Friday, September 16, 2011

Publishing Your Work as Both Book and Article (and Movie? and Sound File?)

Yesterday, my friend and I were talking about publishing possibilities.  She's got an idea that would make a good book:  a non-fiction, advice kind of book, a what employers wish students would know kind of book.  She was thinking about self-publishing vs. traditional routes.

I asked her about her intended audience, and she talked about our students.  Well, we know our students don't read, even if passing a class is at stake.  Why would they shell out money for a book that's not required reading?

Her idea is the kind of idea that could have many different lives.  She could do a stripped down version of her idea (which she defined as 40-60 pages).  I pointed out that she could do an even shorter version, something article length, a list of suggestions with a few sentences or paragraphs about each.  Our students might read an article which is essentially a list of things.

I suggested that she do all of the above, at different price points.  She could write the article and sell it electronically for 99 cents, one of the magical price points (over $2.99 seems to be the point at which people hesitate before clicking or decide not to click).  If people read the article and want more, they could buy the chapbook size book or the longer one.  They could buy a paper version or an e-book.

In early October, when both our lives calm down a bit, we intend to investigate this idea further.  I'd like to learn more about these different formats.  I have been thinking about assembling a book of ideas that teachers could use in both creative writing classes and composition classes.  I like the idea of selling individual chapters for relatively cheap, as an enticement, a try before you buy kind of thing.

For awhile, I've been thinking of using different platforms all at once:  electronic books, paper books, and for poems, perhaps sound files.  I've only just begun to think about different lengths and what things might be possible.  And for non-fiction, should we also be thinking about other genres, like video?  Hmm.

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