Totally Off Topic: How To Distribute Your Words and Music Using Bit Torrent

Posted: June 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

My friend Wanda Shapiro is a first-time novelist. She is facing a fork in the road; that same fork is facing many new artists of today. It doesn’t matter if you are a musician, a writer, or perhaps visual media is your sandbox, you have a decision to make.

Do I spend great time and effort getting signed up with a large publishing company, or do I do the damn thing myself?

For Wanda, the answer is clear. She has decided to publish her novel herself. Not only can you purchase her novel Sometimes That Happens With Chicken on Amazon (affiliate link)  but you can also download it for free here.

I am always inspired by people like Wanda (who you can learn more about here) so I decided to help in some small way. 

One of my suggestions was to make her novel available on Bit Torrent. Why?

You want to make your work available on Bit Torrent for the same reason you want to be on Twitter. Thats the virtual water cooler around which everybody gathers. The difference is, when someone is on Bit Torrent, they are expicitly there to download something. Why not your new book or CD?


If you are asking yourself “what the hell is Bit Torrent and how can I use it to distribute my own intellectual property”, you’ve come to the right place.

In the great tradition of Napster (remember Napster, kids?), Bit Torrent is a file sharing technology. 

The technical innards of Bit Torrent are much different than that of Napster, but for our purposes, that is irrelevant.

The only thing we care about is how can we use it to spread our thought far and wide

Here is how.

First thing you want to do is download a Bit Torrent client. I suggest http://utorrent.com

Once it’s installed on your computer, point your browser to one of many popular Bit Torrent websites.

I recommend http://thepiratebay.org or http://demonoid.com or http://isohunt.com

The Pirate Bay is a great first introduction to Bit Torrent, so perhaps you want to start there.

Demonoid requires you to have an account; the accounts are given out by invitation only. Leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

Note: These are huge torrent sites that are often very busy, not to mention always on the run from the authorities that try to shut them down because some users are distributing copyrighted content (new movies, new music, etc.) We are not interested in that content, but I say that so that you approach this patiently, it will be worth it. I promise.

 

Spend some time familiarizing yourself with what’s available on these sites. There are many e-books that are submitted using Creative Commons  or GPL license . Your book/music, even software,  will be distributed under the same licensing guidelines.

Enter the name of your favorite book, or a favorite author in the search field and see what comes up

Your search results can be listed based on date (default), or SE/LE.

SE stands for Seeders. Seeders are people who have the complete file and are actively sharing it. LE stands for Leeches. Leechers are people who have a file (or part of the file) and are only downloading but not sharing. Fuckers.

More SEs, the better. In other words, larger the number of SEs, the faster the download will take.

To actually download a file of your choosing, simply click on a download arrow or the file itself. You should be able to see the download link somewhere.This will open your Torrent client, specify the location where you would like to save it and wait till the progress bar reaches 100% to open. Congratulations, you just downloaded your first Torrent.

Note: Dont drink the water out of the toilet. In other words, don’t be stupid. Stay away from .EXEs, even .ZIP files. Download only the type of files that are safe for your computer. Something like .pdf will not harm your computer.


Once you’ve had some fun looking around and downloading, it’s time to create an account on one of these sites so that we can actually contribute to the collective.

Create an account and upload your intellectual property

Don’t forget to “tag” your file with the names of similar authors, or similar books. In other words, think about some kid sitting home bored out of his head. He might not know who you are, but is likely to search for Stephen King. If you think your book might be of interest to Stephen Kind fans, then tag it with “Stephen King”. Makes sense?

Once uploaded, you will be the ONLY Seeder

So, let your friends how they can receive the wonders of Bit Torrent and download your book; make sure they not only download but seed as well. Remember, more seeders, the better.

Also, more seeders means you can shut down your computer and some kid in Sweden can still download your book.

A well known marketer has succesfuly released his first book in this manner

Seth Godin’s Unleashing the Idea Virus (affiliate link)  was, and still is, available for free via torrents.

Since then, he has released many books with a large publishing company because, let’s face, that does have its benefits.

The point is, you don’t have to sit on your ass waiting for a large publishing company to come to your door; you can start making waves on your own, you just need to know how.

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