Well-known Seth Godin has proposed the Domino Project for aspiring self- published novelists to get into the market. He presents a compelling argument, and I plan to follow it. I decided to follow the basic tenants before, but he published his idea, so I’d rather tout his suggestion.
Seth Grodin proposed the Domino Project. My summation of what that project proposes is simple: publish your first novel for FREE. It’s not an original thought. Author Mike Hicks did just that with his novel In Her Name. He wrote the novel almost 20 years ago and it failed to prosper at the traditional print houses. So, after a while he tweaked it up and published it. Of course, he has several other titles in that series that he sells, so he still makes some money.
What’s the point of the Domino Project? A savvy author can write a solid novel for minimal cost. Assuming he’s studied his craft, focuses on producing a quality work, then he can publish on Amazon and immediately have that work before millions of potential readers. Then we come to basic supply and demand.
My basic understanding of Supply and Demand is this: the less of something there is or the more of something people want, then the cost of a thing rises. Seth points out that the Publishing industry relies on Scarcity—only they publish the book and there can only be so many books in your house, or in the bookstore. If you want it, you’ll pay their price. That’s a monopolistic mindset. As a result, book prices are a tad bit higher than they need to be.
That’s far to simplistic a statement for me to leave alone. Publishing houses have to spend money to publish a book. They have editors, cover artists, publicists, the print shop, materials, and the facilities costs. The self- published author has none of that. He has a laptop and an Internet connection. As a result, the self-publishing author has very little cost. The net result of this is there is no Scarcity.
What remains for a new novelist is Obscurity. We authors have to focus on getting our name out there. Mike Hicks did that. So did John Locke, who now has his book “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!” What Mike did was publish his first novel for free, and then write others and wait for the first book to attract his audience. John did something similar—he sold his books for $0.99 and worked his social marketing. (I’ll be writing another article commenting on his very short book). Both of them had several novels under their belt and waited a few years for the books to take off.
Common sense tells you what Supply and Demand tell you. If you offer a book for nothing, then demand will increase. What is the supply of an electronic book? Infinite. There is no Scarcity model to worry about (except an audience’s time to read). The author seeks notoriety so an audience will read his book. Free removes any barrier for a reader looking to read a good novel.
Tomorrow I’ll address some obvious questions raised by selling a free book.