Sail towards your own financial security

using this super-condensed option selling guide!

“Raise your sail one foot and you get ten feet of wind.”

-Chinese proverb

I’ve always liked this quote. It evokes the idea that a little bit of effort can be hugely rewarding. In other words, you gotta try in the first place before anything is going to happen. I’ve certainly found that to be true in life. I think options trading, the subject of this book, is a perfect example. A little effort and a little learning can go a long ways.

I like the quote from my perspective as a sailor as well. It’s true. Raising your sail even a small amount can make a significant difference in how the boat sails. It’s been said many times and many ways that life requires us to adjust our sails to suit the inevitable changes blowing in the wind. That ability, a very sailorly attribute, will take you to far horizons, some of which will surprise even you.

I’ve written this book with the hope that a little bit of learning about options and a little bit of ‘raising your sail’ will take you a long way in the financial direction you want to go.

About the author

Farmer, sailor, pharmacist, drummer, author, entomologist, perpetual student, Butch Evans has had his share of jobs, careers, and of life’s ups and downs. He has tried to make a living while maintaining as much freedom and choice of lifestyle as possible. (With varying degrees of success.) In the early part of life he walked away from one career to spend many years at university.  In the middle of life he managed to take a few years off to fix up an old sailboat and sail the Bahamas.  In recent years he retired with sufficient resources to weather just about any change in the wind. Learning to embrace a modest ‘enough is enough’ lifestyle and enjoying a couple of well-paying careers freed him of the yoke of constant employment, but that just wasn’t enough. It was the discovery of option selling as a source of cash flow, independent of the storms in life, that put true financial security within reach. After years of sharing what he had learned, and was still learning, with friends and acquaintances, he realized a book was in order.

About the book

This is not a get-rich-quick book or a secret that only I know.  Option selling is well documented and the knowledge herein is available for free on the internet. The problem is there is too much information. This is the minimalist version, a plan for someone who doesn’t want to devote years to learning options, someone who prefers not to sit in front of a computer all day. After over twenty years of option trading I have sharpened my method to this stripped-down as-simple-as-possible version and I hope to share it with you.

This book was originally written for a few friends, family, and acquaintances who showed an interest in how I was trading options. The target audience grew until it is now one with a diverse spectrum. From the 20-something just figuring out life and money to the 40-something who is trying to buy some freedom to the retired 60-something who needs a second cash flow to make retirement more enjoyable, I believe there is something here for everyone.

Frequently asked questions

What is this book about?

The book is a detailed explanation of how you can sell options for income using investments you may already own.  We sell options, we don’t buy them, and we do it with simple, stable and conservative strategies that generate an income while preserving our assets.

What’s this? $500 free?

Yes! I see that Schwab is once more giving away $100 to $500 to open an account, if you use this referral code:

I recommend Schwab ‘Street Smart Central’ in the book, for reasons outlined in the book.

I don’t know how long this will last.
I don’t get anything.
I won’t know if you open an account, that is all private information.

It’s just a marketing tool that Schwab uses and you are welcome to it.

How much do I need to start?

Start small by selling one put contract on a low-cost stock. An option contract require 100 shares of stock per contract, so for a $50 stock, $5000 is about the lowest that works. Remember, you’re not ‘risking’ this money, you are investing it in a security in the stock market that you choose. Get comfortable with trading then you can slowly increase your position.

Are you charging for this?

Nope. I wrote this book to help friends and acquaintances with their finances. If you would like in-depth support and/or training, there are many excellent sources of subscription services online. Check the ‘Resources’ section in the book.

How risky are options?

Consider what happens when you buy a house and rent it out.  You buy the house at market price and you are locked into that purchase price.  Now that you own the house, you have to ride out the ups and downs in the home’s value as real estate values fluctuate.  There’s nothing you can do about the purchase price or changes in real estate values.  Everyone considers this normal for rental property.  The upside is you collect rent every month, right?  That’s why you bought it in the first place, the rental income, as well as any potential future price appreciation.

Now think of your stock market investment as a house.  You buy an ETF fund and you are locked into that purchase price, and as with real estate, you are subject to the ups and downs of the market.  We accept that as part of being in both markets, real estate and the stock market.  As with the house, we hope for future price appreciation.  But other than possible dividends, your stock market investment is not generating any income.  When you begin to sell options on investments you own, you are now collecting rent.

You have assumed risk by buying the house.  Real estate could crash, a toxic waste dump could go in next door, whatever.  You have assumed some risk by owning that asset.  The risk in selling options is much like that of owning the house; the value may go up and down but you are not going to lose your stock market investments when you sell options anymore than you risk losing the house by renting it out.

Holding stock market investments and not selling options on them is like owning a rental house and letting it sit empty.

Why do you say "never buy options"?

When you buy an option you are making a bet that your stock will move in the direction (or stay inside a range) you want inside the time frame you’ve chosen.  If you are not correct on both counts, you lose cash.  When we sell an option the value of our holdings will move up and down with normal market fluctuations but we do not lose cash.  Buying options uses leverage and so can produce spectacular results, and some traders certainly make it work, but there is a lot of complexity, skill and luck required.  There are books available if that’s what you want to learn.  However, ‘Smooth Sailing with Options’ is not that.  It is my simple method of selling options for a steady income.

