I just read an absolutely brilliant essay by Paul Hartzog about social publishing here.
I think he’s spot-on about how publishing is changing and gives a roadmap for how authors can move ahead in this shifting landscape. The crux of it is, as he outlines, that the old model used to be ‘select, then publish'; the evolving model is ‘publish, then select.’ We are finding that free content finds its own niche readership, and in turn drives sales of the author’s other works, related and not.
I’m going to take advantage of that dynamic. Social publishing encourages readers to take a work, share it, bookmark it, discuss it, even re-use it if released under a Creative Commons license. The result is greater interaction between author and readers, more engagement in the work, and more exposure and sales all around.
I don’t plan to put out everything I write for free – hey I have to eat too, of course. But I do want to have some particular items see the light of day, bypassing the labyrinth of traditional publishing, and landing full-blown in the public arena. They can be some things my fans have been asking for, where I also want to see how much the social publishing dynamic can generate interest in my work.
This is going to be an interesting experiment. It won’t happen quickly – it does entail writing an entire work of fiction of the same quality you’d pick up at Barnes & Noble, you know. But as Hartzog points out, it is perhaps no accident that recent Nebula winners have all been available free in electronic form. This has obviously had an impact on exposure and sales, sometimes a huge one.
So all I can say on this right now is, look for some interesting free material from me in the course of 2009.
Originally posted 2009-01-19 09:11:23.