Sometimes reading discussions about ebooks and ebook buying habits on the internet is extremely frustrating. As in, I have to bite my tongue and sit on my hands not to get in arguments because there are people out there with almost right, halfway there but still so wrong misinformation about ebooks, publishing and piracy and so on.
It’s doubly frustrating because these are people who I know enjoy scifi and fantasy and might possibly buy my book, so when these discussions come up it’s seeing their true colors and man is it depressing.
Sentiments that writers should write for the love of writing and work in retail like everyone else in order to support themselves make me livid because it adds to this perception that writing isn’t a real job. Writing is hard mental work and to write 10,000 words a day takes me ten hours and that is if I know where I’m going in my story. And it took me years to get to the point where I can write that many words in a day. I get to the end of 10,000 words and I feel drained and my brain feels like there is a wall in it. (And sometimes it’s still trying to chatter at me. Write more! Write more!) I can’t write 10,000 words a day and work another job. It’s just not possible. There isn’t enough energy in the world for that.
I want, my dream, is to be able to support myself on my creativity (as well as has something resembling normal health.) This concept that I should write and put my works out there for free simply for the love of writing is ludicrous. I’m not writing for the wrong reasons. I write because I have stories I want to tell and characters I love. I also want to be able to do it full time, all the time, without having to worry about being kicked out of my apartment and not having enough to eat.
There is no argument that you can give me that will convince me that I owe anyone free books. If you want “free” stuff, read fan fiction. Go to project Gutenberg and get the classics that are out of copyright. If you want good original fiction, then be prepared to pay for it because my time is valuable and I owe you nothing.
If you’re worried about not liking something, Amazon puts 4 chapters of every book up to look at to read. That’s a chapter more than any agent gets. That’s one more chapter than I put here on my website. Four chapters is more than enough to go “I like this book” or “I don’t and I’m not going to take a chance on it.” There are no guarantees. No reader is going to love every book they come across.
I know finding good books is difficult. I have bought books and authors and ended up sending them to Becca because I just can’t read them past three books. I have paid for those books because it was the right thing to do. It was a risk I was willing to take. They got my 25cents and a sale that gave their publishers the incentive to give them more money and another contract to write more books. And I’m pleased for those authors! I may not want to read more of their books but other people do! Yay!
Then there are the readers who will only read something if it is “free.” If they get it from the library, it’s good because that tells publishers that there is a demand for that author. But being an indie author there are limited ways that I can make my work free. I can put it in Kindle Unlimited. However, I have to pay for Kindle Unlimited and then hope I get enough page views to pay the subscription back. (When KU is deluged in free books so I’d have to pay for marketing on top of it.) Only then do I start making a profit from it. Also, if you have your book in Kindle Unlimited, you are obligated because of the TOS not to put it in any other platform. You can’t sell your book through Draft2Digital or any other service that gets you into Google or Barnes&Noble or anywhere else. Yes, most ebook sales are through Amazon, but why limit yourself?
But then to see that these readers who find authors they enjoy and will read their “Free” books (in KU,) won’t in turn buy the series of that same author that isn’t free and thus support that author where it matters, with their pocketbook. It’s frustrating because I know why authors put out ‘free’ books. It’s the same reason Baen gives out free ebooks. They are giving the reader a taste of their writing, a taste of their style and characterizations, so in turn that the reader will turn around and buy their books. And with the attitude I’m seeing, I don’t see how this even works. Maybe some will buy, but is it enough to justify the income you’re losing from that ‘free’ book when a majority aren’t going to bother.
(I’ve always been skeptical of this ‘free’ to get sales anyways.)
Maybe there are just too many free indie books out there for readers to choose from and why bother buying books if that is the case?
Yes, there are a lot of independent books being published. Indie authors publish their books and they are buried in a deluge of other indies hoping for a piece of the pie. Bad covers and bad summaries exist and those are marketing problems, not writing problems and have nothing to do with ebook piracy and sales or why stealing is wrong.
(If the book has bad grammar, bad writing style and bad story then there’s nothing that can be done about it. But that should be clear in the look inside portion.)
Our work matters. Our work has value. Free books. That is putting no value on yourself. Readers stealing books. That’s them putting no value or respect in your time and effort.
In other words. It’s Monday, I’m venting, and in the words of Garfield the Cat. “I hate Mondays.”