A Thank-you for “Govt Cheese: A Memoir”

Let me take a break from our Wilderness Passage posts to say a quick thank-you to everyone who ordered a signed copy of Govt Cheese: A Memoir. We’ve sent out twelve hundred so far, all packed by hand and trundled to the UPS store (actually a bunch of stores), in the VIP pack pictured below.

The VIP pack with a signed first edition

(We just got a fresh 250 in, all first editions, still available for order here.)

For all of us who are indie authors or are thinking of becoming one, this VIP pack is a really interesting idea.

I first saw one from my friend, the thriller writer Jack Carr. For his fourth book, Savage Son, Jack put together a gift box—not for promotion but just for friends who had helped him on his journey. He mailed about a hundred of them. The outside of the box was designed colorfully, with FIRST EDITION on the spine. Inside Jack put a bunch of fun-type premiums—a cocktail coaster, a refrigerator magnet, a note of thanks from him (there was even a little utility knife), and a few promotional items from his sponsors. And of course the first edition itself, signed.

I got one. It was a real giggle. I wound up doing a video “unboxing” on Instagram, as did many others who received the package.

I’m not sure how much this helped Jack’s sales, but it certainly didn’t hurt.

When we—my better half, Diana, and I—were considering how to bring out Govt Cheese so that it might get a little attention, we thought, “Let’s do a VIP pack. We won’t tell anyone it’s coming. It’ll be a surprise when it arrives via UPS.”

A VIP pack can be a big hit, particularly when the recipient doesn’t know it’s coming.

 We hoped to get a few unboxings ourselves.

 Two bottom lines from this:

One, if you’re an indie author like I am, consider doing this—if not on your next book (or album or announcement of any kind), then on the proper item when it comes up down the line. It’s not cheap and it’s a lot of work. But it’s fun. And it’s definitely appreciated by those who receive it, particularly if they don’t know it’s coming and are expecting only a box with a signed book inside.

And two, if you’d like a VIP pack of Govt Cheese yourself, we’ve still got 250 of them. Click here and we’ll get one out to you right away.

The VIP pack won’t be a surprise but, trust me, it’ll still be fun.

Thanks again to all who ordered!

P.S. Govt Cheese: A Memoir is my story of my own “wilderness passage”—in gory detail, all twenty-seven years of it.


Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

do the work book banner 1


A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.



Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.



Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"



  1. Newberry on April 19, 2023 at 1:39 am

    A book full of flavor of Tunnel Rush cheese. There is nothing better than this!

  2. Kelly Niven on April 19, 2023 at 1:55 am

    Just finished Govt Cheese and I love it, thank you. The part where you finished the final draft of The Legend of Bagger Vance made me cry.

    I have been a huge fan of The War of Art for years. The last couple of years in the wilderness so the recent email series has been helpful! I thought there was something wrong with me.

    Your memoir, your story is beautiful.


  3. Peter Brockwell on April 19, 2023 at 2:06 am

    Let me just set out my commitment – I live in the UK, so the postage cost more than Steve’s book. In total a non-trivial amount! But I was excited with the anticipation of gaining deeper insight into Steve’s journey and the Artist’s Journey. And I was not disappointed.

    But, to the brief point, Steve is spot on, that it was a fantastic to find this parcel looking so bespoke and unique, and containing a few unexpected and intriguing knick knacks. Unboxing was a thrilling “Oh my goodness, what the heck is this??” moment. Govt Cheese now sits alongside my Pugio from Steve & Diana and a bunch of Steve’s signed hardbacks, as one of my most cherished possessions, and if I could pre-order Steve’s next signed 1st edition right now, I would.

    Thank you Steve & Diana (and Jack), for this lovely presentation of a great book.

  4. Max Rijavec on April 19, 2023 at 2:16 am

    Thanks Steve, I got mine sent to a friend in the states and She post it to me in London. I will hardly claim my own Cat Sticker that was not in the box !!! If You wonder around this parts one day.

    Thanks again,

    • Steven Pressfield on April 19, 2023 at 10:29 am

      Sorry, Max. How could we have screwed up? My apologies. The cat sticker is a great one!

