Crack Dealing as Business Model

Yesterday someone said “I cant believe you give this stuff away for free” talking about “The Witch’s Friend.” Frankly–heh–I’m still in shock that someone paid me for “Frank.” Floundering around all summer with “Flock,” trying to figure out what to do with it and how, it was/is, to put it mildly, not easy. I think “Flock” is great. I’ve read other books this summer that I thought “Flock” was as good as.

So, you know, it’s hard. You start to wonder if you’re wrong about your own talent, if you’re right about your talent, but lack the skills to sell it. Or hell, people, you could have talent, mad selling skills, and you still have to luck out and find the person who says “Yep, I love this, too.” It’s like being nearsighted and trying to thread a needle across the room from you.

But mostly, being me, I just think I’m probably not as good a writer as I need to be in order to achieve my goals. And that’s depressing.

So, I joke and say that I give stuff away because I want it to be like crack, that you get some for free, you get hooked, and later you’re willing to pay for it. and you know, on my best days, when I’m metaphorically strutting into the ring like Jerry Lawler, I do feel that way.

But mostly, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. I’m floundering, here. Not in a bad way, but just in a “let’s acknowledge it” way. I really like “The Witch’s Friend.” I enjoyed writing it. I like rereading it now (though I go back and forth on the first part, honestly. I think it’s important for thematic reasons, but I don’t know that I like it as much as the other parts.). And we have a tradition here at Octobers.

It didn’t occur to me to try to sell it. I mean, to whom? It’s a novella, basically. S. mentioned that it might be a good fit for a Kindle edition of some sort and I think that may be a good home for it. Later.

I guess what I’m trying to get at here–and doing a bad job–is that my writing has benefited tremendously from blogging. I intend to continue to honor the traditions we have, for as long as they’re not burdensome. I like having readers who are interested in what I write and are happy to read along as I test my wings and try different things.

If there’s a shift to be made to “I should be getting paid,” I haven’t made it in my head yet. In part, because it seems like the world so strongly disagrees about “Flock.” I’m still in the “I would like to be getting paid, maybe someday” mindset.

But even then, even if I do get paid someday to do this–well, not this. But writing fiction. And yes, “Frank” I know. So, if getting paid becomes more regular, I still like sharing with y’all. And I guess I will continue to do that for as long as I like it.

If it’s stupid to not try to convert your audience into paying customers at the same time you’re trying to convert yourself into someone who’s getting paid, then I guess I’m that kind of stupid. Which, you know, doesn’t bode well. Ha ha ha ha ha.

5 thoughts on “Crack Dealing as Business Model

  1. You can do both. I’ve seen web apps that are free on the web but if you want to download the app, it’s like .99. So basically you’re giving it away but if somebody wants the freedom to pack it along on their kindle while they traverse the rain forest, or some other not internet enabled area, they pay the small fee for the convience.

  2. Novellas may be a real untapped market for e-readers. I’d be interested so long as it was appropriately priced. Or, at least I’d be interested after my birthday kindle comes in November.

  3. Novellas–also known as “Kindle Shorts”–are actually doing better now than Kindle books. Even though in many cases they’re priced the same. ($1.99)

    Why? Because the Kindle Shorts are by known quantities. People who have published with a mainstream publisher and have name/brand recognition.

    Where am I going with this? Just that the gold rush of selling titles on Kindle seems to be petering out and people are wanting new things by proven quantities. New things that don’t cost forty fucking bucks.

    I think if you want to exploit the crack model (aka “freemium”) your best bet would be to put City Of Ghosts on a limited-time free Kindle basis and broadcast the hell out of it. Free for two weeks or whatever. It’s October, and if you are free for a week or 10 days and get charted, then you might see sales around Halloween week. And your name will be out there.

    Meantime, get WF on the platform for $1.99 as a novella and it can hike along with the press for CoG’s freemium release. You would be FAR from the first blogger to put blog entries as a packaged saleable item on Kindle. I’ve even bought a few for a buck or two when that’s easier than tracking down the blog.

  4. Are you aware of the “Creative Commons” people/movement? They had lawyers write legally-binding licenses that allow creators to share their works within certain parameters that they control. This way, you can release a novella under, say, a CC-ND-NC (Creative Commons No-Derivatives Non-Commercial) license, that will let people download and give copies (electronic, paper, whatever) to other people they think might like your work, but if somebody wants to make money off of it (selling books, making a movie, etc.) then they have to come back to you and negotiate a traditional license.

    There are also channels and search engines that have grown up around Creative Commons that might help people find and share your work. This is really beneficial for new authors, trying to get name recognition.

    BTW, if you wanted to release a work under a license that would let people make a non-commercial movie based on that work, and share it (non-commercially), then you could use a CC-SA-NC license (Creative Commons, Share-Alike, Non-Commercial). They would be forced to license their movie under CC-SA-NC so that others could build on their work (that’s the Share-Alike part).

    All CC licenses require that you be given “acknowledgement” as the creator, even if someone is allowed to “re-mix” your work into a different format or a derived work.

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