I’ve never been one for New Years resolutions. Quit smoking? Yeah, right. However, a New Years action I can deal with. Here’s the plan: starting today, I’m going to be giving away the ebook version of Republic for free.
No more sample chapters, partial books that end in the middle, none of that. You can download and read the complete book. Share it with your friends, email it, do anything you want with it except sell it. Hope you enjoy the book and tell others.
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Okay, so maybe you are wondering why? After all, I’m hoping that within the next few years, I’ll be making enough money from book sales that I’ll be able to write full time. Isn’t giving the book away somewhat counterproductive to that goal?
I don’t think so. Here’s why: the biggest challenge most authors face isn’t online piracy. It’s not people out there diabolically copying their works and distributing them for free. In fact most authors (including yours truly) suffer from a different problem entirely — no one has ever heard of them. After all, literally hundreds of thousands of new titles come out every year, and only a few hundred writers in the entire United States (if that many) actuallylive off their books full time. So, by giving away the book, I hope more people actually read it.
Want to share it with a friend? Feel free. Email it to them, send them the link, whatever. If you find that you enjoy the book, I’m hoping you’ll order a copy, but that isn’t required. You could also post a review somewhere. Post a link in your blog. Ask your library to order a copy, so more people can get it for free. Whatever. If you do post a link somewhere, let me know about it. I’d love to see lots of people reading the book, the more the merrier.
Will giving it away cut sales and make me a poorer person? I don’t think so. There’s plenty of evidence out there that giving away the book will actually boost sales. If you don’t believe me, check out Eric Flint’s column in Jim Baen’s Universe, which actually runs the numbers and takes down some of the myths associated with Digital Rights Management, publishing, encryption, and copyright fanaticism.
I did not expect this to end up on the front page of Digg. That is excellent. Someone asked about the license — it’s under the Creative Commonse 2.5 Attritibution, No Derivatives license. In other words, read it, give it to other people, but don’t make money from it. Thanks to those who mirrored when my server went down last night!