Anonymous asked: making your writing free doesn't magically make it worth our time
I assume this anon message was prompted by my little Amazon gambit, which is just a small sideline right now compared to my main money maker, which is a story I give away completely for free. (The mind boggles, does it not? And yet it’s a successful business model for independent web comic artists all over the web.)
You probably haven’t followed my writing career much, but when I set out I was very clear: I don’t write for everyone. And by that I don’t mean I write for myself and no one else, because if I did I wouldn’t be bothering to try to sell it, would I?
I write for myself, and anyone who wants to read the things that I like to write.
It’s a niche market, to be sure, but this is the secret of making it: it’s easier to tap the demand in a niche market than it is to try to compete with everyone else who’s fishing in the mainstream.
To people who don’t want to read my stuff… eh. That’s not an insult to me, anymore than it’s an insult to them for me to say it’s not meant for them.
To people who do… well, here’s the thing. When you write stuff that’s not like most of the stuff on the market, you’ll find people who have been looking for it and not finding it all of their lives. And these people are some of the most loyal readers and some of the best customers anyone could ask for.
I’ve been giving the vast majority of my writing away for free for a decade now, and I’ve been making my living doing that for six years. It’s a modest living, but most authors… even card carrying professional authors… never accomplish that much.
I understand my approach is unorthodox. The conventional wisdom says I’m supposed to care if you, J. Random Internetperson, want to read my stories. I’m supposed to court you. I’m supposed to chase after you.
But I don’t do that. I put my stuff out there for the people who want it. The people who don’t? Well, most of them are a bit more clever than you. If they decide it’s not worth their time—and after all, they’re better at determining that than I am—they don’t, as you have done, waste their time and energy telling me so.
It was worth my time to answer this because I never get tired of talking about my business model or my writing philosophy. Was it worth your time to ask?