Before I get to the "Hey, I released Memories as a PDF because you asked for it" portion of this post, I wanted to share some early feedback on Memories of the Future Volume One:
"@wilw's MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE is my TNG DVD commentary of choice. Fun and funny and a blast to read all around. nice work, man." – Matt Fraction
"If you remember ST:TNG with equal amounts of nostalgia and facepalm, you need @wilw's new book, MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE." – Antony Johnston.
"Wil is a funny writer, and funny writers can make anything entertaining, including reviews of Star Trek episodes, especially when he was acting in them as a kid and forced to wear the worst clothes anyone outside of a max-security prisoner or someone from the 1970s forced to wear. I therefore commend your attention to this book as a Funny and also Interesting book that is otherwise about a tv series I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch. Put another way: I wouldn’t keep the tv episodes in the house, but I would keep the book. Yes? Yes." - Warren Ellis. (Who, incidentally, is responsible for the title of the book. Thanks, Uncle Warren.)
Excuse me while I squee, just a little bit…
…and now we're on to business:
I had planned to wait a week, so the digital release could coincide with Monday's podcast, but so many people were asking for it – especially people who can afford $10 but not $19.87 and people who are in far off lands where packages are still delivered by steam-powered autogyro – I went ahead and released it last night.
When I did the PDF version of Sunken Treasure, I wrote a FAQ for it. The FAQs are pretty much the same, so…
Q: Can I read it on my iPhone?
A: Yeah, it's a regular old PDF file, so it will totally work on your iPhone's PDF reader.
Q:How will it look on my iPhone, though?
A: I don't own an iPhone, so I can't say from firsthand experience, but I've heard from a lot of people who have read it on their iPhones, and they were happy with the experience. Trying to read it in Stanza is wonky, though.
Q: What about other formats?
A: I'm looking into it. I know lots of people want it for [DEVICE THEY OWN] and when I have the time, I'll figure out a way to make those formats available. At the moment, though, it's not my top priority.
Q: Why not just sell it through Amazon for the Kindle?
A: I may eventually do that, but right now I don't know if I can sell enough copies to make up for the massive cut of revenue I'd have to give Amazon. I'm happy as hell to be selling in the hundreds, but if I went that way, I'd have to either increase the price significantly, or hope to sell in the thousands. I'm not sure that there are thousands of people who a) want to read this and b) also own Kindles.
Q: If I buy this, can I convert it to a different format?
A: Sure. You can use calibre to convert it to a ton of different formats. Calibre is free (speech and beer) by the way. Incidentally, if you're one of the Kindle owners, you can use calibre to convert the PDF to a Kindle format. People who bought Sunken Treasure on PDF used Calibre to convert it to Kindle format, and the images I saw from them looked fantastic.
Q: I already bought the print version. Can I get a copy of the digital version?
A: Sure you can. It's just ten bucks.
Q: I see what you did there.
A: That's not a question, but thanks.
Q: Can I give this to my friend/husband/wife/mom/girl or boy I'm trying to impress?
A: Once you have it, I can't stop you from doing whatever you want with it, and I certainly wouldn't expect you to treat it any differently than you would a paper book. However, I hope that we all understand the difference between sharing with our friends/spouses/famies and "sharing" with an entire forum, or hundreds of people simultaneously. I'm not trying to be a dick about this, and I'd rather people read it than not, but it's only $10, you know?
Q: If I buy this, can I make my own print copy?
A: As long as you don't sell it, absolutely. However, the economics of it may work out to make it cheaper for you to just buy the print copy. Having said that, if a print shop doesn't want to print it for you, show them this: I give you permission to make one printed copy of Memories of the Future, Volume One, for personal, non-commercial use.
Q: If I make my own print copy and bring it to a con, will you sign it for me?
A: Hells yes I will. That'd be pretty cool, actually.
Given recent events, some of you reading this may be surprised to hear that I remain committed to releasing my books in non-DRM digital formats. For those who have chosen to make me some kind of proxy target for our totally justifiable outrage at the insanity of the RIAA and MPAA over the last decade, I guess that would be a surprise. But consider this, which I wrote when I released Sunken Treasure in a digital format:
[After I released the PDF,] I admit that I had a brief flash of doubt. "Did I just screw myself? Did I just sell one and end up giving away a hundred?"
"No," I reminded myself. "People who will steal from me were never going to support my work, anyway. You're doing the right thing. You're making it available to people at a really fair price, in a super portable format. And maybe people will like it and want a paper copy for themselves or to give as gifts."
I hoped that PDF sales would be solid … well, they were solid, for about ten minutes, and then they exploded. In less than an hour, the total PDFs sold exceed 1/5 of the total print copies sold. People were e-mailing positive feedback, people were Twittering positive feedback, and people were starting to talk about it on their blogs.
"Okay, this is awesome," I thought. "I definitely did the right thing."
I realize that the same people who claim I've lost all credibility due to my unhappiness at recent events may have a hard time reconciling this with my disappointment at seeing unauthorized copies of my work being distributed by douchebags who want to profit from it. I'm not going to spend a lot of time trying to change their minds, which appear to be made up, and stuck in an infinite loop arguing the semantics of the word "steal."
To everyone else, though, I hope you'll enjoy the book in whatever format you choose, and once you've had a chance to read it, you'll let me know – honestly – what you think. Thank you, so very, very much for your support! I am doing everything I can to continue earning it.