Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Paulo Coelho Believes That Giving His Work Away Is a Good Business Plan

Paulo Coelho
Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, according to the New York Times, is not afraid to give his work away because he thinks that will help him to sell more books in the long run.  Coelho is best known for his international bestseller The Alchemist with over 65 million copies sold to-date.  One might think that success at that level would make Coelho reluctant to let free copies of his latest book change hands; one would be wrong.

Years ago he upended conventional wisdom in the book business by pirating his own work, making it available online in countries where it was not easily found, using the argument that ideas should be disseminated free. More recently he has proved that authors can successfully build their audiences by reaching out to readers directly through social media. He ignites conversations about his work by discussing it with his fans while he is writing.

Mr. Coelho continues to give his work away free by linking to Web sites that have posted his books, asking only that if readers like the book, they buy a copy, “so we can tell to the industry that sharing contents is not life threatening to the book business,” as he wrote in one post.
Coelho is a twitter magician of sorts, with some 2.4 million followers (and, as he points out, that's more followers than Madonna can claim).  I am not a follower (yet) of Coelho's but he sounds fascinating.  Read the NYTimes article here, and you will learn facts like these: the man's first book took him 40 years to complete, but the last one was written in 3 weeks following his 4 years of research.

Now, I'm off to become a Coelho follower...


  1. I don't really care for his work, but I like this about him.

  2. I haven't read him, Susan. I never seem to find enough time to invest in him because he seemed a little "dense" to me when I scanned his work.