eBook Experiments: Doctorow, Goldberg, Holloway
“Still, this business of my giving away e-books is a controversial subject. I encounter plenty of healthy skepticism in my travels, and not a little bile. There’s a lot of people who say I’m pulling a fast one, that I’d be making more money if I didn’t do this crazy liberal copyright stuff, or that I’m the only one it’ll ever work for, or that I secretly make all my money from doing stuff that isn’t writing, or that it only works because I’m so successful. Of course, when I started, they said it only worked because I was so unknown.”
Cory Doctorow’s new experiment to prove free, non-DRMd ebooks can help sales will be an interesting one to watch, and while his promise of full transparency is both refreshing and rare, it’s far from “unique”.
Goldberg, author of the Monk novelizations (among others), has a series of enlightening posts, “You Can Become a Kindle Millionaire”, tracking his epublishing efforts (inspired by JA Konrath‘s similar expermient) that started with making two of his out-of-print books available (not for free) on the Kindle back in June and publicly tracking sales results. He has since expanded it to include 10 of his books, all originally published in print by traditional publishers.
All told, my combined Kindle royalties from June 1 to 11:23 pm Oct 13, are: $1750.
It’s not enough to make me follow Joe’s example and turn away from anything less than a $30,000 advance from a major publisher, but I’m very pleased. It’s hardly a fortune, and clearly the lion’s share of the royalties are from just one book, THE WALK, but it’s found money. And it’s gratifying to me to see THE WALK, which was out-of-print, on track to reaching more readers, and making more money for me, in a Kindle edition than it ever did in hardcover.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Dan Holloway — an outspoken advocate of self-publishing and the freemium model for writers, as well as organizer of the Free-e-day festival — goes a step further, establishing expectations and tracking the progress of his literary novel, released as part of his indie collective, Year Zero Writers:
I have always said that I want to be transparent throughout the self-publishing process. I believe it’s possible to succeed as a self-publisher with books like Songs from the Other Side of the Wall, especially as part of a group like Year Zero Writers. As part of this, I want to be up front about what I hope to achieve, when, and whether I am making that progress. So every month I will report on what has happened in the preceding month and what I expect to happen in the month ahead.I will begin with an outline of my expectations for Year One – September 2009-August 2010.