I’ve been trying various methods of publishing, experimenting with such things as “crowdsource publishing”. Crowdsourcing is essentially convincing a lot of people you have a great idea and it should be brought to market. Kickstarter is an excellent example of this. Have a new idea for a pogo stick, but not enough money to manufacture it and sell it? Put it on Kickstarter. Not just inventions but movie ideas have shown up on Kickstarter, like the Veronica Mars movie. Remember all the hullabaloo about that? I didn’t think so.
Crowdsourcing can also apply to publishing. Put out an idea for a book, generate some interest and maybe people will actually want to read it. Some web sites have turned this into a business model. Maybe you don’t, but I sure do, remember the embarrassment of me peddling my book series The Last Empress on Amazon Kindle Scout. Scout encourages writers to put out the first three chapters of their book, encourage readers to vote for it–and hold that vote for weeks–and then Kindle may or may not publish it based on how “hot” it is. It’s still up to them. Meanwhile the whole weight of getting people to vote for your book is on you. You, baby, and your adept marketing skills. Oh wait, you don’t have a degree in book marketing? You don’t have a budget equivalent to the ad campaigns put out by the big publishers? You’re not that good at Twitter, except to tweet “Read my book! Vote for my book!” Then tough luck.
I’ve put another book out on another crowdsource site called Inkshares. They make this sound so cool. All you have to do is put out the first few chapters of your story and encourage up to a thousand people to preorder your book (up to 750 people for the e-book). These people are not buying your book–they’re gambling there will be a physical or e-book for them to read at some point. Like Scout, the whole impetus to whether your book goes to print depends on if there are at least a thousand people out there voting (promising to slap down $9.99)–if the book goes to print. The whole marketing push thing once again falls on the writer’s shoulders; a person who isn’t an ad agency, a book publicist, an agent or any of those other things. It’s all on you, baby.
I get updates from authors on InkShares because I follow them. We’re one big huge honking writing family out there. One book did make it to the thousand preorder limit and I was informed that I would be getting my physical copy. Another book, unfortunately, didn’t make it. He was close to the 1000 book preorder requirement by only a book or two. I can’t help but wonder how much begging and screaming this poor guy had to go through just to sell one or two measly books for a publishing deal. His disappointment was huge and he was clearly depressed.
So I too have a book on InkShares called A SOUL TO STEAL. You’ve seen me update a few chapters and I even went through the monkey motions of promoting it. I have eleven preorders. Yep. Count’em. Eleven. I know exactly what will happen. Maybe I’ll accrue enough preorders, but in most cases I won’t.
I don’t think crowdsourcing is a way to get people interested in your book. Voting and preordering are just barriers. People want to read the book, not sample it. They don’t want to be blasted with Twitter reminders or Facebook posts. They don’t want to know how things are going, what I’m eating, why it’s taking so long for the next chapter to show up. People want to read the book, judge it and toss it aside.
Would It Kill You To Read My Book?