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Experiment 1: Sivers Style

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

The reason I moved my personal site was to start some experiments — to see what I liked to publish and what my readers liked too.

The first experiment was to implement the same idea Derek Sivers had last year with his books. I think it’s genius.

The idea he had was: work in public, post each chapter of your book in plain old HTML, and add links to where it can be found for sale (including multi-format bundles he sells directly).

His idea was a huge success:

  • More people read his books than expected.
  • More people bought his books than expected. In fact, the physical books sold out before they were publicly announced.
  • It circumvented all the middlemen and rights issues one encounters with Amazon.
  • It thwarts the countless websites that scrape content from ebooks to make money from ad views, while scoring SEO points off the author’s book and name.
  • He now has direct contact with readers and keeps much more profits per book sold — which he gave to charity.
  • Readers can now link directly to chapters in blogs and social media to agree or disagree, adding to the conversation.

The goal I’ve always had with my writing is a direct connection with readers. This seems like the direction all independent authors need to go if they to keep that connection, own their work, and be found in searches for their work.

Each chapter of A Lesser Photographer now its own page on this site. Although it’s only available for sale on Amazon right now, I am working on making a bundle of formats for sale directly.

I can’t wait to see if this makes the book a little more accessible. If it works, I’ll expand the experiment and offer new books. Thanks for the inspiration, Derek!