Should Hacker Noon publish books?

#1

there’s been some interest by longtime contributors to publish their books. from anecdotical conversations what contributors want to want is readership first and money second. to get proper readership, we need to feature prominently on site, execute distribution through our owned channels, as well as, make a digital public relations push (i.e. writeups on other sites). there’s also the economics at play, should we do an excerpt with CTA to buy whole book? should we make the whole book free and have a CTA to hire the author as a speaker or consultant? or even just to a push to subscribe to the author? or even to donate to the author? or should each book be sponsored? i.e. CTA atop and abottom each chapter? it would be a high quality digital ad if you ask me…

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#2

As much as I’d love to publish books, I feel like it would involve so many challenges unique to book publishing that it would draw away from Hacker Noon as it exists today. But in the future, who knows! Maybe we eventually spin off a book publishing arm of the company?

One thing we could do in the near-future (post-launch), like you said, is we could host a free PDF of the book, and throw up a page that offers the book for free with a CTA like you described, driving traffic to the author’s services, portfolio, whatever. Aside from a mention in the homepage header, the author would be responsible for pushing traffic to the book. I’m a bit wary of this method, though, as it feels low-effort. I’d rather go all in if we’re going to publish a book, right?

Anything more than a PDF + landing page, though, and I’m afraid we’d lose focus. Yes, we want to expand, but how quickly? And what will the pattern of our expansion be? I think this makes sense as a move for a publishing company, absolutely. I just don’t think we’re at that point quite yet.

That said, I’d love to be wrong here! If we could publish a book in the next year, I’d be elated.

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#3

Staying focused is quite the challenge.

@austin I would say if we test this route, instead of the PDF, it should be on our story page/s.

Where is the line between a long, long form blog post and a book?

Like these Hacker Noon blog posts could have been books:


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#4

What about having some notion of a series or collection of stories? This way people can be super ambitious but break the work down into manageable chunks. Then the UI could have a button at the end of the story saying something like <Next Chapter>.

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#5

I think series/collection is an important notion. To date of hacked together some featured pages that kinda’ do this:

But we’ve never had a smooth mechanism to go to the next story in the series.

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#6

Maybe if someone publishes 10 chapters in a series we give them the option to turn it into an ebook. But I like the immediate goal of figuring out how to allow people to publish a series.

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#7

As long as it helps build the vision of Hacker Noon. If it helps, I think there are a number of ways to do it in a way that is complementary and is worth pursuing. Hacker Noon-types WANT to invest, promote, and build in Hacker Noon, so this is a good way to support that.

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#8

How about this.

Partner up with some ebook platforms like leanpub, and ask them for a percentage for each sales that comes via Hackernoon.

it is a win-win partnership. Hackernoon authors would get more traffic (and thus sell more copies), Leanpub will make more money, and Hackernoon gets an additional stream of revenue.

BTW, I’m writing an ebook (Laravel testing 101) and I have already published 3 excerpts so far on hackernoon

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#9

Greetings, First of all i would like to thank hackernoon for inviting me to this community forum where i feel a part of the hackernoon community.
We could surely write an amazing book, we could have a small button on the top to publish a story where it says “Publish as chapter to a book” and the hackernoon editorial team or the hackernoon executives can select a group of contributers on each subject to contribute to chapters in the book together.

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#10

In light of Dane’s idea, I’ve changed my mind on book publishing. We can do this in a lean way that doesn’t feel half-assed (that’s the last thing I want, to give authors a half-baked process).

@Dane I love the idea of turning a series into an ebook, and yes, we definitely need to allow for publishing a proper series, with “previous” and “next” links, and maybe an overall series page.

@djug partnering with Leanpub is definitely an interesting idea – I’m curious to hear @David’s thoughts on that. I agree, it would be a win/win (plus an extra win for authors :wink:). We would just need the infrastructure to support it, which I don’t think would be much (i.e. I think setting up the actual partnership would be the harder part, not the tech side). I could be wrong, though. I’ll have to look into Leanpub in-depth to be sure. In any case, thank you for publishing your excerpts on HN! I love to see stuff like this.

@aamirnazir299 thank you for being part of the community! We’re happy you’re here. :slight_smile: A “collective book” would be super interesting…it could be a simple collection of hand-curated stories that were submitted for the book, or it could have a theme that each author could speak to…I’m definitely going to talk this idea over with the team.

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#11

Personally in my interview series, I’d just drop links everywhere and that would be a fix to this for me.

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