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Jon Evans – Beasts of New York

Cameron Parkins, August 2nd, 2007

Jon Evans, author of the Arthur Ellis Award winning novel Dark Places (Trail Of The Dead in the UK), is serializing his latest novel, Beasts of New York, online under a CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Described by Evans as a “children’s book for adults”, Beasts of New York represents a shift for Evans, who is known for international thrillers, in terms of content and style:

It’s an urban fantasy about the wildlife of New York City, starring a squirrel protagonist who has to find his way from exile in Staten Island back to his home in Central Park

Evans will be posting a chapter a day – he is currently on the 17th – ultimately publishing 60 chapters, or 2 months worth of content. In his FAQ (which is a must read), Evans gives ample insight into why he chose to use a CC-license for Beasts of New York, citing the success of authors such as Cory Doctorow and others who have successfully implemented CC-licensing for their online publishing while maintaining commercial viability in print-form.

Essentially, Evans wanted to write and release a novel his publishers found unmarketable. As he puts it, “try to imagine telling people with a financial interest in your writing success that you want to write a whole book about a squirrel”. Evans saw CC-licences and online publishing as a means to allow his work be read freely, while at the same time retaining potential commercial avenues for the book (Evans “cautiously expect[s] [Beasts of New York] to eventually find a publisher”). This is yet another phenomenal example of the power of CC-licences in a hybrid economy.

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