      I’ll bring one for you on my next trip across the pond!

  5. Claire T on April 19, 2023 at 2:23 am

    Mo dropped out of my log book last week, months after receiving the pack. A lovely surprise – made my day. He’s now on my fridge in Northumberland, UK. His memory lives on across the globe.

    About to order a couple more for some fellow budding writers who I know will appreciate it just as much as I did.

    • Anonymous on April 19, 2023 at 5:18 am

      So sad. No PayPal.

  6. edgar van asselt on April 19, 2023 at 2:42 am

    Hi Steve, congrats on your new book! As the previous reader, I’d like to order it, but the postal costs exceed the book that much, that I guess I have to wait until you come promote it in Europe. So…do you have plans for that? I would be fun, I assure you. It’s funny you bring up the subject, since I had exactly the same idea by sending you the full merch package of my last album. So I guess the same idea emerges in various places, that ‘s actually an interesting phenomenon….I am happy for you all goes well with your new book and will be curiously continue following you..all the best

  7. Roger Farley on April 19, 2023 at 2:52 am

    This is such an exciting idea. So many possibilities for this and I can’t wait to figure out some variations going forward. Really looking forward to seeing how you did it and plan to do an unboxing video to pay-it-forward.

  8. seth godin on April 19, 2023 at 3:28 am

    You continue to surprise and delight, sir. I love mine.

  9. Joe on April 19, 2023 at 3:29 am

    As with A Man at Arms, this boxed presentation of Govt Cheese made the book an event as much as a great read. And once in the book, I appreciated from the first page: “For Diana, who believed in this and willed it into being.” Thanks for what you bring into the world, Steve and Diana.

  10. Daniel J. Stutzman on April 19, 2023 at 3:29 am

    I loved the box and I loved the book. Thank you for taking the time to do it.

  11. Jackie on April 19, 2023 at 4:11 am

    You dared to bare your soul. You give us a community here. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Loved Govt Cheese, The War of Art, The Legend of Bagger Vance, A Man at Arms, so many more. You help us find our courage and give us encouragement. What a life led dedicated to art! Again, thank you.

  12. Larry Kopsa on April 19, 2023 at 4:20 am

    Just purchased the audio version. Can”t wait to listen.

  13. Jet on April 19, 2023 at 4:28 am

    And although at the time I didn’t record a video (I never seem to think of it!) I was also stunned, amazed, and thrilled to see what came, especially when I was gaga over simply receiving the signed edition to add to all of my other signed editions.
    A great idea for anyone to use to show thanks for support! One time I can honestly say I loved a surprise!

  14. Charlotte Seawell on April 19, 2023 at 4:43 am

    As an essayist and songwriter in my seventh decade, I often falter on the path, and perseverance has never been my middle name. But I have been constantly encouraged by your transparency and insight, and thus, picked up this book as I begin my new “first year” in the literal desert….Thank you!

  15. Heidi on April 19, 2023 at 6:26 am

    You had me at VIP goodies and I just ordered. Lived state of consciousness as described in war of art and now fantastically putting together my pages for my first book! Moving forward my mystical experiences and solutions as i sojourned thru my last 6 decades to now know that being a catalyst thru heart space is also being one with god and helps move people and narratives towards harmony . Thank you for adding value to my life.

  16. Edward D Hinman on April 19, 2023 at 7:14 am

    Great idea, Steve! I’m going to consider that when publishing my own book.

  17. Barbara Rosenberg on April 19, 2023 at 7:22 am

    Reading Gov Cheese as Ebook. Loving it! Thank you for your honesty and deep unflinching candor. I, like you, cannot help but persevere. What a comfort to hear about the peaks and valleys of your journey!

    Barbara Rosenberg

  18. Howard on April 19, 2023 at 7:28 am

    So of course I was quite surprised and laughed when the box arrived. The kitty is attached to the fridge and I smile every day when I see it as a reminder of your caring and compassion for special critters. Thank you for pouring your heart, authenticity, and guts into your writing. I very much appreciate being among the first 1,200 you gifted in such an unexpected way. I just finished The War of Art again yesterday. Why? Because I am creating a company to transform the treatment of PTSD for soldiers and first responders with A.I. which will reduce the current cost of treatment by 90% (My son back from the Marines is now a cop and is my inspiration for the hell he has endured.) Resistance has been kicking my butt the last few weeks and The War of Art gets me back on track through the frustration, failures, and all-is-lost moments to keep going. Thank you!

