November 2009 update:
The ball is finally rolling
There’s actual movement on The Cranky Copyright Book. I’m supposedly meeting with a publisher – more specifically, the nicest editor in town, who has shepherded several books I’ve recently read and has otherwise taken me seriously.
- As ever, a print book from a regular publisher.
- Short! Maybe 160 pages, not necessarily portrait orientation. (Talk to me about binding sometime; there are ways for this thing to stay open on your desk.)
- Assumes a kind of page-and-screen reading style, where you’ve got the book open while you sit at the computer. (Hence easy URLs in the book.)
With every book, I try a new option in electronic distribution.
- I’m going to steal an idea from Cory Doctorow and publish the electronic version on physical media. But you’ll have to buy the book from a local independent bookseller to get it. Buy it online or from a big-box store and all you get is the P-book. This kills two vegan bird substitutes with one stone: We circulate E-books for free and increase traffic to struggling bookshops.
- There will be a couple of updates, for which you’ll be dinged something nominal like 99¢. But then the immediately preceding version becomes available for free.
- After a while, it’ll be available on every conceivable E-book service. Yes, sometimes with DRM and sometimes in half-assed formats, but sometimes not.
I don’t know how I’m going to swing this, but there will be an audiobook version, which will then be converted into a DAISY talking-book version.
There’s a real readership here. Not only do I have actual supporters here, but 8,000 people submitted comments on a recent copyright consultation carried out by the Canadian government. (Search tool.) Selling 8,000 copies would put this book at the top of the best-seller list. (Not everybody would buy one, but the market is there.)
A real breakthrough came when I decided to write snappy chapter heds and let those guide the writing. Here’s a punchy one to start with: “Correcting Cory Doctorow Is a Full-Time Job.” (It really is, isn’t it?)
What next? More damned money is what
I have not quite yet had my meeting, which might not lead to anything, and I do not per se have a solicitation to receive a proposal, but I’m a hell of a lot closer to that than I was before. But I’m not going to be able to do much with nothing in the bank.
So: What better time to hit you up for spare change like a common beggar? I know: I suck. I fully catalogue the ways in which I suck to myself every day. But until there’s money on the table from a publisher (a free-market exchange), I have to rely on another kind of free-market exchange.
I have to do this because everyone else in the field is well funded. To phrase it somewhat harshly, the opposition has deeper pockets than I do.
- Cory Doctorow earns six figures a year.
- Michael Geist, Giuseppina D’Agostino, and Laura Murray are all university professors (as is Larry Lessig, who got out of the copyright field after he failed at the highest levels).
- Commentators like Howard Knopf work in private practice.
- Creative Commons, and industry groups like CRIA, have their own fundraising and staff.
Apart from Doctorow, they aren’t necessarily rich, but they all have regular income related to copyright. I would never claim to be the sole independent critic of copyright, but I’m the only one who’s trying to create a popular work on the topic, and that costs money.
You can contribute in any of several ways.
Thanks for your continued support
I have to constantly remind myself I do indeed have supporters, even if they are far-flung and called upon rather too often. Soon I hope to be able to really deliver.
Get Cranky on Facebook
You can now become a fan of The Cranky Copyright Book “on the Facebook,” if that sort of thing turns your crank(y).