With a Little Help by Cory Doctorow

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Prints of Rick Lieder’s WITH A LITTLE HELP cover


Rick Lieder, one of the four talented artists who produced covers for my new DIY short story collection With a Little Help, is selling prints of his cover-art, which illustrates the story “The Right Book,” (which Neil Gaiman narrates on the audiobook edition).

With a Little Help by Cory Doctorow

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Launch!

At long last, I have finally launched my self-published short story collection With a Little Help.

With a Little Help is my first serious experiment in self-publishing. I’ve published many novels, short story collections, books of essays and so on with publishers, and it’s all been very good and satisfying and educational and so on, but it seems like it’s time to try something new.

You see, I’ve always released my work under open licenses from the Creative Commons project, so that my readers could share and remix my works. A good number of these readers wanted to know why I didn’t distribute the physical book as well, and see what a writer working on his own could do.

So here you have it. With a Little Help, consists of 12 stories, all reprints except for “Epoch,” which was commissioned by the Ubuntu project‘s Mark Shuttleworth for $10,000 (this being the most expensive option for buying the book — don’t worry, there are cheaper editions). The book is available in many forms:

* Paperback, on demand from Lulu.com: $18.
Available in four covers, with art by Frank Wu, Rick Lieder, Rudy Rucker, and Pablo Defendini (who also did the book’s design, working from John Berry‘s wonderful typography). Every month, I add a new appendix to this edition, detailing my balance sheet for the project, as a service to others contemplating a similar venture.

* 250 super-limited hardcovers: $275.
These are hand-bound at the Wyvern Bindery in Clerkenwell, London, and printed by Oldacres of Hatton Garden. Each book has original paper ephemera (see Flickr set) donated by various writer friends to the project, and comes with a SD card bearing the full text of the book as well as the full audiobook.

* Audiobook: MP3 CD $10. Ogg CD $5.50.
I tapped many voice actor friends (Neil Gaiman, Mur Lafferty, Wil Wheaton, Leo Laporte, Emily Hurson, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Hugh AD Spencer, Mary Robinette Kowal, JC Hutchins, Roy Trumbull, Jonathan Coulton, Spider Robinson, Jesse Brown, and Russell Galen) to record the stories in this volume, and their recordings were mastered by John Taylor Williams, who also masters my podcast. (Podcasters, see here)

* Free electronic editions: Free.
The full text of all the stories in this collection is available as free downloads under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, meaning that you can copy them and make your own versions, but you can’t make money off them and you have to let others remix your creations. The audiobooks are likewise available as free downloads on the same terms.

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NPR on With a Little Help

I did a fun little interview with NPR’s All Tech Considered back in October, about my forthcoming short story collection With a Little Help: Sci-Fi’s Cory Doctorow Separates Self-Publishing Fact From Fiction

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Starting financials

As of launch day, the profit/loss sheet is pretty simple.

Net: $3587

Income: $10,000
Commissions: $10,000

Outgo: $6413.00
All print editions: $120

  • Font: $120

Special editions: $4984.10

  • Postage (SASEs for paper ephemera): $210 (£140)
  • Scanning (assistant, 41h at £10/h): $615 (£410)
  • Prototype (binding only, printing was free): $361.13 (£240.75)
  • Taxis (bringing interiors to bindery, coffee sacks to office): $42 (£28)
  • SD cards x 30: $247.05 (£164.70)
  • SD readers and hub: $29.93 (£19.95)
  • Printing for first 20: $1094.39 (£729.59)
  • Binding for first 20: $2250 (£1500)
  • Shipping boxes (x30): $35.70 (£23.80)
  • Rubber cement, tissue paper: $23.30 (£15.53)
  • FedEx (shipped copy to designer as thanks for website): $75.60 (£50.40)

Paperbacks: $1058.90

  • Art (Rudy Rucker): $400
  • Art (Frank Wu): $200
  • Art (Rick Lieder): $400
    (Note: I paid each artist whatever he asked for)

  • Galleys from Lulu: $58.90

Audio: $250

  • Studio time for “Chicken Little”: $250
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