Francis Tapon – Hike Your Own Hike

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America (Wanderlearn). It’s part self-help, part travelogue. It’s about what hiking the Appalachian Trail can teach you about everyday life.

Tell us something about yourself.

My mom is from Chile, my dad is from France, and I was born in San Francisco. I worked in Silicon Valley, have a degree in Religion from Amherst College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. I’ve been writing since 2001, when I hiked the Appalachian Trail.

What inspired you to write this book?

Walking from Maine to Georgia on the Appalachian Trail.

How did you choose the title?

It’s based on a common saying on the Appalachian Trail. It means, “Go ahead and consider what other people think, but in the end, hike the way you like to hike and don’t try to make others hike the way you hike.” It’s a good philosophy for life.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

My brother was published with Dutton and I saw how little they did for him. So although I sent out some proposals, I was planning to self-publish unless a publisher made me an offer I couldn’t refuse (nobody did). I have a business and marketing background, so setting up a publishing company to publish my book felt natural. It’s just work and requires some capital.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I asked myself: what if I had a billion dollars? What would I do? My answer: travel and write. So I started right away.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Yes, lots of bad ones. I hate leaving a paragraph until it’s near perfect–a terrible habit.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Everything takes twice as long as you think. The publishing industry is retarded.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

Not waste time with agents/publishers.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I prefer non-fiction. I love Bill Bryson because he’s witty.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

It’s called The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us. It’s about my three years of travel in 25 Eastern European countries. I share what they taught me and what they do better than Westerners.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Self-publish using ePub and print-on-demand (POD). A traditional publishers will force you to do marketing anyway, so you might as well keep more of the profits.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

People who are curious about traveling and want to improve themselves.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Go to