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This week marked the conclusion of the online release of my novel, Caffeine, a process which began in mid-October and accelerated since the MLP contest ended. Although the original intention was to go the traditional route (agent/ print publisher), the list of people to send to was shorter than I thought, and their rejection letters shorter than I hoped. There's always more to do, of course, a list that never seems to end, filled with writers conferences, networking, rewrites, querying gimmicks, YouTube videos (???), and more waiting for more rejection... Who's paying for this again?... so I could get a few cents and have my book rights tied up. Meanwhile, Christ continues to go underrepresented in Science Fiction, and a perfectly good story collects dust on my bookshelf.
Thanks to the internet, I had the option of going around that, though not without some short-term sacrifice. As I now celebrate the online release of my book, I wish to explain why I proceeded the way I did.
Caffeine's first public release was at egrabow.com/caffeine on October 8, 2009, under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License, and it has since propagated to other sites due to the efforts of myself and some others. Per the license, those others did not need my permission to post my book on free e-book sites. In this age when copyright laws are getting more encompassing in reaction to internet file-sharing, I've joined the ranks of those who would rather use connectivity to their advantage. No DRMs. No scary warnings against copying. No restrictions on intellectual freedom. Just go ahead and post my stuff wherever people will see it.
Now I know I'm a hippie.
Where do I go from here? Caffeine may be sent to agents/ print publishers again if it earns a following, and I'm keeping that in mind as I monitor Caffeine's progress on the internet, but the circumstances would obviously be different from before. I'm praying about it... We'll see. Offering books for free online actually seems to boost sales of the print versions, so I haven't exactly shot myself in the foot here. Cory Doctorow is an author who's really into this phenomenon .
I spent 2009 wondering what to do with my first book. Now that that's out of the way, I can clean up my hard drive, clear my mind, and focus on book number two. Lord willing, this'll be a long and rewarding writing career.
What is Creative Commons?
Who uses Creative Commons?
As of this writing, Caffeine is publicly available on:
egrabow.com (novel format, printer-friendly, text-only, HTML/first chapter)
manybooks.net (many, many formats)
Scribd (novel format, printer-friendly)
Internet Archive (many formats)
Google Books (novel format coming soon)
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