Exploring the Unexplored Content Distribution Channels

My friend Wanda Shapiro is a first-time novelist. And she is facing a fork in the road. In fact, most content creators as well as artists are finding themselves in Wanda’s predicament.

Do you spend great time and effort getting signed up with a large publishing company, or do you do the damn thing yourself?

For Wanda, the answer was clear. She has decided to publish her novel herself. Not only can you purchase Sometimes That Happens With Chicken on Amazon (affiliate link) but you can also download it for free.

I am always inspired by people like Wanda so I decided to help in some small way.  One of my suggestions was to make her novel available on Bit Torrent. Why?

The Untapped Distribution Channel

You want to make your work available on Bit Torrent for the same reason you want to be on Twitter. It’s the virtual water cooler around which everybody gathers.

The difference is, when someone is on Bit Torrent, they are explicitly there to download something. Why not your new book or CD?

If you are asking yourself “what the hell is Bit Torrent and how can I use it to distribute my own intellectual property”, you’ve come to the right place.

In the great tradition of Napster (remember Napster, kids?), Bit Torrent is a file sharing technology.

The technical innards of Bit Torrent are much different than that of Napster, but for our purposes, that is irrelevant. The only thing we care about is how can we use it to spread our content far and wide

Content Distribution on Crack

First thing you want to do is download a Bit Torrent client.

Once it’s installed on your computer, point your browser to one of many popular Bit Torrent websites:

  1. The Pirate Bay
    The Pirate Bay is a great first introduction to Bit Torrent, so perhaps you want to start there.
  2. Demonoid
    Demonoid requires you to have an account; the accounts are given out by invitation only. Leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.
  3. ISO Hunt
    Torrent site of last resort in case the first two are down or dont have what you’re looking for.
These are huge torrent sites that are often very busy, not to mention always on the run from the authorities that try to shut them down because some users are distributing copyrighted content (new movies, new music, etc.)

We are not interested in that content, but I say that so that you approach this patiently, it will be worth it. I promise.

I’m There. Now What?

  • Spend some time familiarizing yourself with what’s available on these sites.
  • There are many e-books that are submitted using Creative Commons or GPL license. Your ebook, music, even software, should be distributed under the same licensing guidelines.
  • Enter the name of your favorite book, or a favorite author in the search field and see what comes up.
  • Notice that your search results can be listed based by date (default), or SE/LE.
SE stands for Seeders. Seeders are people who have the complete file and are actively sharing it.

LE stands for Leeches. Leechers are people who have a file (or part of the file) and are only downloading but not sharing. More SEs, the better. In other words, larger the number of SEs, the faster the download will take.

To download a file of your choosing, simply click on a download arrow or the file itself. You should be able to see the download link somewhere. This will open your Torrent client. Wait till the progress bar reaches 100% to open. Congratulations, you just downloaded your first Torrent.

Don’t drink the water out of the toilet. In other words, don’t be stupid. Stay away from .EXEs, even .ZIP files. Download only the type of files that are safe for your computer. Something like .pdf will not harm your computer.

But How Do I Distribute my Content?

Once you’ve had some fun looking around and downloading, it’s time to create an account on one of these sites so that we can actually contribute to the collective.

So go ahead, don’t be shy. Create an account and upload your intellectual property.

Don’t forget to “tag” your file with the names of similar authors, or similar books. In other words, think about some kid sitting home bored out of his head. He might not know who you are, but is likely to search for Stephen King. If you think your book might be of interest to Stephen Kind fans, then tag it with “Stephen King”. Makes sense?

Once uploaded, you will be the ONLY Seeder  So, let your friends know how they can receive the wonders of Bit Torrent and download your book; make sure they not only download but seed as well.

Remember, more seeders, the better. Also, more seeders means you can shut down your computer and some kid in Sweden can still download your book.

What Good Will This Do?

A well known marketer has successfully released his first book in this manner.  Seth Godin’s Unleashing the Idea Virus (affiliate link) was -and still is- available for free via torrents. Since then, he has released many books with a large publishing company because, let’s face, that does have its benefits.

The point is, you don’t have to sit on your ass waiting for a large publishing company to come to your door; you can start making waves on your own, you just need to know how. So here is how.

  • Have you used Bit Torrent before?
  • Does it sound like something you might decide to use?
  • Are there other seldom discussed distribution channels worth exploring?

Make sure you read the other two articles in my Bit Torrent series:

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi 🙂

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  • Anonymous

    Great post Dino. The question that I’m left with is, “How do you make money if you’re giving it away for free?”

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      One way in which Im doing it by placing affiliate links in the ebooks that end up on torrents. However, thats not my primary motivation.

      I do it mostly to discover new fans. If my ebook is awesome they will follow me on twitter, come to my blog, and so on…if my ebook sucks…well, they wont.

