As I’ve mentioned on a few blog posts, I’m currently working on a
never-ending Phantom Warriors story that will not die that I intend to put out as a free read. As an author, I think free reads/low priced reads can be very helpful in reaching new readers. Free/low priced reads also reward loyal readers. They’re great. I have nothing against them. But there’s a difference between putting one or two books up as free reads and putting your entire library up. (Yes, I know there are exceptions out there, but they are just that EXCEPTIONS.)
As a writer and a shopper, I understand that not everyone can afford to buy my books. I’m genuinely sorry that’s the case. Times are tough right now. I get it. I have been seriously broke in the past. Ramen Noodle/Jiffy Bran Muffin level of broke. Thank goodness those items were priced as low as they were or I’d have needed my parents to send me food care packages, when I first started at the airline. I didn’t have money for buying books. I was lucky I could afford my apartment and my used POS car at the time. I was also lucky I had extremely kind neighbors, who fed me on a regular basis. So when I have folks telling me that they can’t afford my books and would like them put up for free, I do understand where they’re coming from and I sympathize. I really do. Broke is never fun. And I hope their circumstances turn around soon.
Here’s the thing that folks need to keep in mind though, writing is how I make my living. I don’t have another job. This IS my job. This is my career. Although I enjoy writing, it’s not my hobby. If it was, I wouldn’t have bothered to enter contests or send my work to New York. I’ve always wanted to be a published author. It’s been my dream since I was a freshman in high school. That means writing something good enough to be accepted by an agent and bought by a publisher. (In my case, not necessarily in that order.) I don’t write for the pleasure of it. If I did, then I’d honestly NEVER publish a story. I’d keep them to myself and read them at my leisure. Published writers stay published by people buying their work. When people stop buying for whatever reason, then those same writers are often forced to stop writing. They have to make a living someway. If it’s not writing, then they move onto something else to feed their families. Doesn’t mean that they stop writing. It just means that they stop sharing their stories with the public.
Every avid reader has experienced this at some point. I know I have. You’re enjoying an author or a series, then suddenly the series stops cold, when the last book ended on a cliffhanger. There are no new announcements of upcoming books. The author seems to disappear. Nine times out of ten this is due to lack of sales. Readers either hated the stories and didn’t buy them or they went to used bookstores (which are not counted toward sales for the author) or the books were pirated. Whatever the reason, the publishing house decides to halt the series and not buy any more from the author. It’s a harsh reality, but it happens all the time. If you’re wondering where your favorite author went, look no further.
Prices on some books have NEVER been lower than they are right now. As a reader, I’m THRILLED by this. I can try new authors that I would’ve never picked up otherwise. As a writer, it allows me to make a living. It’s a very confusing time for both readers and writers. For Indie writers, the middle man has been removed. This is both very good and can be bad. It skews expectations…expectations that may lead some people to believe that all the books should be free. If all books were free, then one of two things would happen. Either writers would have to embrace a TON of advertising to make up for the ‘free’ price or there would be a mass exodus of writers (my guess is close to 90%) because they wouldn’t be able to afford to write nor would they have the time, since they’d need other jobs to support themselves.
Because I know that not everyone can afford my books, I go out of my way to support my local libraries. I want people to have access to books. I want them to read. But access to books should never come at the cost of someone’s livelihood.
The Dark Knight Rises…
It’s going to be very difficult to talk about this movie without giving away spoilers, but I will try. The Dark Knight Rises picks up a few years after the previous movie. Things are good in Gotham City. So good that Batman has pretty much retired. He’s not handling retirement well and has turned into a recluse. The story is about being broken and rising from the ashes. It’s wrapped around the social commentary about the widening gap between ‘the haves’ and ‘the have nots’. There are obvious parallels to what’s happening in the real world. The villain is sufficiently bad. There were some wonderful/powerful moments between Bruce Wayne and Joseph Gordon Levitt. One in particular that discussed masks was my favorite scene. I had a couple of quibbles about how two things were handled, but they were minor and did not affect my enjoyment. It was a darker movie than the previous ones. I really doubted that they’d be able to top The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger, but I believe they did. Some people didn’t like the ending. I thought it was appropriate.
In fact, I thought this was a GREAT movie. One I’d highly recommend and will go see again, despite one f*cktards need to diminish it and destroy people’s lives. It was only after I’d watched The Dark Knight Rises that I realized the irony of his ‘selfish, psychotic’ actions. It’s not only Batman who rises in this movie. It’s the people. The people rise to fight against extreme violence, tyranny, and oppression. Some lose their lives. All are changed forever. But still they RISE.
In this case, life will imitate art and he (along with all the other f*cktards who’ve come before him and will come after) will LOSE because as a people WE WILL RISE.