Since I wrote the original post about the philosophy of Giving Away Your Book, I’ve continued to study the world of free content. It’s really fascinating.
Here are a few additional things I’ve learned:
1. Giving away free books for a short time is a good way to create a sense of urgency and excitement.
Bob Younce of Writing Journey wrote a 30 page report on the e-lancer service known as Helium. Bob’s original posts on his Helium experiment inspired me to write my first Helium article.
Bob followed up on his experiment by writing this monster post about Helium, that turned into a paper, that will eventually be a for pay e-book. He’s using Twitter and his blog to generate interest in the free work before switching it over to a fee-based e-book.
2. A long series of posts might lead to a successful book, if you have an audience.
Like Bob, Dustin Wax over at Writing Technology has laid out the basics on e-books in a five part series. If he keeps cranking on the series, he will eventually have an e-book. This is the same story repeated on sites all over the net, but Dustin is also building an audience by putting up his posts. When it comes time to move the book, he’ll have a built-in market.
3. Dandelions keep coming back no matter how much we spray them with poison.
Cory Doctorow gives a compelling argument for giving away your work by asking writers to think like dandelions.
Dandelions and artists have a lot in common in the age of the Internet. This is, of course, the age of unlimited, zero-marginal-cost copying. If you blow your works into the net like a dandelion clock on the breeze, the net itself will take care of the copying costs. Your fans will paste-bomb your works into their mailing list, making 60,000 copies so fast and so cheaply that figuring out how much it cost in aggregate to make all those copies would be orders of magnitude more expensive than the copies themselves.
4. Fiction works too.
Tor.com’s sneak peek is perhaps one of the greatest fiction giveaways from a major publisher ever, but not only are they giving away great books they are also keeping fans in the loop on the upcoming launch of their new site. I have diligently downloaded each new book and of the lot, I’ve gone on to purchase four books that I would never have taken off the shelf.
Ok, they might come off the shelf but probably wouldn’t take them to the counter.
It isn’t that these are poor books. In fact, I’ve enjoyed them all. The thing is that by trying the PDF books at my leisure I connected with new authors. This is what turned me from browser to buyer.
5. I’m still not sure if writers are making money, or if that even matters.
But I do know that the second half of that statement is probably the important part…
If you have a large audience, you should be able to push your book. It’s a simple numbers game at that point, assuming that you’ve written something you audience wants. However, what about the little guy? There are such varying stories on this one, I’m going to leave the topic open and try to get more information.
Comments are certainly welcome! 🙂