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trying to save the world with a "pay it forward" attempt

 
master steward
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Sending out a dailyish with this:

Hi, this is Paul the hopeful.  

I honestly believe that my book "Building a Better World in Your Backyard" will solve a list of global problems.  With Earth Day just around the corner, I am plotting and scheming to figure out how one giant doofus in Montana can cause great, positive change for the whole planet.  Somehow it seems that if I do a grand thing on (or before) Earth Day, my devious plot might have a five times better chance of success.

So I have this book. And I have the dailyish mailing list.  

If I give the book away for free I will get zero profit - which sorta de-funds future projects.

At the same time, I would gladly trade all profits ***if*** the book somehow ends up in a million brains.  

The feedback for the book has been excellent.  Great reviews on permies, amazon and goodreads.  I think there might even be more to this book than my own personal bias.  

Try 100 things.  2 will work out and you never know in advance which 2.

I have tried a few thousand things and many things have worked to varying degrees. I am going to try this thing and … hope.   Hope it makes a massive difference through the whole "pay it forward" idea.  Throw the dice and hope.

The link below will give anybody the epub version of my book.  Please, please, please forward this link to as many people as you want. You can post this link to social media and any random person can get the book. And anybody with this link can upgrade to a physical book (or bunch of books) or audiobook pretty cheap. The link is good for four days.

  https://permies.com/goodies/92/fbde




More about the book here.



Staff note (Nicole Alderman) :

To help make it super easy for people, here is the link to get the free copy of the book:

https://permies.com/goodies/92/fbde

 
pollinator
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Might be better to share it as a .pdf since they can be opened in a web browser on desktop computers whereas epub requires users to download a reader. But then for folks on phones they might have to download a .pdf reader (at least on android) not sure if mobile phones can open epub by default either.
 
paul wheaton
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When we did the layout two years ago, people were emphatic that when looking at a digital book that epub was the way to go.  So epub is what we have.
 
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This tactic made me think about all the free ebooks I've downloaded over the years, and never read. I've been much more likely to read an ebook if I've paid for it. Even if it's $0.99.
 
master pollinator
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Thank you so much!
 
T Simpson
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Some folks do very well with the pay it forward approach, the YouTube series "The Chosen" raised 10 million for season 1 and another 1.5 in the last month for season 2. They are moving to their own platform now. It is amazing what people can do when they find valuable information they want to spread. You need to have a soil call to action and a willing audience for it to work though. Which seeing how the Kickstarter has done even just today I would say Permies has; albeit in a comparatively small niche.
 
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This is very generous.  Thank you.

I bought the book way before I came across permies.com. I probably got it from Amazon or from Betterworldbooks.com. I liked the title and the description and ultimately the whole book.

I forwarded the email. I hope others will appreciate it as I have.

PS yesterday I planted comfrey.
 
master pollinator
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I shared the link on Facebook to try to help Paul infect a few more brains.

When sharing, I feel it's important to add that newsletter sign-up is required. Some people feel it's a bait-and-switch if they're told "free stuff" and then click through and find sign-up is required. I've been dinged in the past for this with my own books. In effect, they are paying, by giving their email address and access to their inbox. I didn't see sign-up was a requirement at first, as I was already signed into the site when I clicked the link in Paul's email.
 
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I was a bit surprised to see that I was re-subscirbed to the daily-ish when I clicked on the link to get the book.

Maybe I didn't read properly, but yeah, stating clearly that you are subscribing to the daily-ish in exchange for the book would be much better.

I see a lot of blogs who offer you their "free" PDF, in exchange for you email. I used to drown in e-mails, so now, if I MUST register to get that PDF, either I don't do it, or I use a junk e-mail, meaning that you get an useless email address. And if people are not properly informed about being registered, they will either silently unsubscribe, or pester you, as it wasn't entirely clear they would be subscribed.

The day I'll have my own blog, I'd let people download the book I'd give without having to give their email address. If they like what they read, they'll come back.

Now, as for giving out the book for free, maybe just having it available for free is not enough. There might need to be something more with it; not more free stuff, but a way to encourage people to actually read and apply it. But then it's not a simple problem. Some people will find the title interesting, and start reading away, some will add it to their to read list, others will download it, then jump on the next shiny thing.

I partially disagree with what you said in the daily-ish: "you can try 100 things, 2 will work out but you never know which one". You can predict witch of those 100 will have more chances of succeeding, which will have less chances. but there is also the chaos factor, where something that seem like the best will fail, and something that seem stupid and the worst will have result beyond any expectation. Depending on who you are targeting with the book, different ways of presenting it can work. For example, if you want to target distracted people, then maybe the way to go would be to spread short version of specific parts of the books.

