One of the beautiful things of starting a new blog, or rather replacing an old one, is that you can revisit some old favourites (both your own and readers’), dust them off, polish them up and re-post them in an updated version.
Case in point: the Doctorow Gone Rogue article I posted back in December. It was one of the most-read posts, and since Cory Doctorow keeps updating the world on the ongoing project, there is more to tell now.
So here it goes. Doctorow. Rogue. Again.
With A Little Help is a collection of short stories, written by Cory Doctorow. Published by Cory Doctorow, too. As the title of the book says, it was done “with a little help“. But without his usual publisher (which would be Tor).
And when I say publish, I mean publish, as you can get With A Little Help in a multitude of versions.
- You can get With A Little Help in the form of a paperback, originally at the price of 18 $. As I am writing this – a good six months after the initial release – you can get it for 12.60$ over at Lulu. If you do, you have the choice between one of the following four covers:
- You could also shell out a ‘little’ more. For the price of 275 $ (then and now) you can get one of the 250 limited hardcover editions. In addition to some fancy, individual “artwork” on the inside (given to Doctorow by various friends), the hardcover contains a SD reader, which itself contains the full audiobook. For pictures of all of the paper ephemera, go to Cory Doctorow’s Flickr feed.
- Talking about the audiobook: You can buy that, too. All twelve stories read by different friends of Cory Doctorow (e.g. Neil Gaiman, Wil Wheaton, etc). You can get the MP3 CD for 10$ or an Ogg CD for 5.50 $ (also the same then and now). Either way, it comes with the Frank Wu cover art:
- Or you could get the whole shebang for free – would this be a Cory Doctorow project if that was not the case?
Yes, you can get both the text in digital form and the audiobook for the fantastic price of free. Creative Commons for the win. For various text formats go here and for the free audiobook download go here.
Seems – despite all the choice you got there – the good Doctorow has only one prescription: Get A Little Help!
The whole experiment in self-publishing has been and is still being chronicled on Cory Doctorow’s website and for his Guardian column, on a more or less regular basis. This includes the financial report, which shows that the project is a success. So far, four financial reports have been posted (click here, here, here and here). As of June 13th, the overall net coming in at 15,083.11 $. Considering that this includes a 10,000 $ commission for one of the stories, you’d probably have to call it a minor financial success. But nevertheless it is a successful testing balloon that shows that it is possible to make money out of something that is being offered up for free as well. With a little help. But without the big help of an established publisher.
In all fairness, it needs to be said that this is done by an author who has had considerable exposure before and who is lucky enough to be able to call on people like Neil Gaiman and Will Wheaton, who did read the audiobook for him. Still, there are things to be learned from the process. What I would like to see most now is Cory Doctorow taking the acquired knowledge and experience and use them for a similar project, so that we can compare.