Is this a good idea?

I just had an idea for a way to promote my music books, and hopefully make a little money, but I want to know if it sounds too mercenary. I’m very, very wary of going from someone writing for pleasure to turning into a money-grabbing hack, so I thought I should ask those who get my writing for free…

What I’m thinking of doing is taking some of my individual essays – the ones on Pet Sounds, Revolver, Rubber Soul and Head would probably be the best to start with – and making slightly revised versions available as 99-cent Kindle ebooks in a ‘classic albums’ series. They’d be reworked enough to stand alone, and maybe contain some more factual information (session dates and stuff) but basically just be the sections of the other books.

I think if done properly this could be OK, and a way to drive people to my full-length books, but it could seem tacky. What do you think?

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8 Responses to Is this a good idea?

  1. Mike Taylor says:

    I don’t see a problem. I wouldn’t but them, but their existence certainly wouldn’t offend me, and maybe some people would. Go ahead and try it?

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Oh, I wouldn’t expect you to buy them – you’ve read everything that would be in them that you’ve any interest in. I just see quite a lot of people having success with very short ‘books’ and think some people might be more willing to take a chance on a ninety-nine cent book than on a five dollar one.

      The thing is, though, I don’t want to seem mercenary, or to be one of those people putting out what is essentially spam on the Kindle. Having the same thing available a dozen different ways can be a good way of getting people to read it – but it can also come perilously close to conning people into buying the same thing multiple times. My primary aim is to write as well as possible, and only then to make money if I can without sacrificing the writing. This seems to me to be *right* on the borderline of what is ethical – I’m trying to decide which side it falls on.

  2. Paul C says:

    Broadly speaking: yes, it’s a good idea. It will draw in people who might have less interest in reading an entire book, but are drawn to reading about “classic” albums. It will draw readers towards the full-lengths (although I wouldn’t hold your breath on that – I’ve not seen any convincing research showing that kind of result) and increase your visibility. Not tacky at all.

  3. plok says:

    Why don’t you just do a separate “Classic Albums” book, and use the previous writing to save yourself some work? Use four old ones, write six new ones, 100% book for 60% effort!

    • plok says:

      After all, the idea of why something is a “classic album” alone will probably drive you into a ten-page Introduction, right? I suspect you wouldn’t be able to just slap a bunch of stuff under a different cover and leave it at that anyway — you’d be moved to write more, or am I wrong.


      • Andrew Hickey says:

        Oh, I wouldn’t put a mix of old and new stuff together like that – it would be ripping off anyone who liked my stuff enough to buy everything I do (and I know at least a couple of people who do that, amazingly).

        More Dr Watson will be up very soon.

  4. Jim says:

    “When I expressed an earnest wish for his remarks on Italy, he said, ‘I do not see that I could make a book upon Italy; yet I should be glad to get two hundred pounds, or five hundred pounds, by such a work.’ This shewed both that a journal of his Tour upon the Continent was not wholly out of his contemplation, and that he uniformly adhered to that strange opinion, which his indolent disposition made him utter: ‘No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.’ Numerous instances to refute this will occur to all who are versed in the history of literature.”

    – Boswell’s Life of Johnson

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