Thursday, July 15, 2010

Experiment Time!


As some of you may know, I've been doing some studying of alternative business models for fiction authors. One of things I hear and read all the time on author resources sites is how hard it is to break into a publishing deal. So, here's what I'm going to do for a new book I'm putting the finishing touches on.

1. I am going to release an original work, entitled "Midwasteland", in the Scribd marketplace. It will be released chapter by chapter, starting obviously with the first.

2. Each chapter is going to have a monetary goal to reach. For instance, I plan on starting low with the first chapter, something around $100 for a goal (the chapters will probably sell for either $.50 or $.99). As soon as each chapter reaches its goal, I will release the next chapter (I've scheduled this out so to make sure that, barring injury or death, I can do this immediately to properly serve my customers/readers). This way, I can both monetize my work (assuming people like it enough to tell others it's worth the purchase!) as well as gauge the interest level and saleability of a hardcover version that will be released at the conclusion of this experiment.

3. Without going into too much detail, I will be adding value to those people/Scribd accounts that buy all the chapters (I promise that there won't be more than 20 chapters and likely a few less). I am looking for help with ideas for extras, but I've listed a few below:

a. Signed copies of the hardcover book when it is released
b. Reduced price of the hardcover book when it is released
c. Review of your writing and/or synopsis for other writers
d. 1 Custom short story for anyone that buys all the chapters (Great as a unique gift!)

Now, as this is the first such experiment I'll be trying, I'm eagerly looking for feedback. Tell me what you think will work, what you think I'm doing wrong, why I'm an idiot, who else has done this better, why I'll fail, why I'll succeed, how good looking I am, how you want to name your children after me, and anything else that enters your brain upon hearing about this.

This is a big deal. Anyone who bothers to read my work is extremely important to me. I'm telling you upfront that I want to make money off of my writing, not because I want you to feel bad or feel guilty if you read my work elsewhere, but because I WANT TO WRITE MORE FICTION FOR YOU! You're my customer, my muse, my greatest asset.

So tell me what you think!


yogi said...

I'm not sure I get it - does this mean we'll have to wait for each chapter? If so, that sucks.

I'd much rather just buy the book or donate when it is finished because I am not that patient.

That said, I think it's great that you have started experimenting and I 'm sure you'll find things that work for you.

I also don't think that you need a book deal. Spruce up your site (use blogger in draft - in 2 hours you'll have a beautiful and unique site) and spread the word - and link any way you can (I'll post a link on my site too, when you clean up the place)and you'll be fine.

Oh, and put a donation button - give people as many options as possible to show their appreciation.

Good luck!!

Tim Geigner said...

"I'm not sure I get it - does this mean we'll have to wait for each chapter? If so, that sucks."

Hmm, that is something to consider. The whole point is to serialize, but also what do I do if one of the chapters doesn't reach it's goal? I can't just cut off those that have already bought a chapter. Well, I could, but I won't. Perhaps it makes sense to also offer the entire eBook with the extras in full but price it so it'd be cheaper to buy it in chapters? That way everyone gets what they want. On the other hand, in that case the added extras would have to be of greater value. Hmmm....

"I also don't think that you need a book deal. Spruce up your site (use blogger in draft - in 2 hours you'll have a beautiful and unique site)"

This isn't something I'm familiar with, but I'll look into it. Admittedly, I'm an amatuer when it comes to Blogger and blogs in general....

"Oh, and put a donation button - give people as many options as possible to show their appreciation."

I want to! I just searched the Blogger gadgets and can't find any donation buttons, but maybe I'm not searching properly.

Thanks as always for taking the time Yogi. I swear you've inspired me to move my Israel vacation plans up a notch....

yogi said...

I don't think you'll find donation buttons that way - you have to have an account with paypal or amazon and so on and then they give you the code for the button. Check out how much they charge for transfers and so on -paypal is very expensive.

You seem to be extremely knowledgeable about technology so it kind of surprised me that you are not good at this blogging thing. But so what - you can learn and it is real easy. Just google "blogger in draft". I swear - 2 hours tops your site will be real special.

You are welcome to the holy land - i just read that the past 6 months set a record for tourists in Israel.

Kyle Clements said...

I followed you hear from techdirt.

I like the chapter by chapter idea.

Sometimes, it takes me a while to really get into a story, I have to invest myself in the characters before I really care, so it might be an idea to start with releasing the first 2 or 3 chapters all at once (maybe as a free read with an option for donations?)
By the time they run out of text and need the next chapter, people will be more invested in the story, and might be more likely to buy.

Just a thought...

Tim Geigner said...

Thanks for coming by, Kyle. I'm actually starting to shy away from the chapter by chapter model and looking at going through Kickstarter instead. The reason for that is that I can offer a ton of better extras for funding through that means (my favorite is for the higher tiers of funding, I'll write a short story on any topic/characters of your choosing).

But one thing I think you're right about: there absolutely has to be a free download of the first chapter or two to whet the appetite. That is something I would implement, plus a free digital version of the novel for any tier....

Danny said...

"I'm not sure I get it - does this mean we'll have to wait for each chapter? If so, that sucks."

That's how manga and comic books work and people spend all kinds of money on those. Especially comic books considering you're usually paying upwards of $4 for maybe 40 pages of story just to get a "To Be Continued" and have to wait 30 days to pay another $4 and continue the cycle.

If your story is good people will have no problem waiting and paying for chapters.

Tim Geigner said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. I'm going to publish a post in a few minutes that's going to be really important to this whole expirement, so please comment on that if you can, so I can make sure this becomes a successful reality!

Anonymous said...

I want to get naked with you.

Tim Geigner said...

Er, well, thank you anonymous, that's a very nice thing for you to say....