“Authors deserve to be paid, and paid properly for work that is – in truth – professional. And ways have to be found of differentiating the dross from the quality.”
I absolutely agree with your article. Especially the previous two sentences Authors really do deserve to be treated like professionals. That is, of course, when they really are professional in their writing, editing and marketing. And I agree, more than I can say, that there is an absolute crapton of dross out there. I come up on them every single day. I can understand people wanting to write, believe me. The thing is, so many throw their ‘writing’ out there with no concept of how to actually write. I am horrified by the number of books out there that are on a third grade level. If you want to write, shouldn’t you care about how your present your work? Shouldn’t you care about whether your work reflects well on you as a person, a writer, a human being?

All your points are very well taken. But of course, I do have to admit, I have found some incredible authors from receiving a “freebie” as my first introduction. And, honestly, I have gained editing clientele as well from receiving freebies I felt had exceptional potential. I love freebies, I admit. And let’s face it. If I pay for a book from an author I am not familiar with, which I still do if the book looks that good, if it is junk, I send it back for a refund. And how does that help the author? Besides the fact that I will post a review very clearly stating my objections to sloppy work, well, there is a lesson there as well.

Yes, there are problems with freebies. But there are also positives. IF, that is, you do it right. Giving away everything you write isn’t wise. Leaving your books on the ‘freebie’ lists permanently isn’t wise. But by doing some truly professional marketing (yes, there are books out there about how to market, some are even quite good) offering a freebie can actually find you new readers, who can also be new bloggers out there spreading the word. So, do it right. Do it well. Do it with professionalism. It takes work and dedication, but I don’t think it is impossible for good writers to do well with their work. It simply takes figuring out this new landscape.

The one idea that keeps coming back around to me is that of authors setting up marketing groups. Pool their books, and set up a professional marketing service to give them the publishing house experience without the publishing house expenses and limited catalog. Thoughts?

Matthew Wright

Social media guru and author Kristen Lamb recently posted on the problem of e-books being ‘free’ – and the issues that follow from the new cultural ‘norm’ where authors are paid for other writing-associated work with ‘exposure’, not cash.

Yes, this IS my typewriter. What's it doing on the Wellington Writers Walk? Er - introductions... Yes, this IS my typewriter. What’s it doing on the Wellington Writers Walk? Er –

Kristen argues that the result will basically kill professional writing for authors, and she’s right. I’ve been in the business professionally over 30 years and I haven’t seen anything quite as radical as what’s happening now. And alas, the return on books for both publishers and authors is dwindling on top of it.

To my mind the problem is the fact that we are in the middle of a revolution. It’s not ‘print vs electronic’ (a total red herring that mis-states the issue) but a more fundamental and complex change of consumer habits, price expectations, production…

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