Chris Anderson, the author of The Long Tail, plans to give away several versions of his next book FREE for… well, free.
He’s hoping that the free versions will help him to market his services.
In Free is more complicated than you think he says that by giving away the book he wants to: “Give speeches, customizing my analysis and research for specific companies and industries. The free book is simply marketing for that, which can be more lucrative than book royalties. And who knows what else? Free distribution will put the book, in one form or another, into the widest number of hands possible. I’m not quite sure how I’ll monetize that reach, if I can at all. But the problem of making money indirectly from attention seems like a great problem to have.”
Read the entire blog post; it shows that even Dilbert’s creator has problems monetizing “free”.
When you’re giving stuff away, you need to have a plan. Several years ago “free” was all the rage. However, Giving stuff away without knowing why you’re doing it is madness.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t use “free” if you decide it’s worth it. For example, you can blog your book, and see what happens if you’ve never published a book before and have no editorial contacts. Blogging your book can hep you to get attention and rise above the slush pile; but you need to have a plan.
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