Monday, March 07, 2005

Launch Events and Publishing Strategy

In May I will launch my new book, Angels can Fly, a Modern Clown User Guide , which promises a mix of fiction following the adventures of ten clown characters, some personal clown anecdotes, a total of 50 practical clown exercises, and some theory on the nature of m odern clown.

Look out for launch events in New Zealand in May, in England and Switzerland in July, in Australia in August/September, and in USA and Canada in October/November.

New Zealand Launch Events:

Hutt City Library - Thursday 12th May
Hamilton Central Library , Garden Place - Sunday May 15, 1.30pm
Auckland Central Library , Lorne Street - Saturday the 21st May, 1.30pm

Publishing Strategy

I am going to try a new publishing strategy with launch of this book, whereby I give away the eBook, sell the paperback (ISBN 0-9578844-1-9 ) for Aus$49.95, and sell a DVD, with video footage illustrating the anecdotal sections of the book, for Aus$69.95. The paperback will be available on order through bookshops and online stores, in May, but you can sign up now to get a free eBook copy of Angels Can Fly at:

American author, Cory Doctorow, tested the free eBook approach with his first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and reported that three hundred thousand copies were downloaded and ten thousand or so were sold. In a paper for the O'Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference in February, 2004, he pointed out that "one of the truisms of retail theory is that purchasers need to come into contact with a good several times, before they buy -- seven contacts is tossed around as the magic number. That means that my readers have to hear the title, see the cover, pick up the book, read a review,and so forth, seven times, on average, before they're ready to buy."

"There's a temptation to view downloading an eBook as comparable to bringing it home from the store," he continued, "but that's the wrong metaphor. Some of the time, maybe most of the time, downloading the text of the eBook is like taking it off the shelf at the store and looking at the cover and reading the blurbs."

"Some writers are horrified at the idea that three hundred thousand copies of my first novel were downloaded and only ten thousand or so were sold, and if it were the case that for ever copy sold, thirty were taken home from the store, that would be a horrifying outcome, for sure. But look at it another way: if one out of every thirty people who glanced at the cover of my book bought it, I'd be a happy author. And I am. Those downloads cost me no more than glances at the cover in a bookstore, and the sales are healthy."

Doctorow licences his eBooks under the Creative Commons system, which is built within current copyright law, and allows you to share your creations with others and use music, movies, images, and text online that's been marked with a Creative Commons license. Too often the debate over creative control tends to the extremes. At one pole is a vision of total control; a world in which every last use of a work is regulated and in which "all rights reserved" is the norm. At the other end is a vision of anarchy; a world in which creators enjoy a wide range of freedom but are left vulnerable to exploitation.

Offering your work under a Creative Commons license does not mean giving up your copyright. It means offering some of your rights to any taker, and only on certain conditions. What conditions? The Creative Commons site lets you mix and match conditions from a list of options. There are a total of eleven Creative Commons licenses to choose from. One lets others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work, and derivative works based upon it, but only if they give you credit. Another lets others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work, and derivative works based upon it, but for noncommercial purposes only, etc.

Creative Commons is based at Stanford Law School, where it shares staff, space, and inspiration with the school's Center for Internet and Society. For general information, visit Since March last year, Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, has led the effort to translate the Creative Commons licenses literally and legally for use in Australia. The Australia license has now been integrated into the Creative Commons licensing process, so you are able to license your works under Australia's law.


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