This could probably have gone into the "sel-promotion" thread IJ started now that the convesation has gone to JA Konrath and selling e-books, but I thought maybe it couuld be its own thread.

Like JA Konrath, Cory Doctorow has been doing a lot of alternatives to big publishers to sell books, and now like JA, he's going to start giving up some numbes on what he's making.

It's worth a read here.

It's interesting, he's never worried about piracy, he gives away the e-books for free and sees that as simply advertising or spreading the word. He puts them out as .pdf or .txt files and lets people convert them to whatever they want.

Now, instead of relying on a publisher to sell 'hard copies' he's going to do that himself through Lulu.com.

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Hi Fleur, I, too, am coming in late to this discussion but I've found it all very interesting. As for free giveaways, why would it have to be the whole book? My new mystery will be out next year, but I'm having the first chapter bound to use promotionally months before the complete book is released. I'll give this away at book signings and have an eBook version on my web site to request as a download. They're great to keep in the car for spur-of-the-moment promos. The cover states "Free Excerpt. Coming Fall 2010".
Publishers have been including the first chapter of an upcoming book at the end of paperbacks for several years now. I see no reason why giving away the first chapter or two online wouldn't be an effective marketing device.
I think it will work well for e-book sales, but that chapter at the end of the paperback doesn't do much. If you can't continue reading beyond that chapter right away it loses marketing effectiveness pretty quick.
I agree, that back-of-the-book excerpt of the next novel is not very effective to me. By the time that book is out, I've forgotten all about it.

I agree that a sample chapter giveaway makes more sense. I like your promo idea, R. Michael.

Interestingly, there are authors like Doctorow and M.J. Rose that have had increased sales based on book giveaways, which feels counter-intuitive to me. I'll be interested to read Cory Doctorow's column for the next few months to watch it all play out.
Yes, the back-of-the-book only serves a short purpose, it's momentary. Having a few hundred 1st chapters to give away gives you the freedom to promote anytime and anywhere. At the end on an existing book you only reach the person who bought that book. Putting a blurb about the first book on the back cover of the 1-chapter giveaway has the possibility of selling 2 books- the one that's out and the one that's in on the way. Use the cover art for the new book with a burst introducing it as a free excerpt.

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