Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
I have an interesting idea a-brewing. A mere notion at this point. Maybe a whim, an impulse. Possibly just a funny feeling.
I was chatting with Susan Toy recently about book marketing and how difficult it is, and I mentioned that I’d just about had it with all the usual methods. It’s pretty clear that social media isn’t ideal for it because everyone sees you as spamming. And blogs are great for your brand, but potential book readers don’t really flock to your blog and then run out to buy your stuff. Advertising is expensive. Bookstores don’t like indies. Your friends and family can only do so much for you, word-of-mouth-wise.
In short, it’s hard out there for a book pimp.
So I told Susan that I was this close to putting a book out one copy at a time to readers who would accept a “pay what you want” deal.
See, what I have in mind is non-publication publication, or, kind of an electronic samizdat product. I would format the book as a pdf, then personalize it with a special inscription to that reader. She would make her offer ($1, $3, $10?), then I’d hit her with a PayPal invoice. The instant I receive her virtual cash, I fire off the file and she gets her book, ready to install on her Kindle or Nook. Or her phone or PC, for that matter.
This would definitely be lo-tech as far as formatting goes. I wouldn’t pay an outside formatter, and I doubt that I’d do a professional cover. (This is samizdat, folks.) Instead, as I did with the pdf of “Gatecrash,” I’d probably stick a cool photo at the beginning and doll it up with some title/author text. (See this as an example … )
Come to think of it, since the costs of production will be almost nil, I could sprinkle images throughout the book. There are lots of possibilities.
My question to you, dedicated followers of What The Hell, is would you pony up a buck or three for an experimental publication like this?
In other words, can I count on you to buy my next book directly from me and bypass Amazon et al.?
Incidentally, it’s pay what you want, but if you pay $5 or more, you’ll get your name listed in a new What The Hell of Fame, and I’ll also put you in the acknowledgements of a future edition (perhaps after 50 copies have sold).
Now, there are limitations to this idea, for sure. Reviews for one. If you wanted to review the book, you’d have to do so on your blog. (I could reprint your reviews on my blog too.) Or you could refer your Facebook and Twitter followers to me so they could buy their own copy. You could interview me about the project, promote my other books, buy the private edition for friends and/or family (and I’ll inscribe those too) — any number of things that could take the place of reviews.
Another limitation would be that I’d have no way to promote the book in the usual, more efficient ways, i.e., EReader News Today or BookBub. This would be almost strictly a word-of-mouth thing.
So what do you think? Is this worth pursuing? Am I out of my mind? Is there really anything to lose?
They say we need to find readers one at a time. Well, this takes the idea literally and runs with it!
Share your thoughts in the comments, s’il vous plaîs.