So Derek Canyon was talking in his blog about his marketing efforts, and folks were brainstorming about marketing in the comments. I mentioned "why not have indie authors exchange chapters of their books, put them in the end of each others' ebook releases?" It seemed a sound idea. Still does, really. Suddenly their book is a marketing vessel for yours, and yours is for theirs. It costs the writer nothing - and it adds bonus content to the book which might attract other readers. Next thing I know, Derek is posting about that idea, and an expansion on that idea. Sure, he says, we can trade chapters (I really like the idea, Derek, and I'm game - let me get this thing ready to roll out, and you're on). It'd be a great way to get the word out about other good books. Hey, big publishers do this all the time, in print where it costs them money. They wouldn't do it if it didn't make them money.
But then he adds more ideas. What about an anthology of short stories written by a bunch of people who have books up via self-pub? Maybe it could be offered for free, as a loss leader (with blurbs about their other books, of course!). Or perhaps it could be offered at a low price like $2.99, as a charity book for some cause everyone agreed on. Marketing and philanthropy at the same time. Love the idea. I'm all for using writing as a tool to help others - one of my personal motives in writing near-future science fiction is to hopefully help rekindle a sense of wonder about space, and to encourage folks to dream about getting there - not someday in the far future, but soon. Tomorrow. So I think opportunities to use writing talent to help humanity in some way are great things.
I'm also really encouraged by what I'm starting to see coalesce "out there" in the cloud of writers starting this journey. We've got a lot of bright people with some good books, talented writers with lots of ideas - not just for stories, but for how to get them out there, how to use them in new ways, how to do exciting things. I see a future in that. I'm not sure just what it is yet, or what it will be. But there's something powerful involved when a bunch of bright people start working together on the future. What a great time to be writing!