In the writing communities where I love to hang out, there’s always lots of talk about getting that first book published, and inevitably this question comes up: Should I publish my book … short stories … poetry … on my blog?  There are strong beliefs on both sides of the issue.

A fellow blogger and novelist has made the choice!  On November 2nd, 2011 Hack published the Prologue to his novel, REMNANT and will release the rest of his book in weekly posts of about 2000 words.  The Hack agreed to be my guest to tell us how he got to that decision, as well as his ideas on traditional publishing, self-publishing and his own third creative option.

Guest Post by The Hack

Hello, my name is Hack.  Well, that’s what folks call me at least.  My real name is Cary Graham, and for the last year and a half, I’ve been writing a supernatural thriller entitled REMNANT.  It’s the story of six individuals brought together to protect the last remnant of God on Earth; if they fail, life ceases to exist.  It’s slated for release in April.

Asking the Hard Questions

Originally, my plan was to follow the traditional publishing route (get an agent, find a publisher, make peanuts on the deal, and pray it sells enough copies to warrant a repeat performance), and up until a couple months ago, that was still the plan.  However, the closer I came to completing the novel, the more I started asking the hard questions, such as:

  • If I can convince an agent to take on my manuscript, how long will it take for them to find a publisher?
  • After finding a publisher, how long before my book hits the shelves?
  • To what extent will the publisher market my book?
  • Will it die a short, painful death at the bottom of the bargain bin, , its life tragically cut short before it had the opportunity to truly shine?

An Unorthodox Answer

I didn’t like the answers rising to the surface, but without another option, what was I to do?  Yes, there was self-publishing, but I had always assumed only the terminally rejected considered self-publishing a viable option, and then, only as a last resort.  The more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that both options were inadequate and restrictive, leaving me with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

Then one day, a trusted friend gave me a third option to consider, albeit unorthodox.

Give it Away!

His logic is simple.  Give the novel away for free on my blog, build an audience, ask for their support and then offer it for sale.  In other words, use my chief asset to promote my chief asset.  The model has certainly worked for musicians in recent years (e.g. so why couldn’t it work for novelists as well?

Now I know what you’re thinking.  “Why would anyone buy the book when they could get it for free on my blog?”

REMNANT  – Weekly Releases!

Well, the answer is simple: convenience.  I’m releasing the novel in serial format (around 2,000 words per week).  By the time the print and e-book versions are released, I will have disseminated around one-third of the book.  At that point, if you wish to continue reading it bit-by-bit on the blog, you most certainly can.  I’ll continue the weekly releases for free.  However, if you’d like to know how the story ends without waiting for it, the print and e-book versions will be available for purchase.

Is it Risky?

Absolutely!  But let’s face it.  Making it as an aspiring author in this day and age is hard.  For those that choose the traditional publishing route the barriers to entry are so great that most give up after a few months with nothing gained but the satisfaction of knowing their query letter postage helped keep the lights on at their local post office.

A Third Publishing Option – The Hybrid!

My plan doesn’t fully abandon either path.  In fact, I consider it a hybrid of the two  publishing options.  I’m incorporating some of the strategies of a traditional publishing company to promote the book, while revamping the self-publishing model to suit my needs.  But that’s just logistics.

If You Like it, Share it!

The linchpin in my plan is building an audience and inspiring them to expand it.  To do that, I’m going to give away one and a half years’ worth of my creativity for free in exchange for the promise that if you like it, you’ll share it.

Only time will tell if this path will lead to success or failure.  Either way, I hope you will consider being a part of the journey.

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