19 December 2009

The tools for the commons are ready.

When getting ready to launch BULL SPEC, there were a lot of questions about the tools available to use in producing the e-books and audiobooks. Could I afford top end audio recording software, professional desktop publishing software, vector graphic software, and so on; were the open source versions really ready?

The open source tools are more than ready.

14 December 2009

Holy updates!

Note the first: the wonderful Thaumatrope is publishing my holiday-themed serial "Bad Elf: A Dark Christmas Serial (Killer)" both on Twitter and the website. This is a whole lot of fun; huge personal thanks to Mr. Lilly for working me through a month of rewrites to get it into a format that both Twitter and I can be happy with, and I hope at least a few people are amused.

Note the second: BULL SPEC #1 is now open for pre-orders. Source code available to the Google App Engine to Paypal ExpressCheckout bridge over at GitHub.

08 December 2009

BULL SPEC and the gift economy.

So, a quick unorganized mini-rant about the gift economy and BULL SPEC:

We have three "exemptions" right now:

  1. We pay advances on content.
  2. We pay for printing and shipping.
  3. Due to #2: While we're "pay what you want" on all e-book and audiobooks, but, since for us physical printing and shipping cost per issue is a floor, on the print version we are "pay what you want above physical printing and shipping cost". All that means is that every word of the content and every stroke behind the artwork is in the gift economy in all forms; but the paper and ink and how it gets to you are not. (Yet.) (And yes, this means, if you're a person or a bookstore, you can buy as many copies as you want at physical cost, period, no questions asked. We'd love a gratuity back the other way but it's not something we're going to harp on or point fingers about. And if you only like one story: we'll make it easy to direct a little something to that author or artist, specifically.)
We'd love to find a printing and distribution partner to alleviate some or all of points #2 and #3. (Hint, hint.) But point #1 is not going anywhere any time soon. Why? Because that's us at BULL SPEC's input into the gift economy, getting the ball rolling, treating people as we'd like to be treated. And we're hoping to see that paid forward with interest over time.

Lastly, a quick word on ads: no, we don't and won't, ever, have paid ads. If there's something which looks like an ad, it's our way of saying "thanks" or "we like these folks" in a small way. And if there's anything ever annoying about these, let us know. We're not marketers or advertisers or marketees or advertisees. We're humans.

And we're still looking for a symbol which means "pay what you want" where a price tag like "$5" goes. (Again: Hint, hint.) For the print issue it would look something like "$2 + SYMBOL." Thanks in advance for any help.

And while we're asking for help: do we really need an ISBN? Sure they're cheap, but when you add the 1000% "handling fee" for the authorized US resellers they are not. We are working with some local (and sympathetic to the gift economy ideals behind what we're doing) bookstores and shops to have BULL SPEC on the racks and will be talking to them about this and/or UPC codes as well, but would love some input from wherever and whomever you are.

edit: And we will be doing "preorders" as soon as we figure out the physical printing and shipping costs. Look for more info about that, when it's ready, at BULL SPEC. And, not to "scoop" and though this is too premature to post as BULL SPEC (hence my little personal blog) it's looking good for launching our first benefit e-books/audiobooks of Joe Meno's "The Architecture of the Moon" by the end of the month. So preemptive happy freakin' New Year to Durham Literacy and our fingers are crossed and re-crossed that we can make a difference in that way.