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SXSW Interactive 2014

Write a Book, Give it Away and Get Paid #NewRules

On July 4, Jay Z released a new album. But you couldn't buy it. You could download it for free - but only if you were 1 of the 1st million Samsung Galaxy S III, S 4 or Note II users to download a free app.

Samsung agreed to purchase 1 million copies of the album, partnering with Jay Z on a marketing campaign that brought them value by association. On Twitter, he referred to this strategy as part of the #NewRules.

1 year earlier, I had partnered with Skimlinks to release a new book for free. We treated it as a real book, not a gimmick like most free ebooks. No email address required to download! I was paid like I would have been by a traditional publisher and was given unquestioned editorial control.

In 12 months, over 12,000 copies were downloaded. The book has been well received. I'm happy. Readers are happy. Skimlinks is happy. I want to share how we did it, in detail, to empower talented writers and creative companies to engage in similar efforts that create value for all.

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  1. How can you accept money from a company to write a book - but also maintain independent editorial control of the work? Won't they want to make sure you don't mention their competitors?
  2. Why would a company want to pay for you to write a book if they can't fill it with ads or company mentions? Or even ask for email addresses?
  3. How do you stand out in a sea of free ebooks?
  4. With a small or non-existent budget, how can you generate press and get the book out to more people?
  5. Which distribution methods generated the most downloads of the book?



Patrick O'Keefe, Owner, iFroggy Network

Meta Information:

  • Tags: publishing, books, marketing
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Content and Distribution
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced
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