What about stock market drops?

The stock market never drops. It only fluctuates. Once you grasp that concept you are an investor. Those who try to time the market and who fret about it being ‘too high’ or ‘over bought’ or whatever jargon they come up with suffer from short-termism. Stock markets have oscillated since the first one began in the late 1400’s.  If you aren’t comfortable with that you should probably find a different way to invest.  For an options seller or a long-term investor, the market never drops.  It fluctuates.  Keep in mind: Options sellers profit from price volatility rather than just absolute price levels.

What did you think about the GameStop phenomena?

“Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”  Does no one remember Hertz stock in 2020?


Do you mean Bitcon? There is investing and there is speculating. Bitcoin is fine as long as you are aware you are speculating, not investing. Los Vegas casinos are also speculating, and are more fun.

What about taxes?

Calculating gains in a taxable account while options trading can get complicated.  So we only trade in tax-protected accounts like a roll-over IRA or a Roth.  In a tax-protected account you are only taxed when you make withdrawals.  That eliminates the entire problem.

Can I trade on the weekends?

No.  You can set up trades to look at possibilities, but never put in an order when the market is closed.  The stock market can change overnight and open higher or lower than expected and ruin your trade.

Do you answer questions?

Of course! There is an email link available. I can’t guarantee that I can answer your question but I’ll do my best.

Is that your boat?

No, but I did own and sail one much like it for a number of years. It really is that beautiful out there.

What readers say

I can’t recommend this book enough!  Everyone in America should buy a copy!  It’s so nice having a son who is an author. 🙂


“This book by Butch Evans is easy to follow and understand with the straightforward descriptions and analogies – not cluttered with special trading vernacular. Plus he has boiled down the basic how-to’s for what works for him. This is what I have been looking for – not fancy but effective and enough detail to give me confidence to get started.”

Kap W.

There is an enormous amount of useful information jam packed into this book in an easily readable format, understandable to even a novice in finance and investment. Using Butch’s method I’m now earning a nice return with a minimal expenditure of time. Fantastic!

Alauna P.

For a few years I knew “about” options but not how to get started. This book explains a streamlined strategy that takes minimal time with great rewards. Easy to read and apply. Start small and scale up as you gain confidence and see the results. Best investment of time ever!

Arlene A.

This book has the conservative options approach that I have been looking for. It provides the needed details without branching off into areas of investing that are of no interest to me. I have been writing covered calls and puts for income for about a year now and this book will be a useful guide to keep me on track and help me grow as an investor. Butch’s 20 years of investing experience laid out in this book will save me a lot of time and missteps.

Randy D.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Lewis CarrollPoetAcomp

This book is a great resource for anyone looking to increase their income and their free time by selling options.

Dr H

This is not exactly a “for dummies” kind of thing, but the author does a great job of condensing the material and presenting it in a way that really helps the reader develop a foundation of understanding the basic concepts involved in options trading. Also includes links to further reading that the author recommends. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the “art and skill” of options trading.


This book is great for beginners as well as experienced options traders. It is very well written without a lot of technicial language. I enjoyed the first read and keep it close at hand as a reference. I’ve been using this simple conservative method for a couple of years with great success. It allows me to make a little more on my stocks without a great deal of risk. Highly recommended!


Great place for newbies to start learning about options and generating an income from your retirement investment account.


This book is a great resource for understanding the basics in selling options. It is concise and to the point. He gives you the analogies of what has worked for him for over 20 years. It easy to follow and understand his ideas with trading! It is a conservative options approach that makes me more confidence in my daily trading.


Butch Evans is crystal clear from the start of his book that options trading is not for everyone and, like any form of investing, there are risks. That said, he lays out the simplest possible explanation for what options trading is, how to do it, and, maybe more importantly, how not to do it. Evans does a masterful job of presenting complex information in the most comprehensive way. With Smooth Sailing, you WILL learn how to do options trading. It’s a terrific book.


I knew about selling options but wanted a clear, easy and consistent approach to follow to make it successful for me. This book is the best summary of what to do and why. I liked the author’s message about not getting rich quick — but offering a solid system for increasing income and building wealth over time. Don’t waste time with overly complicated books and teachers — those are for people who want to sit at a computer all day and not live a life. The updated version is even more clear and useful.


This book has everything you need to start your journey towards financial freedom. It is written to be simple, easy to follow and short enough that even people who never generally pick up a book should be able to get through it painlessly. To top it off, Butch encourages people to reach out to him with any questions and for advice. I’m so thankful he took the time to write this and share his experience with us so that we can grow our money that much faster, and overall safer, than just leaving it in a diversified portfolio.


This book gave me insight into option trading that a lot of other books did not deliver. This one made it simple and made real-life comparisons and analogies that made the dots connect for me. No, it’s not a book on sailing but just read the cover before you buy a book. lol


Well written and easy to understand, the information provided helped me have the confidence to finally place safe and effective trades for reliable income and account appreciation. I worry far less about the ups and downs of the market and the fate of my retirement account. What a relief!

Barry H.

This book is a great resource for understanding the basics in selling options. It is concise and to the point.
He gives you the analogies of what has worked for him for over 20 years. It easy to follow and understand his ideas with trading! It is a conservative options approach that makes me more confidence in my daily trading.

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