1. XLadyX
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    XLadyX Banned

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    Paid vs. Free

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by XLadyX, Feb 17, 2015.

    Since last I've been here, I'm still having the same issue: not knowing which project to finish, argh! Lol, but I have been steadily working on both at the same time so I'm not actually wasting time.

    I have a free story I want to get out fast. My free stories have been downloaded like hot cakes, but I kind of want to get paid now, but the free story I'm writing has an important message to it that I want to get out as fast as I can.

    On the other hand, my paid one, I will get money from it and it also has meaning behind the story, but my freebie one [is the one about bullies], I've decided to make free since I think that type of story could be helpful to someone else and I can get more readers and subscribers that way for my paid story. Free stories have often worked for me that I'll get new readers that way who will keep in touch with me for my other projects because they liked what they read.

    Which project would you work on first to finish all the way through: the paid one or the free one?
     
  2. Crawl
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    Crawl Member

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    That's like web-site traffic monetization. First you invest, offer free and useful content (text, video, feature, etc.) to attract visitors and create a positive reputation for your brand/name. Only then, you can start earning by offering some additional features, options, content or whatever it is.
     
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  3. XLadyX
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    XLadyX Banned

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    Exactly. At this other forum, people are always bashing people for writing for free. Some people even write certain genres although they're not into those genres because those genres sell and I will never do that. I write what I have a good time with writing. I couldn't get into writing about say vampires because that's not my thing. I write free content a lot and am saving my best of the best for the paid one.
     
  4. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is definitely a good way to try and go about establishing an audience. By doings this early, while developing your writing, you can have some backing ready for the releases you plan on selling. I've thought a while about this. I think it's perfect for a collaborative effort.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think if a writer wants to distribute their work for free, that's their business. I have seen writers submit for no pay to anthologies that the publisher is going to turn around and sell, or submit for no-pay to sites that generate ad revenue from the stories they post. I don't like that. If someone is getting paid as a result of the content, the writer should be one of those people.
     
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  6. XLadyX
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    XLadyX Banned

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    Oh, that, I definitely won't allow someone to do that to my stories which I published for free. They don't get the profits especially if they didn't write it.
     
  7. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    I think it depends on why you want to write? Is it something you just like doing as a hobby or do you want a serious career out of it? If you want to make a career I would start getting paid. If your stories are really good, why wouldn't you want to make money off them? Personally at this point in my life I would work on what is going to get me paid and taken seriously. You may have different goals that me so knowing what you want long term will be different for you. What you might want to do is consult with other successful authors who have done what you are doing and see what they would suggest.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It depends on the traffic/exposure the person making the profit can offer the person doing the free writing. It's akin to buying advertising. You need a return on the dollars you spend, but that return is not always cash.

    There's another issue to balance, people sometimes equate cheap with poor quality. 99 cent eBooks are fine when they are short, or children's books. But some authors find people equate the 99 cent price with poor books while $2.99 doesn't carry that stigma.

    Marketing is a science with a large knowledge base already established. We need not start from scratch. You can look at that publication to see it's circulation and reputation before submitting a free story. If they take in poor work to pad the pages, chances are good you will be lumped in with the chaff.

    Look at EL James, she developed a following for 50 Shades free on a fan fiction site before finishing and selling her books. Some writers have well developed blog followers before selling their books. A blog involves a large investment of time.

    The bottom line, advertising has value, but it can go wrong if not managed right.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @GingerCoffee I think an author distributing her own work for free is fine, but it rubs me the wrong way when someone else is making money on it but hasn't paid the author. As for what the exposure is worth, I think that's changing and it can potentially be worth more. About 10 years ago I had an editor from Baen tell me that when an author submits a work with a list of non-paying publications, it just tells him that even the author doesn't think her work is good enough to be paid for. I think that's a short-sighted view, and maybe less common now as the landscape has changed, but I wonder how many editors still look at non-paying credits in that way.

    But the 50 Shades example is a good one. Also, as I mentioned in another thread, The Martian, by Andy Weir, has been a recent, successful science fiction book that was initially published free online, then self-published, then picked up by a traditional publisher.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If a writer feels used by a publisher or website one is giving free work to, then chances are good the author is not getting good value in return.

    But there's another aspect here. Know your market. The goal of a free submission is usually to get exposure and get your name circulating among readers. Listing the publications as 'experience' or evidence of a readership is a different animal. Those publications need to be recognized by that publisher as discriminating to be of value on a resume.

    On the other hand, think of the young adult applying for their first job. You list your volunteer work, maybe a big school project. For an employer who is looking for work experience, you won't get the job. For an employer looking for promise of a hard worker, you might.

    You need to know what that publisher is looking for.
     
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  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yep. I think this is exactly right. You always want to research a potential publisher before submitting, and tailor your approach accordingly.
     

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