Continuing Experiments in Self Publishing & Lean Publishing
After my first experiment with the great Leanpub.com service (my “Best of Lean Blog 2011” eBook), I was happy to see my good friend Jamie Flinchbaugh experiment with publishing some original content on that site.
Jamie's new book is A3 Problem Solving: Applying Lean Thinking, available now. It's been a busy week for me, so I haven't read it yet, but I've heard good comments from othrs and I trust Jamie's thinking and writing to be outstanding. The book has a suggested price of $7.50, or you can pay just the minimum price of $3. Actually, you can pay ANY price you like, as long as it's above $3. Some of his buyers have chosen to pay MORE than $7.50, which is an interesting experiment, to say the least.
If you buy Jamie's book, you get a PDF copy and you also get a .MOBI file that you can manually install onto a Kindle device (or read using Kindle software on most any platform). You also get a .EPUB file that can be read on Nook and other devices. You can also download a free sample in PDF format.
Please check out Jamie's work. I'm also happy to support the work of Scott and Peter from Leanpub. They've been VERY customer focused as I experiment with their platform and they've been very responsive to any bugs I've found and in adding new features. I'm hoping to get them on a podcast soon to talk about this.
I've also started publishing my “Best of Lean Blog 2012” eBook. Leanpub.com allows for self publishing, which we can define as making a book available for sale without a traditional publisher. “Lean publishing,” as defined by Scott and Peter is more like a “Lean Startup” in that the author publishes the book while they are still working on it, making updates available to the readers for free. The writing process can be more iterative and collaborative, taking feedback from early readers and making improvements to the book. You can “lean publish” and then later make the book available through traditional publishing channels, if you like — once you've proven there is a market for what you have to publish.
My 2011 eBook was basically published as a large batch at the end of 2011. My 2012 eBook is being published throughout the year, one month at a time. Part of the pricing that I'm experimenting with is that the price, if you buy now, is just $0.99. If you buy early, you will get free updates throughout the year. Part of the cost to the reader is the time required to download and reinstall the book. Some people might think that's too much hassle.
As I add each month, the price will go up by $1. Somebody who buys it in March, with Jan-Feb content, will pay $1.99 and will, again, get free updates throughout the year. I think you see the pattern.
I know, unlike Jamie's A3 book, that my blog content is already available on the web, for free. But, if somebody wants the convenience of an eBook format that can be read without an internet connection, it's an option. For me, this is all about the process — seeing how Leanpub.com works more so than being about how many eBooks I can sell.
Jamie has sold 35, as of the evening of 2/16. That's a bit of visibility that Jamie has allowed to be shown on his book's page.
It's an interesting time to be an author.
My books, through a traditional publisher:
- Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement (2nd Edition)
- Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Continuous Improvements (coming in May?? 2012)
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Thanks for the mention Mark. It is indeed an ongoing experiment.
Good stuff. Self publishing e-books is one of my possible activities this year. I’ll have to see if I get around to actually doing it.
Start small and publish as you go. That’s lean publishing.
FYI I will be doing a podcast soon with Scott and Peter from leanpub. If you have questions, please post them here.