Tom Reynolds

Author of Blood, Sweat and Tea


"Over a year after publication, it is clear that the free online book hasn’t damaged sales"

There were quite a few comments on Tom's blog where they said, 'I've just downloaded the PDF and now I'm going to go off and buy it, because it was so great that I want to contribute some money to thank you for publishing it'.

Tom Reynolds is an Emergency Medical Technician and blogger, who writes about his ambulance work on his blog, Random Acts of Reality. In 2005 he compiled some of his blog entries into a book, Blood, Sweat and Tea, published by The Friday Project, who specialise in taking content from the web and publishing it to a mainstream audience. Blood, Sweat and Tea has sold very well: it reached eighth in the bestseller chart and has been in the top 100 almost continuously

Over a year after publication, it is clear that the free online book hasn’t damaged sales. Blood, Sweat and Tea remains one of The Friday Project’s best sellers, selling about 25,000 units. That would be a strong performance for any publishing house, but is very good for a small publisher. Indeed, The Friday Project saw a spike in sales when the CC edition was released, although it is difficult to be sure whether that surge was a direct result of the release of the free version, or just an increase in interest because of media attention.

Tom believes that one of the most important factors in the books success was the community that has built up around his blog, which is very popular and garners a lot of attention. He feels that it is important to have a community of readers before releasing a book, the same way that a band gigs before releasing an album.

Both book and blog have opened up many more opportunities than would otherwise have come his way, acting as promotional material for 'Tom Reynolds as writer'. He has been commissioned to write for newspapers and appear on the radio, and may also get the opportunity to write for television drama Casualty. This additional stream of income was unexpected.

Both Tom and Clare went into the experiment with very open minds, and have been pleasantly surprised by its success. The only disappointment for Tom was lack of engagement from his readers with the Creative Commons version.

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