Tim O’Reilly said, “Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy” in a piece written nearly ten years ago.
And I think he’s right.
Even more so today than a decade ago. Why? Because it’s no longer 100,000 books published every year, it’s over three times that. And that figure doesn’t count eBooks.
Last week, I posted a video featuring Neil Gaiman speaking on the subject of piracy. It has been long theorized that piracy does not hurt sales. It actually helps sales because it increases visibility.
None of our books have DRM enabled and I was very excited to see one of our books on a P2P sharing site, but today I’m going to go one step further.
I want you to steal my book.
Currently on Amazon.com, the eBook for Rowan of the Wood is ranked at 168,578 (4/14 6:36 am). It generally sells somewhere between 2 and 20 copies through Amazon each month.
It is ranked 864,950 on Barnes & Noble.
Here is the experiment:
- Click here to download a .zip file of Rowan of the Wood. It contains the PDF, ePub, html, mobi (for Kindle), and others. No matter which eReader you own (or if you read on your phone or computer), you should be able to read one of the zipped files on your preferred device.
- If you download the free eBook and feel the need to give me something for it, you can donate $1.99 (or any amount) to PayPal. Certainly not necessary, but appreciated.
- For the Kindle, you can buy it for $0.99 from Amazon here.
- For the Nook, you can buy it for $2.99 from Barnes & Noble here.
- For every other eBook reader, you can buy it for $2.99 from Smashwords.
Furthermore, spread it around. Tell everyone. Post the .zip files anywhere you like. Leave a comment here (anonymously if you prefer) and tell me where you post it, then I can Tweet it to my followers.
After over three years in the publishing and marketing trenches, I’ve learned a thing or two. Primarily, most of the books we sell (like 92-98%) are in-person, so giving these eBooks away we have very little to lose if all the piracy fear-mongers are right, which I don’t think they are.
The successes of J. A. Konrath (who did this experiment last year), Barry Eisler, Amanda Hocking, and Dean Wesley Smith have inspired many authors, including this one. The thought of making $100,000 a year as an author (and that’s modest, considering it would be the income for both me and my husband) is a dream. It’s over twice what we’ve seen so far. J. A. Konrath claims to make this much every two months. Seriously.
Want what someone has? Do what they do.
Just a fraction of Konrath’s sucess would be just fine.
With regards to my new book Publishing and Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author along with the consulting services I offer, I’m thrilled to do marketing experiments like this one. As it will not only help me gain further understanding of today’s marketplace, it will allow me to help other emerging authors become successful. Again. Nothing to lose.
So take my book. Please.
(p. s. if YA fantasy isn’t your thing, my alter-ego O. M. Grey is running a similar experiment for her *strictly* adult steampunk paranormal romance novel Avalon Revisited along with an eAnthology of short stories, poetry, and articles.)
(p. s. s. This entire experiment was inspired by and blatantly stolen from J. A. Konrath.)
What do you think will happen?
Will our eBook sales go up? Will they go down? Will anyone donate? Will they buy our other titles?
Do you think an author should fear piracy, or is obscurity a greater threat? What are the greatest concerns (or rewards) that come from pirating others’ work?