Thursday, May 14, 2009

Author Jason Stoddard defies Googlenomics with deal to publish his free e-novel Winning Mars

Seemingly contrary to the laws of Googlenomics, author Jason Stoddard announced that his science fiction e-novel Winning Mars (2005), which was released on the Internet a few years ago as a freebie under a Creative Commons license, will be published as a pay-for-it hardcover book by Prime Books in 2010.

“Wait, wait, isn’t free content the death of a scarcity economy? Won’t a book be a no-go after giving it away? I thought only big-name people got to give it away and also have a book! I’m confused!!!”

Let me explain. In September 2007, Stoddard announced with great fanfare that he was giving away for free his e-novel Winning Mars, which was originally published as a novella in Interzone magazine #196 (January-February 2005). In response to questions such as “So why the hell aren’t you getting this thing published, man?”, “Why don’t you get an agent, shop this bad boy, and get it into that wonderful world of physical print?” and “What could possibly cause you to consider giving up your ability to publish this book, forever, by giving it away online under a Creative Commons license?”, Stoddard responded:

"Well, a number of reasons. First and foremost, Winning Mars is a work of near-future fiction. It’s entirely possible that by the time it crawls through the 2-year process of conventional publishing, it will be irrelevant -- or at least extremely dated. Second, I like writing. I want people to read my stuff. If the gigantic advance (LOL) that I’m going to get from a conventional publisher is getting in the way of people reading my stuff, then I’d rather just have people read my stuff. Third, I write a lot. I have a lot of trunk novels -- think, like, 4 of them -- that I really need to clear out so I can work on new stuff."

Now, in May 2009, Stoddard has had his faith in humanity and the publishing industry restored and believes that a hardcover version of Winning Mars will “benefit from the changes that need to be baked in to any near-future novel, 2 years after release, and 5 years after the novella it was based upon -- as well as the improvements that come from working with a real editor ...”

Bold, brash, and brazen! Best of success, Jason!

Thanks to the blog Futurismic for the link.


K.E. said...

This is a really neat story. I'd *much* prefer to have a nice hardcopy book than an e-book. Looking forward to seeing this story in print. Thanks for passing it along to your readership!

Paul said...

Your welcome. And I couldn't agree more! They might stop printing books, but those that already exist will just be treasured all the more. Works for me!

Jason Stoddard said...

Ha! And yes, it *does* need updated.

A lot of things have changed between 2005 and now--not least of which is, oh, this big economic downturn thing, which makes the scenario of an ad-supported Mars launch much less probable today.

Of course, when you factor in virtual currencies, work in a new celebrity avatar (er, I mean, character) and tweak the spin on Oversight a bit . . . well, there you go. Winning Mars 2.0 is quite a bit different than Winning Mars 1.1.

Near-future is a moving target. Hopefully I've moved this one out enough to be believable.

Paul said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Jason. Looking forward to the book.