I’m Going to Write a Bunch of Articles to Promote My New Book, if You Don’t Steal Them First

When I worked as a sales guy for the now-defunct Canadian retail chain Future Shop, my colleagues and I were constantly at each other’s throats for “scooping” customers. It was survival of the fittest — a limited number of sales to go around on any given day. In that environment, lack of ethics was a plus. Aggression was a necessity. Each week the store manager would share all of the employees’ sales results, and just about as often those lower down the list would get the boot. I was never that good at it, but then again, the Future Shop is dead, so ha, ha.

One big reason it failed was that it didn’t adapt its customer-scarcity model to the very different logic of the internet. Yes, there are still a finite number of people online, in theory, but there are also ten million times more of them. That means niches galore and abundant opportunities for collaboration and sharing without having to see the world in terms of competition. In this world, you’re no longer confined to a single, closed ecosystem like, say, a cruddy, traffic-poor sales floor in 2002. You belong to a global one, and its resources are abundant.

So I’m busting that scarcity mould that has been ill-suited to me from the get-go, and I’m opting to “invite the scoop” by giving away a bunch of work for nothing. As you may know, in June, I’m planning to put out a new novel, entitled Clickbait, A Seekers Guide to Meaning in the Modern World. Like virtually any writer these days, I’ll need to promote it myself, and so I plan to write 10–20 articles over the next few months exploring themes and ideas related to the book itself.

Naturally, all of these will be free, but I want to take it a step further: I’m going to give you the working list of article ideas and invite you to steal some or all of them for your own purposes. I’m happy to add anything you want to the list and promote anything you create from it — just let me know @lintropy or in the comments. I’m also happy to discuss any of it with you and help you build out any of the ideas if you want to develop them. Want to collaborate? I’m in!

You see, I’ve realized that, unlike consumer electronics, the more you give away information, the more that exists within the total system of humanity. Give away your phone, and someone else owns it. Give away a story idea and now two people have it.

Romanticized visions of the world as a place of struggle and scarcity are overrated, so take these ideas. Take ’em all and have an awesome day!

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Ryan Melsom has a PhD in literary studies and has spent over twenty years working in communications, design, and writing. His new novel Clickbait, A Seeker’s Guide to Finding Meaning in the Modern World comes out in June. For more Ryan magic, follow him on Twitter @lintropy, or subscribe to his Facebook page.

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