Monday, April 16, 2007

Money for nothin'...and novels for free

Ed here: The battle is joined. There are writers, profession even known writers, who are putting some of their material, including novels, on the net free for readers to share, some of them in the belief that this will help their careers. David Wellington is one of them. Galleycat published this about him today. Any opinions?


More from "Scab" Writers; Also Agents & Editors

David Wellington has been making his horror novels available online for the last three years, and it was based on the success of those ebooks that he's been able to get publishing deals with Thunder's Mouth for Monster Island and Monster Nation and Three Rivers Press for the almost-in-stores 13 Bullets. So when he heard about Howard V. Hendrix's scorn for webscabs, whom he described as writers "undercutting those of us who aren't giving it away for free and are trying to get publishers to pay a better wage for our hard work," Wellington felt more than qualified to write a forceful rebuttal.

"I'm so surprised at the bizarre notion he has of how publishing works," Wellington began, "and how it should work. Writers of speculative fiction don't comprise a union. They are in direct competition with one another, both for the attention of editors and publishers and also for sales to book-buyers." He also found the use of the term "wage" odd, given that creative writers are actually paid advances against royalties. "Writers are on their own to get their own careers going, and to make their own rent," he advises. "If giving away work for free online works toward that end I can't recommend it enough."*

2 comments:

Richard S. Wheeler said...

I am on David Wellington's side. These days a novelist needs to give away his early work until he builds a readership. People buy authors, not titles. I wish him success.

Chap O'Keefe said...

I think David and Richard are deluded. If this trend grows, the kind of readership they build, having grown accustomed to free reads, will desert them for the "next cab off the rank" as soon as they, or the publishers they acquire, start asking for money.