from my mistakes.



I’ll be talking in this newsletter about whether authors need to start blogging and the pros and cons of doing so.

2022: Sell Direct

In May 2022, a new print-on-demand start-up went live, allowing me to print full-colour paperbacks at a very low cost compared to what had been available.

The quality is superb, and the company is disrupting the industry in a way that benefits authors everywhere. Here are my current titles.

2019: Oak Notebook

My previous book had done well on Amazon, so I thought, why not publish another one?

2019: Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants

I’ve always sold my books direct to my audience. Then one day, I decided to see what all the commotion was about Amazon’s KDP platform. As you can see from the ratings, this title did well for what was just an experiment.

2015: Eatweeds Cookbook

I took some of my recipes on my website, added a few more and turned it all into a cookbook.

2008 : Eatweeds

I started blogging about wild foods.

2005 to 2008: A.W.O.L.

I burned out, became ill and quit. As part of my recovery, I disappeared and went to walk the highways and byways of the British Isles.

2005: Directory Profits

I published an online video course teaching people how I had successfully published my Underground Directory e-book.

2005: Street Fighting Secrets

This one made me some decent coins, but the hassle of working with a borderline psychopathic readership meant I walked away from it. The grief wasn’t worth it.

2004: Golden Mailbox

This is another one of the titles I bought the publishing rights to from Stuart Goldsmith (see below).

2003: Cashocean

Launched an affiliate reseller programme to help sell more of my e-books. At its peak, I had over 3000 affiliates selling for me.

2003: Inner Circle

Stuart Goldsmith from Medina Ltd was one of Britain’s most successful direct response publishers. I did a successful joint venture with him promoting his Inner Circle correspondence course to my list. Eventually, he retired and sold the publishing rights. I snapped them up in an instant.

2003: Double Your Way to a Million

Back before Reader Magnets were a thing, I was coached by Jonathan Mizel, who popularised the Squeeze Page. Also known as a Lead Magnet, aka Reader Magnet. I published a creative thinking game for aspiring entrepreneurs. For all intent and purpose, this Squeeze Page is a Reader Magnet from circa 2003!

2001: All Change

The 911 terrorist attacks prompted me to change direction. I got out of the underground, privacy and survivalist genres.

2001: Travel Ghost Report

A former close protection officer ghostwrote this report for me.

2000: Secret Offshore Banking

Back then, you could write and publish what you liked.

2000: Dangerous Books

I converted my Underground Directory to a PDF e-book and took it internationally, thanks to the internet. Don’t judge me. I was young.

1999: Holisticworld

Launched an alternative health search engine modelled on the old Yahoo directory. It got over 15,000 unique visitors a month. I bought PPC traffic on the now-defunct GoTo (which became Overture) search engine.

1995: I quit my day job and became a full-time author and publisher

1993: The International Underground Directory

This was the first serious publication that I sold via direct response advertising in the back of magazines like Exchange and Mart, Viz, GQ, Loaded, FHM, Stuff etc. as well as by direct mail.