I’ve been working on my book, Busting Your Corporate Idol: How To Reconnect With Values and Regain Control of Your Life for over two years, and it’s time to get something out. The traditional course for a non-fiction book is to write a book proposal, two sample chapters, and then to look for an agent. After getting an agent, the agent then shops the proposal to publishers, and if someone bites, the author has ~9 months to complete the book. And then, six months later, the printed book goes on sale amid a flurry of publicity, talks, and advertisements – aka the book launch.
Well, I’ve done that and while there has been a lot of positive feedback from agents and publishers, they want someone with a platform aka a big email list. An agent or publisher won’t see any revenue from a new book for 18 months, and they don’t want to invest without a clear channel to sell the book. I understand, and my platform is growing. I gave myself till June to find an agent, and with June almost here, it’s time to pull the trigger on the next phase.
I am debating two business models to offer early access to my book. And what is early access? In the first model, I will write the book as a serial, with a new chapter coming out every 4-6 weeks, each distributed as a separate e-book. Each chapter will be reviewed by a set of readers, and then sold on Amazon, Smashwords, and on my website, Idolbuster.com. Readers can buy each chapter as it comes out, or later a-la-carte. Then, when all chapters are done, I will put together a second edition and sell the entire package. This appeals to me in two ways: it gets something out right away, and it is a new business model, in that few people are writing serial books. Plus, each chapter will be about the right length to read on a typical plane flight. Sounds perfect for the business traveler.
The second idea is to blog the book, based on the practice developed by Nina Amir, and described in her new book “How to Blog a Book.” Here, the book is written sequentially, one blog post at a time, with new posts coming out 3-5 times per week on a regular schedule. This is different from the serial model, in that the minimal publishable unit is just a portion of a chapter, and each portion is available for free. The turn around time is faster, and there will not be a separate step where each chapter is edited together as a unit. I really like it, because each post will have only one idea, and it encouraged a discipline to write every day. I spend a lot of time moving sections of each chapter around, but that doesn’t matter as much if I am publishing one section at a time. A disadvantage is that I tend to tell longer stories, or I have ideas that are complex, and take a while to develop. I’m not sure how they will translate to shorter blog posts. I’ve ordered Nina’s book, so I’ll let you know when I learn the details.
The models are not mutually exclusive, but one way or another, I will have something out in June. If I go with the serial chapters approach, expect something in late June, as I will need to set up the publishing infrastructure. But if I go with the “blog a book” approach, expect something in early June. The first chapter is already written, so it’s all about delivery. Let me know what you think – I’d love to hear your feedback.