The Cheapening of Fiction

Anne C. Miles > Writing > The Cheapening of Fiction

I’ve taken Mark Dawson’s class and I’m in the 20booksto50k® group on Facebook. There’s an ethos within these groups that says to rapidly release a series. Make the first book free (or possibly the first three books) Advertise. Hook your readers into reading the series.

I don’t mean to grouse. But if I do that, it will be a while before I make any money. I love writing, but I don’t want to put out a poor quality product. I want to have the time to polish. Edit. Heck, I need to pray over my work. I can’t do any of that on such a schedule. I know my LSE® can’t.

What’s a girl to do?

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m a designer. I heard an interesting thing at Realm Builders. They said, “Indie readers are not the same as trad pub readers. Trad pub readers will wait for years for an author they love to finish a book. Indie readers will forget you. Move on.”

Is this the reasoning behind the free book mentality?

Is it true?

I don’t know.

As a designer, I know there are different classes of clients. It’s getting harder to find the upper crust these days, but the upper crust is the layer I’ve always shot for. I work with companies and individuals who value my work and trust my instincts. They listen when I recommend something. They aren’t trying to find a cheaper price. A lot of times, the cheaper price isn’t worth it. They’ll have work done 20 times to get what they want when they could have worked with me and gotten to their goal in just a few passes.

I’m kind of thinking the free book thing is the same.

I worked for 3 years, writing and editing this book. I’m not giving it away for free. I have put it in Kindle Unlimited, so if someone wants it there, they can read it. But otherwise, they gotta buy it. I’m not going to apologize for that either. I think it’s a good book. I think it’s at least worth a Starbuck’s coffee to read. If not? I need to hang it up. LOL.

And books 2 and 3 may take a while to write and edit as well. I don’t know yet. Hopefully not. I’m going to try to speed the process. But I am not going to sacrifice quality. It isn’t worth it.

One thing I’ve seen is that Craig Martelle writes every day. Every day. I am working on that as a means of speeding my process, rather than the 2-3 times a week I’ve managed thus far. It’s hard because I also “write into the dark.” I’m a pantser. I have tried the outlining thing and it just kills my creativity. Completely. I have to throw out the outline and just write. I did that and now I’m doing much better. (Sorry, Cheryl.)

I’m also a long form writer. I can write short stories. But wow is it painful. So I’m not. If one occurs to me, I’ll try and write it. But I’m a long form writer. My stories don’t like to end.

Anyhow. So that’s why my books won’t be free. If sometime down the road I choose to do a promo, that’s cool. But it won’t be any time soon. People don’t value things they don’t pay for. And my books, I hope, will be things they cherish. That’s my goal. I don’t think indie readers and trad pub readers are that different.

But I do think if we don’t value our own work, no one else will either.

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2 thoughts on “The Cheapening of Fiction

  1. I’ve done the free book thing. I can’t really say if it’s helped or not. One thing that may have bolstered it was the fact that my series was pretty long by that point — I just finished the 10th book, so giving the first two or three books in the series as freebies worked, because they hooked readers into buying the additional installments. That being said, I’ve stopped offering them for free, at least for now. So I’m constantly back and forth on whether it actually does any good. And I’m with you – I’d never recommend doing that on a brand new series.

    One thing I have noticed, though, is that the readers who have followed my series from the beginning — many of whom I now consider friends — have stuck with me patiently and loyally. There aren’t tons of them, but they’re the “upper crust” you were talking about, the ones who reach out to me regularly to voice their encouragement, and their enjoyment of my stories. That’s worth its weight in gold.

    1. Maybe it depends on genre too. I think there’s a lot of work that goes into world building, etc, that people writing cozy mysteries or romance don’t have to deal with. Regardless. I’d have a rough go of making my work free.

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