Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kickstarter... and the value of networks

This ties in with some stuff I've been thinking about ebooks.

An amazing story -- in 30 days, Craig Mod raised $24,000 to republish Art Space Tokyo.

How did he do it? The short version -- he used crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Clearly, there's more to it, and there's an excellent guide to exactly what went down here.

The other thing I think about a lot is Canadian sf writer Cory Doctorow's technique of giving his books away for free.

"My intuition was two-fold. First of all, that it was likely that giving away books would sell books, giving away electronic books would sell print books, that just seemed really clear to me that for most people ebooks were not a substitute, they were a complementary good."

I love the idea. I love the idea of being unencumbered by the process that we're told we need to go through to publish and sell books. Theoretically, you could use Kickstarter to build enough seed capital to start your own publishing house, and then use Doctorow's strategy to ensure a lively market for those books.

My enthusiasm is tempered by the knowledge that many agents and publishers think that most manuscripts submitted to them just aren't ready for publication. This is the key flaw with self-publishing. Yeah, you can get your book out there. But should it be out there yet?

The second thing is that famous quote from Tim O'Reilly that for most writers, obscurity is a bigger problem than piracy.

Without a 'name', you can post stuff for free on the internet every day, but are your chances of breaking through any greater than jumping through the hoops of traditional publishing?

I'm sure there are many great books that haven't been published, but even if those books had been published for free on the internet, would any of them have been 'discovered'?

What do you think? Leave a comment, or tweet me.


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