This weekend I had the chance to sit down and watch a great new documentary called Press Pause Play. It's about making things in the digital age. The premise is how anyone with a laptop and an idea can make things happen. Things that were not possible even five years ago now are common place. Within the movie there are sections specific relative to movies, music and books. It was very well done.
My favorite section of the movie where the film makers are interviewing Seth Godin. He was speaking about how he was inspired to write Unleashing the Idea Virus after reading Malcolm Gladwells, The Tipping Point. He wrote the book in approximately 10-12 days and then contacted his publisher asking them to publish it and make it free. They replied they would love to publish it, it could not be free and it would take a year. So he converted it to an e-book and put it on his website and several million people downloaded and read it. The fascinating thing was then people contacted him asking for a print version. Even though he gave it a way for free he ended up making more money (though this was not his intention) on that book then his hit book Permission Marketing.
I had several take aways from this example was how broken many industries have become. So set in their ways - not willing to try new things.
1. If a book is topically now there is a high probability that if it takes a year to come to market it will have a lesser impact.
2. If you are not able to reach your audience in a timely manner the audience may go away.
3. If you make something free people will find a way to talk about it.
4. Established businesses are fearful of change and stay in their comfort zone.
Seth is not the first to do something like this nor will he be the last to do this. Nine Inch Nails allowed people to remix one of the songs on an album. Radio Head gave away their last album online for free and still generated a significant income.
You can rent this movie here. Watch this movie and see if you are inspired to start your own project.