Hopefully this feedback helps, and thanks for the book. A few items in the table of content seem really interesting,
 
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paul wheaton wrote:When we did the layout two years ago, people were emphatic that when looking at a digital book that epub was the way to go.  So epub is what we have.



I use the lightweight Sumatra pdf instead of icky Adobe stuff and it opens epub format with no problem.

sumatra wiki

 
pollinator
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Henri Paves wrote:This tactic made me think about all the free ebooks I've downloaded over the years, and never read. I've been much more likely to read an ebook if I've paid for it. Even if it's $0.99.



I have a collection of those freebies too, but I think Paul and Shawn's book is the type that will draw people in to just take a peek, and if they're the right people for the job, they'll get comfy and browse the whole thing. I think this book would be a hit in waiting rooms of various types.
 
paul wheaton
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We are coming up on earth day.

Each earth day comes and goes and the stuff that happens seems small.  And the general advice seems light-bulb-ish.  

I desperately want all this stuff to get into more brains.  I feel like we will get far more traction in global problems.  

Now that I've started this, I'm thinking about what might be the metric to see if it worked?
 
master steward
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If 1,000 or 10.000 people download/access it, that would certainly mean something.  

I'm not sure if the software can tell you if person A sent it to person B and the downloaded it and then sent it to person C.  If it is passed on more than 3 times it means success?  10 times is awesome success?

Permies servers crash due to the hug of death from all the new people who are wanting to learn more about the topics in the book?
 
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I've already purchased a case of the book to give away (and sell to cover my cost) so i don't want one.  I am sharing the offer around.  I'm writing to say thanks for trying the "generosity " model...and to tell you a story.  True story. Around ten years ago a farmer type neighbor and I would take apples from his trees, use a grinder he'd built , and we would grind out and press apples for juice to distribute at  the Shop/studio  in the local town. We did it in the studio so it was an experiential event for people to see our makeshift setup that worked! One of those seasons was cold, wet, and miserable. But it was time.  I stopped at the farm to pick apples for the day, and proceeded to get wet and miserable and generally bitchy about the whole enterprise. I realized I was wearing myself down with that attitude ('cause I wasn't going to quit, only get more and more miserable). I decided to say thank you for every apple I picked up. I got the job done and was pretty pleased with the shift.  About then I reached for another apple, and "No shit"! The next apple I picked uo was poised on the top of the flattened field grass like a little gift.  It was shiny and beautiful, as if it had been polished (The other apples were dull from the various fungal things that grow on the sugars that are on the skin.)  Apple for the teacher came to mind...or maybe...apple from the teacher.  I showed it to Dan and some others just to prove to myself it wasn't an illusion...or a delusion.  Just telling you. Thanks for being the guy you are for the times we are in.
 
Jane Mulberry
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Measuring if it worked? How many of the new sign-ups from the free ebook become engaged readers of my newsletters is the metric I use to measure success of using a free ebook as a reader magnet to reach new readers. Open rates, and even more so click rates. Who replies to the emails? Who goes on to be an active forum member?

The book may affect people's lives and their behaviour in small ways that the author can't measure, too. We just have to put what we write out there trusting that it will make a difference, even if that's a difference we can't ever measure or see. I have been both surprised and blessed by emails or book reviews saying how much difference one of my books made to a reader.
 
master steward
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I wanted to share this on facebook, but facebook likes pictures. So I made one!
earth-day-build-a-better-world.png
Anyone is free to use this graphic to link to this thread!
Anyone is free to use this graphic to link to this thread!
earth-day-build-better-world-paul-wheaton.png
should it say 'my book'?
should it say 'my book'?
earth-day-free-build-a-better-world.jpg
or 'this book'?
or 'this book'?
 
Michael Helmersson
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"Our".

It covers two bases: two authors plus it may be seen as a product of the permies empire. Win-Win either way.

"this" book leaves the purveyor ambiguous.
 
pioneer
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Link is pinned to the top of the chat for my latest video. Hopefully a few people get it that way. 🙂
 
paul wheaton
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I had this thought that maybe a million people would go for it and maybe half those people would read the book and then when earth day rolled around ...  

It looks like about 300 people got the book.  Not exactly viral.

Well, I tried.
 
pollinator
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I've only just seen this Paul, (I browse on a tablet that doesn't access email so haven't seen the email yet)  don't get dispondent! Sharing now.
 
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Thank you for this--got it yesterday, read it, going to share with my parents, who will probably share with their friends. I grew up in an "underground" house my mom and dad built straight into a hill above a big forest, and they're still there, living the good life the best they can. My dad will definitely want to read more about rocket mass heaters.

