Machine of Death goes Creative Commons

David Malki ! sez,
A lot has happened in the last few weeks with MACHINE OF DEATH [ed: a fantastic anthology of stories about people who know manner but not the date of their death in advance]. The internet en masse made a self-published project that the big publishers turned down into the #1 book on Amazon. Now, less than a month later, the book that started as a crazy, crowdsourced idea is thundering into mainstream bookstores across the US and Canada. We're thrilled to have been the recipient of many, many wonderful reviews and have even been named by Amazon as a top-10 book of 2010 (Customer Favorites in Sci-Fi & Fantasy). Here is the entire book as a free, downloadable, Creative-Commons licensed, DRM-free PDF, with our compliments. We want you to read it and we hope you love it too.
Announcing the free PDF download of MACHINE OF DEATH & the free podcast.


  1. I live in Dallas, Texas. I had my copy of Machine of Death with me in the waiting room at the doctor’s office today, and the receptionist said she had seen several people reading it lately and wanted to know what it was about. I described the premise to her and another employee, who now plans to pick up a copy.

    Now isn’t it just delightful that so many people are toting this book around town?

    I’m not too surprised… it’s really a fun read!

  2. While I enjoy it and the conceit, everyone is making note of the “turned down by publishers and now #1” thing, as if it proves that they don’t know a good thing when they see it. Whether true or not, doesn’t every famous book have the same story of being turned down by every publisher except one?

    1. The difference here of course is that they were turned down by EVERY publisher. Not even one was willing to pick them up. They ended up self-publishing, which I think makes the story at least a bit more noteworthy.

      Also, I just finished the book a few days ago. Definitely recommended!

      1. I can guarantee that they weren’t turned down by every single publisher out there, there are thousands upon thousands of indie publishers out there. They may have been turned down by every *major* publisher, or at least every publisher they submitted their work to, but that “every publisher” turned them down defies belief.

        Take a look at the CISS directory of publishers and browse by province:

        And that’s only for Canada!

        Admittedly many of the “publishers” listed are merely individuals who self published their own titles,but I know that there are plenty of small publishers out there that would have been willing to take the risk had they been asked.

        1. @Marquis: You’re right. We weren’t turned down by every single publisher in existence. We were, however, considered and turned down by every top publisher, and most of the mid-level publishers, in the US. We felt there was a threshold at which a small or boutique publisher couldn’t offer us an advantage that we couldn’t seize on our own, so once everyone above that threshold declined, that’s the point at which we decided to publish it ourselves.

          Hence the wording in the post above: it’s the project “that the big publishers turned down.” I won’t list them all, but that is exactly what happened.

          1. I would note that I was responding to the commenter above my initial post, and not the wording in the post above.

            I heartily congratulate you on choosing to go with self-publishing,though I would suggest that independent publishers in between the “medium” and “boutique” scale should not be undervalued. Some are small because of their particular niche market, rather in terms of the services that they provide.

  3. “Whether true or not, doesn’t every famous book have the same story of being turned down by every publisher except one?”

    That doesn’t prove that such stories are overblown. What it most likely proves is that all the stories are true and therefore yes publishers are consistently idiots.

  4. To be fair to the publishers, most of them – if not all – said they loved the premise and the sample stories they read. But in “the current economic climate”, they didn’t dare to invest time and money in it. So if anyone is to be blamed, it’s the stockholders for not giving the publishers loose enough reins.

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