We All Love Free Stuff

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Sandra Wheeler, whom I’ve mentioned several times recently, has been blogging her erotic novel, Falling In Cascades, for free. In a post yesterday, she tackles this question:

Why on earth are you blogging your novel?

Her answer’s worth a read. She addresses the issues anyone who writes finds familiar. “Confidence” is perhaps the biggest one: I don’t feel what I write is good enough to ask for money for it.

I dropped in my 2 cents (no pun intended) over at Sandra’s blog. You may click here to read it in full at her site. (Note: if this is your first visit to my blog, “my uncle” is a HarperCollins-published novelist.) I’ve reprinted my main points below:

….I had this same debate with my wife over a year ago. I had thought I would simply toss my โ€œPassportsโ€ on the net. However, she โ€“ businesswoman she is โ€“ was adamant it warranted something back for all the effort Iโ€™d put into crafting it. โ€œDonโ€™t you dare give it away,โ€ she assailed me. โ€œThereโ€™s tons of junk out there that sells loads. Yours is much better. And itโ€™s not just me saying that.โ€

The others who were saying that were its proofreaders โ€“ people we knew read it, and also passed it to several trusted friends or other family (who didnโ€™t know me) who also read it. The gist of my wifeโ€™s argument was one I agreed with, but I needed her to reinforce it for me: if you work hard, you deserve to get paid for what you produce.

Giving away a novel for free is entirely a personal decision. Myself, Iโ€™ve sold more than I have expected so far. When I check and notice sales, it always spurs me forward as I work on the sequel. I am pleased I self-published. I control it all. Every word of it is mine and mine alone: I am intensely proud of it. No one tells me what should be in it, or what should be left out, or when there should be sex. (Would a painter have an editor?: โ€œOh, there needs to be a house in there, top right, among the trees.โ€) It wonโ€™t be โ€œstolen.โ€ Above all, who knows, at some point I might sell lots?

Just because your writing is imperfect does not mean it is not publishable. No oneโ€™s writing is perfect. Repeat: no ones. My uncle canโ€™t spell. Heโ€™d be doomed without an editor. Iโ€™ve also read numerous books that had โ€œprofessional editingโ€ jobs, and which also still had obvious typos.

I took the view pre-publication (and which I maintain as my basic position) that I know I have not written โ€œWar and Peace,โ€ but, by the same token, itโ€™s more than a decent read. Several proofreaders absolutely loved it. So while my book(s) may not change the world, I believe they are worth something.

Writing is no different than being a plumber or a lawyer. You have a skill in storytelling and entertainment. It is like being โ€œself-employed.โ€ You really deserve to set yourself up so as to eventually perhaps see some (even just a tiny) return for your creative struggles.

Be confident about what you do! It is uniquely you! No one else writes exactly what you do!….

I believe that’s all pretty rational and reasonable. Come on….

Deer at the door. [Photo by me, 2010.]
Deer at the door. [Photo by me, 2010.]

….don’t look so surprised!

All kidding aside, I took that photograph of a deer looking in through our Catskills lounge sliding door a few years back. I’m not planning on ever publishing a book of cute, spontaneously taken, upstate New York wildlife photos. If I were, though, I probably wouldn’t have blogged that on here for free. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a good Saturday!

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