      So I make sure my ebooks deliver what they promise. But if youre doing it for money alone, you will have to publish a TON of garbage with a ton of affiliate links in it. No bueno Senjor. No bueno.

      • http://twitter.com/dancristo Dan Cristo

        Got’cha. The affiliate links make sense for ebooks.
        I also get that the main goal here is to increase exposure, but will that work for a novelist? I mean, you’ve got a nice website with an active community and many ways to cross sell them stuff once they get to your site. I’d imagine that a novelist would have a much less engaging site with far fewer ways to convert traffic into a revenue stream.

        Maybe this is a bad example, but take a look at Gary Vaynerchuck. The guy puts out great videos for free in order to drive people to his site where he can sell his book. That to me makes sense. But doing it the other way around, where you give the book away for free to drive traffic to your videos seems less profitable.

        What am I missing?

        • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

          To me, there is no difference between free videos Gary does and putting your ebook on torrent sites. They are both ways of exposing your self to more people.

          Also, I dont see torrent as the only or even primary means of exposure. I see it as a great “in addition to” type of thing. Gary’s book is on a torrent site. Thats how I discovered Gary. Since then, I’ve purchased Crush It 3 times as gifts for friends.

          • http://www.expatlifecoach.com/blog John Falchetto

            You can also put up videos on Bit Torrent not just ebooks. Great idea Dino.

            Off I go to write my ebook, first I need one right ? 😉

      • http://www.realityburst.com Eugene

        And this is a great way to give away the stuff you’re already giving away for free. For example the free ebooks/reports people give away for free as a gift for signup up for the mailing list. Why not share those as a torrent? You’re giving it away for free as it is.

        • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

          yup…for sure….it feels good to contribute to the collective 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/janetcallaway Janet Callaway

    Dino, aloha. Thx for this next step in my continuing education and further entertainment. Bit Torrent sounds like a great resource.

    By the way, when commenting on Danny’s Automation post, I did put in a plug for Triberr. How could I not? People need to be educated so they can make better decisions.

    Best wishes for a terrific weekend. Aloha. Janet

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Thnx Janet..you’ve been an amazing advocate. Could you plz remind me sometime this week to award you and Heather 30 Triberr bones each …well deserved 🙂

  • http://researchpaperwriter.net/ research papers

    thanks for such a great aricle.
    i liked that part about – i am there now what – the most. that always happens to me) when i get to some point i feel lie i dont know what to do next… so thanks

  • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

    Hi Dino,

    Wow, I have been having the same thoughts lately. I am writing my first novel as well, although I am trying to get it published via one of the big publishers in Norway first. If that won’t work, I’ll publish it myself. The reason I am doing this, is that I want to start writing my second novel in a few months, and if I am going to self publish the novel, I believe it’s going to be a lot more work with marketing and the sales process.

    I have never thought about using bit torrents this way. It sounds like a very interesting method to distribute free stuff.

    I’ll definitively going to take a closer look at her book. Thanks.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Glad I could bring it to you as an option. All of my ebooks are on torrent sites, downloadable for free. Its awesome to be able to give something back into the collective hoping someone finds them useful.

      • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

        Do you get statistics in order to see how many have downloaded your books?

        • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

          Nah, you dont get stats except for Seeders and Leechers. These stats are unreliable and they dont tell you how many people have downloaded your book but they do give you a relative popularity of your work in a crude kind of way.

  • http://hypertransitory.com/ John Garrett

    Dino I’m a HUGE torrent guy. Do you keep up with http://torrentfreak.com/ at all?

    I’d also recommend http://www.kickasstorrents.com/ as a fast growing site.

    Between filmmakers and musicians putting their work out for free it’s a no-brainer for authors to do the same to gain some following.

    Even though I say it’s a no-brainer, as much as I am into torrenting, I never considered using it to distribute my own novel. I’m gonna be going the “Smashwords” route soon and I might as well do a torrent just to cover the spread.

    Great intro to Bittorrent for beginners, man. Some of those concepts can take a while to truly sink in!

    I also have a Demonoid account, so if you get overwhelmed with requests I can help you out. Peace!

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      hehe..its a small small small world. I was reading your joomla vs wordpress post when your comment came in 🙂

  • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

    Interesting idea. I have steered away from bit torrent because I don’t really know much about it and I’ve always assumed it opens the door to viruses on your computer. Plus, would you want your eBook to show up first on torrent sites in search results first over your site? It sounds interesting, but maybe since I don’t know much about it, scary at the same time.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      It does open doors to viruses but as long as youre not downloading EXEs and other executable file types, you’re fine.

      Its a really unexplored avenue for content distribution which many top marketers have used without much discussion. We need to change that.