In a provocative interview with Cory Doctorow about his new book Little Brother, the non-satirical Onion A.V. club investigates the blogger cum sci-fi author’s motivations and strategies for convincing his publisher to simultaneously release his young adult book under CC and hardcover:
AVC: Was the Creative Commons release strategy a hard sell with Tor that first time out?
CD: No, it was totally trivial, in fact. I lucked out in two respects. My editor at Tor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, is super-geeky. We met on a BBS in the ’80s, and he runs his own Linux boxes; it just made a lot of sense for him. Furthermore, he’s also the senior editor at Tor, he runs the science-fiction and fantasy line at Tor, so he kind of doesn’t have to ask anyone when he wants to do this stuff.
Tom Doherty and Patrick both looked at this and said, “You know, electronic books represent the worst ratio of hours spent in meetings to dollars generated in income of anything we’ve ever tried at this press. Here’s something that’s relatively free—all we need to do is give it away, and we can see what people want to do with it. And if it works, great. And if it doesn’t work, well, we’ve learned. And if it’s inconclusive, we can try more, because we’re a big press, we’ve got lots and lots of books, and we can try lots of different things.” [emphasis added] And if it’s going to work for anyone, it’s going to work for me, because I’ve got such a good online presence. And you can see that they’re now trying this with writers who have a less prominent online presence, and they’re finding that by and large, it’s working pretty well for them.