What Dave just did
Dave Balter, an old friend and colleague, has written a new book. It costs $45 on Amazon. But, for my loyal readers...you can get a copy of the ebook (the entire book) for free here.
The way he is bringing his idea to the world is instructive.
First, he wrote a book. You should write a book, too. Publishing a book is easier than it appears (in some ways, like the typing, typesetting, printing, and distributing part) but more difficult in others (like the writing something worth reading part.) Writing a book forces you to be organized and passionate and persuasive. Isn't that worth trying?
Second, he rejected the idea of having a 'real' publisher publish it. A real publisher adds time (perhaps six months or a year or two) and limits many of your options re: pricing, distribution, royalties and promotion.
Third, he realized that the ideas in a book are different than the book itself. The ideas are free. Dave made the ideas even easier to share by putting them into a PDF. If you want the souvenir edition, the one you can hand to a friend or read on the beach or store on your shelf, that costs a lot of money, but you don't mind, because you've already decided you wanted one (no risk, cause you've read it!)
Fourth, he figured out a way to use scarcity to create promotion. On the day a book is released, it's scarce. Scarce because no one has read it yet. That scarcity makes it more likely that someone will blog about it, because it's a scoop. News. Cooler still, he's not offering a copy of the book. Instead, he let me and a few other people offer it exclusively.
No, this doesn't work if you haven't worked with the blogger for years, haven't earned a reputation and most especially, haven't written something worth reading. In other words, it takes about six years of hard work to become an overnight success. So, if you're going to write a book in six years, please start now and focus on hard work, breaking new ground and being a standup guy.
If you follow Dave's tactics exactly, you'll certainly fail (at least with me), because it's already been done before. But, I have no doubt that variations on this method are going to get more and more powerful. (You can read my original free ebook--it was seven (!) years ago--right here. That book was a total homerun for me and for my readers--it has been downloaded, emailed and purchased millions and millions of times. I'm surprised the tactic isn't more popular.)
Find hundreds of other free ebooks at changethis. I started changethis with some talented interns a few summers ago, and because I'm not involved with it any longer, it's cooler than ever.