When the penniless author realised that he would need some income to survive while he wrote his next (as yet untitled book), he put up an ad on his blog saying that he had decided to sell shares in 60 percent of the U.S. royalties to the public. He has now apparently sold 5 of the 6 shares for US$2,000 each.
Matthew Moore in the Telegraph asks the obvious question about the share offering :
... given the fickle nature of literary success, and Tao’s fairly vague details on the sales of his previous books, why would anyone risk the $2,000? Tao's first novel, EEEEE EEE EEEE is currently at 29,914 in the Amazon.com sales rankings.and finds that :
... The author has a wry answer. “People who buy shares will also have more meaning in life,” he wrote. “You can call yourself a producer of my second novel if you want.”The story is also picked up on the Freakonomics blog at the New York Times.
But is selling shares in your work such an innovative idea really? As one of the commenters on the Telegraph piece points out that
... authors as diverse as Samuel Johnson and E. A. Poe sold "shares," or subscriptions for not-yet finished works to support themselves.Of course quite apart from the immediate financial payoff, Mr. Lin has managed to get a lot of free publicity for his work, as the Complete Review points out.