Of late, there’s been the misconception amongst readers that an author’s work should be free (or at least cheaper than a cup of coffee). Imagine if the same theory applied to everyone? You slave all day long at your workplace, only to have your employer tell you that you should be happy simply doing the work and that you won’t be paid for it. How would you feel?
Let me give you some insight on what a writer does to be able to give you that piece of entertainment that you think should be free of cost. A writer pens from their soul. When you are reading a piece of fiction, you are holding a person’s very soul in your hands. The author labours, day in and day out, sometimes for years, and sometimes struggling to find just the right word to push the story along. A writer sacrifices family time, dinner time and even sleep, to put that story on paper. A self-published or independent author then has to market themselves using their OWN budget. Some pay cover designers, editors and proof-readers from their OWN pocket. Then the author waits for a review (which is incredibly important, but sometimes, that review never comes.) All of this, in some reader’s minds, should not be compensated?
I spend more than a few dollars at the local coffee shop every day.
There has been a trend, of late, where some authors do price their books very low or at no cost at all. Please take into consideration the fact that some of these writers are not the same passionate souls who bleed on paper, but rather, “push out” a book as fast as they can to make “a buck”. As a reader, do not lump serious authors in with those aforementioned.
Writing is an art form. Art is one of the most important things on this planet. Art is there when you need a break from reality. Art is meant to make you feel, and think. Without art, it would be a sad, stoic world.
The next time you are searching for a book to read, consider not only the work itself, but the person behind it who is trying to pay bills, just like you. Consider their families, just like you consider yours. Consider the hand that writes that work you are enjoying, and not just the work itself. Consider paying for an e-book.
For me, personally, writing is something that I must do, like I must breathe. My dream has always been to share. This past year, I did price my two novellas for free. (They are now $1.99 and $2.99 respectively.) I stand with my fellow authors and wish to destroy the notion that art should be free. I treasure my readers and have immense gratitude towards them. To all new readers: please buy a book so that your favourite character can continue to live on.
The next time you’re in line at Starbucks, browsing Amazon as you wait, don’t gravitate towards the free or 99 cent books. Take a peek at the wonderful, enticing stories that will STILL cost you less than your coffee and danish. If you purchase a book from an author, you will give them the means to make the words live on forever – and that’s a very beautiful thing.
Barbara Avon is a multi-genre Author. She has written since she was young, pursuing her dreams and vowing to write for as long as she can. She has worked at several different media publications and will continue to publish novels until “her pen runs dry”. In 2018 she won FACES Magazine’s “Best of Ottawa” award for female Author and Spillwords “Author of the Month”. She believes in paying it forward and you can read about this belief as the theme is given voice in most of her books. Avon lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, Danny, their tarantula, Betsy, and their houseplant, Romeo.