|The TL/DR Synopsis||Synopsis: Announcing a new, free edition of novel Luck and Death at the Edge of the World, with the full novel but without the bonus material.
Links to: free download of the book and related soundtrack, videos, and audiobook (direct download or by torrent).
Embedded videos and music: Song “Jung Jing Road” (Backbeat Candy, U.K.), song “The Hungry Ghosts” (Jason Brock, U.S.A.), and video “Gat’s Nightmare” (Nas Hedron).
Downloads: Luck and Death at the Edge of the World, the Official Pirate Edition (ePUB and Kindle), Luck and Death: the Soundtrack for the Movie in Your Head, Luck and Death videos, free bonus e-book.
Pirating My Own Book
The issue of piracy can be a divisive one for authors.
Many feel understandably threatened by the idea of illegal copies of their books floating around online for free, and not a little betrayed when pirate editions appear to have been uploaded by their own fans. They naturally worry that pirated versions will undercut commercial sales, threatening their livelihood.
Others view free copies an effective form of promotion and believe that their availability actually increases sales. Some, like Cory Doctorow and Peter Watts, actually make copies of their own books available free on their own web sites (Craphound.com and Rifters.com, respectively).
Luck and Death, which now has both a commercial edition and a new Official Pirate Edition, straddles these two extremes.
Or maybe it’s better to say that it goes to a greater extreme in both directions.
The Official Pirate Edition: Not Just a Free Book
On the free side, Luck and Death comes bundles with extras that most authors don’t provide with free copies of their books. Most notably, there’s a full soundtrack album with fourteen tracks by artists in eight countries, including indie musicians, a film composer, a classical composer, and the author, packaged with two choices of cover art.
It also comes with three video shorts, each focused on a different aspect of the novel and each set to a different track (or portion of a track) from the album. Lastly, there’s an audiobook of Chapter One called Brace + Erase that includes a professional score by TTG Music Lab.
To be fair, Peter does have a pretty awesome free multimedia presentation on vampire domestication that ties in to one of his novels, and Cory does podcasts on various topics that sometimes intersect with ideas in his fiction, but I don’t know of any other free book that comes with quite so extensive a package tailored specifically to it.
Two of the fourteen tracks on Luck and Death: the Soundtrack for the Movie in Your Head. Press the play button to hear a track.
Jung Jing Road (Backbeat Candy, U.K.) 3:17
The Hungry Ghosts (Jason Brock, U.S.A.) 3:27
One of the Luck and Death videos.
Another difference is that rather than just offering the Official Pirate Edition bundle as a direct download on my own site (or in this case a specially constructed home page), I’ve also posted it on some of the the main torrent sites.
It now lives, side by side with pirated episodes of Game of Thrones and illicit copies of 50 Shades of Grey, on The Pirate Bay, KickAss Torrents, and the recently revived Demonoid, where it’s seeded directly by Hipper Tiger Books.
Finally, any reader who isn’t gorged on free stuff by this point can go to The Official Pirate Edition home page and sign up for one of my email announcement lists, in which case they’ll get a free bonus ebook sent by email.
The Commercial Edition: Above and Beyond the Freebies
On the commercial side, the edition of Luck and Death that you buy on Amazon or Kobo is, in effect, a deluxe edition, and includes bonus material that isn’t in the Pirate Edition, so there’s still a good reason for discerning readers to buy it.
The Facts in the Fiction is an extensive six-part section digging into the factual background of various elements in the story, specifically:
- The historical antecedents to the estate at Cloud City, including Neverland, Graceland, and the grandaddy of them all, Pickfair
- The real world of weaponized robotic dogs
- The actual correlates to the emerging infectious diseases that lead to quarantines in parts of the book’s version of Los Angeles
- The state of science in relation to the uploading of human minds to artificial bodies
- The real Alan Turing, upon whom an AI in the novel bases its appearance, and
- The secular, non-mystical version of the dharma, which the protagonist, Gat Burroughs, practices
This section is illustrated with photographs and diagrams, and it contains links to relevant web pages, scholarly publications in PDF format, and videos.
This is an experiment.
I like creating freebies to go with my books, and I’ve been doing it for some time, but now the question is: can a free version of the book itself, along with the music and videos and so forth, coexist with, and possibly even help sell, a deluxe commercial edition? I guess we’ll find out.
In the meantime, you might want to pick up a copy of the Official Pirate Edition bundle if you don’t have one yet and see what you think.