Tuesday 5 August 2008

Here's a New Idea: Sell Shares in Your Novel

I had never heard of the author Tao Lin before but he has managed to paste himself onto my radar screen and I might just buy one of his books as a result.

Tao Lin Eeeee Eee Eeeeeis offering shares in his second novel-in-progress.
Investors can pay $2,000 (£1,000) in return for a 10 per cent share of the royalties of Tao Lin’s as-yet-unfinished second novel.
The Freakonomics blog dubbed Tao Lin a "rogue author" but sounded pretty positive about the idea:
Not only will the scheme defray his financial risk if the book does poorly, but Lin hopes that shareholders will promote his book out of self-interest.
In fact, when I checked Tao Lin's blog, there was only one share left and a waiting list!

The header on Tao Lin's blog (interestingly titled 'Reader of Depressing Books') links directly to his Wikipedia entry which informs us that he has been publishing poetry collections and e-books since 2006, several of which have titles all in lower case like this emotion was a little e-book and you are a little bit happier than i am.

Why would you want to buy shares? Tao Lin writes:
People who buy shares will also have more meaning in life if they already like and promote my writing, because they can promote my writing and also be making money for themselves, which can be exchanged for "goods" in concrete reality; therefore existential despair due to "having to do what you normally wouldn't be doing if you had a lot of money" can be relieved to some extent. Also it will be "funny" and "interesting" "for everyone" probably if people buy shares. You can call yourself a "producer" of my second novel if you want to do that. This is like a grant or something except it's like the stock market or something. You will be a stockholder in "Tao Lin's Second Novel's U.S. Royalties Corporation." "As people resell their shares the price of each share will go up or down, you will see this conveyed on MSNBC as a number going by on the bottom of the TV screen."
Tao Lin assures the reader that he can be trusted, citing his ebay rating and promising to buy back shares from anyone who is not satisfied - AND that suicide is unlikely, at least for the next five to ten years so investors should be confident he is serious about making his novel work.
I "can be trusted," look at my eBay rating. I will create contracts and have them notarized. You can have my phone number, address, etc., I promise I will not kill myself within 5-10 years. Really I don't think "trust" is an issue, I feel like people can trust me.


  1. Creative and insane! Probably a new combination for success :)

  2. Damned good marketing ploy - smart man! But frankly it makes me want to run a mile!

  3. Awesome! Loved the bit about suicide unlikely in next 5 to ten.

    Fresh ways to sell the same old stuff always impresses me. If only I could sell a book, then I'd have cash to invest in his. Maybe he'd be willing to invest in one of mine?


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