STATUS: Been reviewing a film contract which pretty much makes me cross-eyed by the end of the work day.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? OVER THE RAINBOW/WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Before you head off to post a free novel on your website, you might want to spend some time learning about the pros and cons of doing so.
In my opinion, yesterday’s post is probably most useful for writers looking to break in. If you are already traditionally published and have a publisher, this could be of value but you need a clear plan and the blessing of your publisher.
There are some contractual things you need to keep in mind before you post stuff for free or embrace Creative Commons or pursue other online experiments. Since the beginning of the year, author Cory Doctorow has been chronicling his experiences with free electronic books in Publishers Weekly.
If you haven’t had a chance to read his monthly columns, I think they are definitely worth a read. Here is a link to get you started. There’s no need for me to repeat what Cory says in his articles and so much more eloquently.
One of the things I want to highlight is that Cory is embarking on this documented journey with the full knowledge and support of his publisher Tor/Forge. As a published author, you have terms in your traditional publishing contracts that you must abide by. Posting things for free could get you in trouble. For example, a non-compete clause. Depending on how that’s worded and what the parameters are in your contract, uploading free material could be deemed a competing work with what your publisher is currently publishing for you. Or it might not.
My suggestion? Be sure to have full communication with your agent and your editor about your desire to explore these kinds of avenues. My guess is the publishers are keen to see what authors can do with creative endeavors but would be less enthusiastic if kept out of the loop.