Authors Take Up The Tiered Support Models Also

from the good-for-them dept

Another day, another example of content creators embracing the business models we've been talking about -- and once again, this one is outside of the music industry. Recently we wrote about movie makers picking up on tiered funding offerings, similar to what Jill Sobule has done, and now we've got a budding author as well. To be clear: I'm absolutely sure there are others doing this as well, but I just heard about this particular example. Elinor Mills has the story of an author, Robin Sloan, who has apparently put some popular short stories that he's written online for free. But now he's trying to write a whole book. But rather than go the standard route, he's self-funding and then self-publishing the project, and like Sobule, Josh Freese, and many others (um, including us!), he's offering various tiers of benefits that you get for support:
Pledge $3 or more
DIGITAL PACK. Get a PDF copy of the book and follow along with behind-the-scenes updates.

Pledge $11 or more
PHYSICAL PACK. All of the above, plus get a physical copy of the book. (The more people who choose this level or higher, the better the book is for everybody!)

Pledge $19 or more
SINCERITY PACK. All of the above, plus your book is signed, and it comes with a little surprise.

Pledge $29 or more
PATRON PACK. All of the above, plus your name (or secret code-name) is listed in the acknowledgments.

Pledge $39 or more
SUPER OCCULT VALUE PACK. All of the above, plus get three more copies of the book (for a total of four), so you can give one to a friend, donate one to the library, leave one in a coffee shop with a line of hexadecimal code scribbled across the title page...
The cool thing? At the time I'm writing this, the last one had the highest number of buyers, and the cheapest one had the lowest number of buyers. And yet the Hollywood lawyers of the world insist that people just want to get stuff for free. Not true. Provide them real scarce value and people will buy.

Filed Under: books, jill sobule, novels, robin sloan, tiers

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  1. identicon
    hegemon13, 2 Sep 2009 @ 7:21am

    Re: Stigma

    "I like it, I really do, but there is such a stigma amongst the literary industry against self-publishing that it's making me wince at this."

    That's true, but I think that will go away with time. When publishers are no longer gatekeepers to content, it won't really matter so much what the industry thinks.

    "Right now, Borders is entirely controlled by the traditional publishers. Imagine if the music labels controlled what acts went on EVERY stage around the country."

    You are assuming that Borders and the like are the only stages. They're not. They are more like the event arenas. For everyone else, Amazon is a pretty huge open stage that anyone can use. So is P2P. So is a good website. So are social networking sites. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    "The story with self-publishing has ALWAYS been that it can work, if you can figure out how to market the work on your own and sell it directly to the customer."

    Absolutely correct. The problem isn't with self-publishing. The problem is that most authors aren't businessmen, and they don't know how to go about manufacturing, promoting, and distributing a product. When done right, however, an author makes a LOT more money on fewer copies because they keep all the profits instead of a small percentage. My uncle has successfully published two young-adult novels that went on to win awards and allowed him to move to writing full time. He has not sold enough copies to make a large income through a traditional publisher, but because he self-published, he has been able to make a living from them. (The books are Runt the Brave and Runt the Hunted, if you are curious. They're on Amazon.)

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