Thursday, June 26, 2008

Electronic Giveaways

The debate about Kindle, electronic books, and the future of the printed word seems to be dominating the publishing landscape lately, especially among my agent colleagues. I don't want to dive into all of that again here, but I did want to mention an intriguing subplot in all of this, the e-book giveaway.

As you may know, some publishers have allowed readers to access either chapters or an entire book electronically as a publicity measure in advance of publication. This has been done selectively, and usually only for a short period of time. I haven't seen any convincing hard numbers yet, but early indications are that this has led to increased sales of the print edition. Intriguing, right?

A nuts-and-bolts issue relating to electronic giveaways is how to handle all of this contractually, assuming that this turns out to be a good publicity measure. Many publishing contracts give publishers free reign when it comes to publicity, which I've never liked. I try to limit any excerpts used by publishers without approval to either ten percent of the entire work or 7,500 words. I also try to add language that ensures that we'll negotiate a payment for my client if at some point publishers should receive moneys from these publicity efforts (i.e. the online provider agrees to share advertising revenue with the publisher). If electronic giveaways are the future of publishing publicity, than these are just a few of many points to consider in your contract.


Kristan said...

Good point/addition to the discussion.

I will say (not to disagree with you) that once Paulo Coelho revealed that he would be putting all of his books online for free (1 per month) I decided to just wait to read them that way.

HOWEVER, (to agree with you!) I then made strong recommendations to my friends, some of whom then went out and bought the books (either b/c they weren't online anymore, or b/c they just didn't want to read a whole book online.

Adaora A. said...

Wow. It seems as though no matter the direction getting - an author's book - published ( in whatever sense of the word) goes, you need an advocate who knows how to argue on your behalf. I just want to see my name and my words in print. I don't have a clue how to read or interpret any of this stuff. The unknown concerns me. Maybe that's why I'm so against e-publishing.

Ryan Field said...

It's very intriguing; that's the word. And I can see how it's going to get a little complicated too. So all posts about this sort of thing are highly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

free reign

Chumplet said...

My publisher allows me to give away five electronic copies of my book, so I'm having a Canada Day Trivia Contest on my blog and giving away one pdf copy of my book.

The publisher takes care of sending out copies to reviewers, so I'm trying this out to see if it generates interest in my hockey romance.

I certainly hope a few people will buy the book after they read the excerpt. I don't like the idea of posting large chunks of work on the internet. It just doesn't make sense to me. If people read it online, why would they buy it afterwards?