On Feburary 9th the pole opened to elect one of Neil Gaiman's books that would be given away for free. The titles to choose from were: American Gods, Anansi Boys, Coraline, Fragile Things, M is for Magic, Neverwhere, Smoke & Mirrors, Stardust.
It was Neil Gaiman's blogs 7th birthday and he wanted to do something fun so he worked it out with his publisher Harper Collins that he could put up one of his books for free for at least a month. Go Neil... thank you for helping to open the eyes of those traditional publishing houses. I like it when the publishers get woken up to the greater world of promotions especially when it is over a more scary tactic like giving free book copies. With the help of established writers smoothing the path then the little known writers and new writers will have a greater chance of getting a green light on promotional ideas like giving away a book copy. Neil asked his fans:
"What I want you to do is think -- not about which of the books below is your favourite, but if you were giving one away to a friend who had never read anything of mine, what would it be? Where would you want them to start?"
Instead of just choosing the title himself, Neil put it up for vote for one week on his blog. This was also a great choice because some times the artist is too close to their projects to see exactly how it is interacting in the wild. Just ask the guys over at KISS, they thought that Beth was a B-side throwaway song and once in the wild it went on to become as extremely popular title.
After 26,400 votes, American Gods won with 28% of the vote.
He was suprised that the fans made that choice and said:
"I don't think I would have put up American Gods as a first choice for free book myself -- mostly because a) it's really long and b) it divides people. As far as I can tell, for every five people who read it, one loves it utterly, two or three like it to varying degrees, and one hates it, cannot see the point to it and needs convincing that it's a novel at all."
But he was thrilled over the process and will still go with the choice because as he put it that is democracy.
Neil Gaiman will post the links to get a copy of the free book latter when those details are available.
(via Neil Gaiman)