I just received my author’s copies of my new book in the mail yesterday, and it reminded me that I need to figure out exactly what my position is on making money here.

I do have a full-time source of income, and I have things that I have to pay for (home, kids, etc.). But at the same time, I have a real desire to help people wake up to what’s really happening in our country, a drive that is completely disconnected from my day job.

I would love nothing more than to start generating a full-time income from spreading the word, so to speak – it would allow me to align my beliefs with my work, and would also allow me to spend much more time focused on generating and distributing content, and developing the kinds of relationships that could give birth to a real network of like-minded people.

But at the same time, charging for content reduces the pool of people you can reach by 90% or more. So if you sincerely want to start a revolution in thinking, that’s the last thing you should do.

I think about the Founding Fathers, all of whom (or at least most of whom) were wealthy landowners, and who risked everything they had – including their lives – by declaring America to be a sovereign country. They didn’t try to monetize their efforts; no one charged people to see early drafts of the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist papers ran in newspapers for free.

“Don’t worry about people stealing an idea,” said computing pioneer Howard Aiken. “If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.” It’s hard enough to get people to listen to you without putting up barriers like paying for content.

But still, money would help – if I can develop revenue streams tied to the effort to get the message out, that means I can devote more time to the work.

So here’s the approach I’m going to try to take:

  • My book, How You Got Screwed, is a paid product. That’s out of my hands; a publishing company is printing and distributing it, and they – and the retailers – won’t do that for free. It’s a great channel that will reach people I couldn’t reach in any other way, so book-length efforts will go that way in the future as well.
  • Blogging (and Twitter, if I actually decide to tweet) will be free. It’s a great source of information for easy dissemination and a good way to start conversations and relationships.
  • I’m writing a set of shorter-length guides, focused on practical things people can do. These will be offered for free with a request for donations if people feel so moved.
  • If I decide to go the speaking route (very questionable, as I’m doing this under a pen name), those will be paid engagements. My most limited resource is my time, and to travel and talk would require compensation.

So that’s the strategy – we’ll see what happens…

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