I have to paraphrase a great line in the last chapter:

"Own your own shit."

Keeping that in mind with every decision I make--even when it seems crazy to other people. Because I get a lot of funny looks sent my way.
 
pollinator
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I shared it on my Facebook. And wrote that it's worth the effort (of reading Paul's English).
 
Michael Helmersson
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Erin Vaganos wrote: I grew up in an "underground" house my mom and dad built straight into a hill above a big forest, and they're still there, living the good life the best they can.



I'd love to see photos of your childhood home and/or hear any words of wisdom you or your parents might have to share. It's not common, so that kind of long-term data gathering is highly valuable.

I imagine your upbringing must have been quite unconventional and creativity-inspiring.
 
Erin Vaganos
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Michael Helmersson wrote:

I'd love to see photos of your childhood home and/or hear any words of wisdom you or your parents might have to share.



Next time I visit, I'll get photos--they have a whole album of pics they took when they were building.

I can tell you that that place is the only place that really feels like home to me and my younger sister--the roots go deep. When you build and grow and take care of a place yourself, you have a deeper connection to the land, as I'm sure many people on this forum can tell you. And the forest isn't just a forest--trees and ferns and birds and animals and rocks alone--it's a whole organism unto itself. It's always changing but somehow always feels the same. And ours had a creek running through the middle that cut through the Marcellus Shale--we found some pretty awesome fossils.

I've been moved out for nearly two decades now, but I can tell you, as a child, that life was magical. And scary--snakes swallowing toads, freaking wasp nests, coyotes dragging away fawns into the brush, bears demolishing the burning barrel and bird feeders, fires ripping up the hillside...there were some crazy things that happened. And as my dad says: it's supposed to be scary sometimes--you're not the only one that lives here. You just never knew what you might see--I remember one late spring were were playing in there and it started to drizzle and all these tree frogs came dropping down out of the branches.

My dad does not like giving advice at all, but one thing I've learned from him--don't get discouraged about projects taking a long time. If you dedicate a little time each day, knock it out in chunks, have a goal in mind--it will get done and it will be how you want it. And it will be yours. When they first built the house, they had a lot of friends helping, so they finished in about a year and a half. And they were creative with the materials they had--the face of our house was a plaster mixture with cross-sections of trees in sort of like a mosaic pattern. But his other building projects (he put an addition onto the house by himself)--some of them took years. Some of them are still going on. One of the last times I visited, he was getting up before dawn to go down in the woods for a few hours each morning to make a more direct trail to the creek--hewing a lot of switchbacks because that terrain is steep--so he can connect other trails and collect all his firewood piles easier.

Sorry for the rambling...we should start a thread with stories of growing up this way...
 
Michael Helmersson
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Erin Vaganos wrote:

Michael Helmersson wrote:

I'd love to see photos of your childhood home and/or hear any words of wisdom you or your parents might have to share.



Sorry for the rambling...we should start a thread with stories of growing up this way...



You really shouldn't be apologizing for this post. It was beautifully written and fun to read. I wish you'd written more, in fact. Your Dad sounds like the kind of people this world is desperately in need of--people not only willing, but happy, to toil away at tasks that don't bring immediate rewards. There are unfathomable possibilities available to people if they just commit to an hour per day of labour. And labour can be enjoyable when it is in pursuit of something beautiful and your own. Paid work has its conveniences and benefits, but it has stripped us of a level of self worth that a paycheque can't buy.
I think your idea of a new thread about growing up "this way" is brilliant.
 
Nicole Alderman
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An avalanche starts with a few pebbles. So hang in there. We're talking it up on The Grow Network, and the movement is growing.
 
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I got the book and am part way through.  I'm sad about lightbulbs. So sad.  But inspired to do better!  And share it with other people!  I'm excited to continue reading.  If you change only one person, I call that a success.
 
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I bought my dozen from you most of a year ago and gifted away a handful - to those I knew would read and/or pay-forward their copy and links/references here.  

Earth Day is a good time/reminder to send the remainder (6, 7?) out into the wild.   We have a "little library" we feed with other books, so that deserves at least 1, maybe a small stack at the counter of the small-town coop grocery where we buy our Chicken Feed...   they aren't doing much good in a box in the corner!

Thanks for writing the book, providing this forum, etc.   And instigating more *pay it forward* as well.    I have my own aspirations (as an oldster) around SKIP, but your efforts there are very inspirational...  
 
I found a beautiful pie. And a tiny ad:
Building Your Permaculture Property | Free Permaculture Summit | April 23-25
https://permies.com/t/159045/Building-Permaculture-Property-Free-Permaculture
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