Thinking Outside the Book-Shaped Box

I sure hope Twitter is still around in the 25th century. What an amazing tool for discovering gems on the Internet you couldn’t hope to stumble onto otherwise (sorry, stumbleupon). I received a tweet from Nadene Carter, a lifetime book-lover that now runs a small publishing house. Checking out her blog, I see a recent post on how to help your publisher market your book in the 21st century (It’s so jarring when I write the current date after spending so much time researching Molly).

Here’s the blog entry.

Out of the seven wonderful bits of advice Nadene offers, I reckon I’m batting around .500. Well, I’m pretending to bat .500. I don’t have a publisher yet (but, hey… I’ve only been looking for three days!)

What the entry really got me thinking about was the potential for publishing via New Media and outside the traditional trajectory. See? I’m already thinking more like Molly. Using creativity and positive-thinking to try a different approach.

Here’s what I was thinking: First, the books come out in a serial format, instead of one giant chunk. Each section would be around 30 pages (10K words) and have a basic beginning and end with a little hook to keep the reader enticed. At the end of ten sections, you have a completed work (and it just so happens, my first two books have this precise format).

You give the first section away on the Internet via your blog, scribd, etc. After that, each section is a mere $0.99. Half a cup of coffee. Two sticks of gum. One third a comicbook. The sections are released on your website with PayPal, cc, etc. and on the Kindle (their lowest price option is $0.99).

After 10 sections are released, you give away the epilogue (which hooks them for the next book) and they only have to wait another month to continue the journey! Meanwhile, that first book is bound and printed and sold via traditional means, on your website, at book conferences, in brick-and-mortar stores (if your book catches on enough) and to loyal fans that want a hard copy.

The constant micro-transactions replace traditional royalties. You stay connected with your reader year-round. It’s all about developing an excited fanbase that spreads the word. And at these prices, the entry can be an impulse-buy, not an agonizing internal debate.

I don’t know if all stories are perfectly suited to this sort of scheme, but Molly’s sure is. Look at the wonderful changes she’s already inspired in me! I was never this creative before I started studying her life.

10 responses to “Thinking Outside the Book-Shaped Box”

  1. Holy crap, Hugh!!! You were clairvoyant!

  2. Holy crap, you’re right! I’d forgotten about this post.

  3. […] I just had a reader point out an ancient blog post of mine, and boy, does it make for some interesting read in light of the success of WOOL. A snippet: […]

  4. Holy crap, that’s good stuff right there I tell ya.

  5. I like Hugh’s comment after the blog post that “it would be a text-based comic.” That description really resonates with me, especially in consideration of Wool. Now, however, the choice for authors like me is whether or not to go back and re-release our “dense tomes” in a serialized format. I think it is a terrific model for e-publishing and I will probably go that route with my next book.

  6. A fascinating strategy and it obviously worked.

  7. Holy crap, this was a while ago. Hugh was almost an infant at this time.

    1. Holy crap. We’ve looked back in time to know what to do tomorrow. You’re better than Doctor Who, Hugh.

      Holy crap….Who Hugh….say that several times fast.

  8. I had a dream about this before Kindle and suchlike, except I was going to print the stories onto … what’s that stuff called? Oh yeah, paper. I had researched micropayments, and even planned to use text messages to collect the micropayments.

    I should really make this happen.

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