    • Skyman Magic on June 18, 2023 at 5:14 am

      Thanks for the information contained in this

  19. Brad Graft on April 19, 2023 at 8:47 am

    Sounds like a worthy mission, Howard. Semper Fi to you and your son… Through Steve’s non-fiction, you will have no better mentor… Don’t forget the others in his quality collection.

    And loved Govt Cheese. As Joe Jansen once wrote, “My favorite Pressfield book always seems to be the last one I read!” And I’ve read them all.

    Receiving that surprise package was like getting a Christmas present in spring. My magnets are on the fridge, too, Howard..

    • Joe on April 19, 2023 at 4:41 pm

      I got quoted. Schweet.

  20. Sam Luna on April 19, 2023 at 9:08 am

    Just want to add that as an indie author the hardest thing to get is reviews and star ratings from readers (on Amazon). I think the statistic is 10% of readers bother to star rate and 1% write an actual review. If you want to further support Coach’s memoir (besides buying the book of course) go to the Govt Cheese Amazon page and review it. It raises the book’s visibility in the mysterious and unknowable Bezos algorithm.

    • Brian Nelson on April 19, 2023 at 8:35 pm

      That is a great piece of advice. I rarely review books–and never thought about how much that can or cannot help an author. The irony? If I am unsure about a book, I read a bunch of reviews to help make the decision.

      I have tried that before when I bought the book on Audible and was unable to review. Do you know if I have to purchase the book from Amazon in order to review?

      Again, I will make it a habit to review much more frequently.

  21. Bonnie Lacy on April 19, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    I loved mine!! So well done and inspiring! The actual book was inspiring! Thank you!

  22. Mike Malatesta on April 19, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    The package was beautiful and I feel like it’s one of my most prized book possessions. As a CDL holder, a person who’s loved trucks since I was 4 years old and an entrepreneur who’s made my living largely with a fleet of VERY COOL trucks, the driver’s log book was a special, and unique addition (might not mean a lot to many, but it hit me in a special place – TY).

    I will definitely consider a package like this for my next book. I appreciate you Steven! Mike

    PS: If you’d be interested in being on an excellent – but not yet universally known – podcast (mine), it would be an honor to explore and share your story.

    • Maureen Anderson on April 19, 2023 at 6:05 pm

      My husband still notices my newfound reverence for truck drivers ever since I finished Steve’s book, Mike!

  23. Tolis Alexopoulos on April 20, 2023 at 12:22 pm

    Thank you very much from my side too, dear Steve

    Your great success in our beloved field made me a lucky person to be able to be around here, even though I’m now the last seen (read) of all, a tile cat wandering restlessly through the shadows. Govt Cheese is beautiful, as is every other book you and Diana create with love and adventure. When I opened the VIP pack I felt very happy but also the bonus gifts gave me a wonderful impression. Many of them were a unique surprise too, I felt unique.

    Let’s go – there is a long road ahead up to Mordor, the air is poisonous, and the darkness is unending. We have the One Ring, that is the Mind. Will we control it or will it control us to our despair?

  24. Kate Stanton on April 20, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    So grateful for mine!!

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  27. Kimnberly M Figueroa on May 4, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    Thank YOU for putting GOVT CHEESE into the world! I just received it this week. I loved the experience of opening the box, smelling, YES, smelling the pages, the little brown scrunchie packaging and feeling the smooth cover. OPening the envelope with the bookmark and knowing you actually wrote your name in the book. I love having MO as a “Desk companion” too. I am savorying every word and every page. Based on comments here, there’s a lot to look forward to.

    I work with college students and “sponsor” them for internship credits. One of my assignments is to read a book and reflect on it. JUST TODAY I opened a recent assignment and DO THE WORK was the student’s choice. I was so darn happy! He wants to be a writer. He’s on the right path for sure :D!

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