Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Woo HOO! THREE new *FREE* books up at P&S Press!

Yes. That means exactly what it seems to mean: come on over to Plain & Simple Press and check out my new, ever-so-profitable (to you!) marketing scheme: GIVING AWAY books to you and all your friends, relations, lovers, and enemies. For free.

Y’know, I’ve had several books in progress for quite some time. Two of them are now finished. One is still wandering around the veldt.

But… Y’also know that I find the present publishing landscape profoundly discouraging, far more so than it was in the Good Ole Days when all you had to do was engage a talented agent to get your Fine Works of Literature published. I’ve sold two books on my own — academic presses are pretty easy — and one through an agent. All three, we might add, to real-world, heavy-hitting publishers.

But my last agent passed on to her Heavenly Father some years ago. At the time I was so engaged in my academic career — which mostly entailed teaching and managing university programs — that I failed to bestir myself to find someone to take her place. And of course when one reaches one’s dotage, hiring a literary agent is about as lost a cause as getting hired by a company or government agency that will pay you a living wage.

Hence: Amazon.

Yeah. Amazon will let you (and all your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and long-lost grade-school friends) publish your golden words in Kindle format and try to sell them on your own.

Therein lies the problem: marketing. I am not a marketer. I do not want to be a marketer. And so I do not market. Thus the golden words — five real books and an uncountable number of “romantic erotica” squibs — rake in about $15 a month. Wowzers.

Yet I write.

I write because I am.

That’s what writers do.

One recent day it struck me that if I’m not going to make any fortune on my written opus, I might as well…not make any fortune. Why not simply give it away?

Selling on Amazon is roughly the equivalent of giving your work away. Why pay Amazon for the privilege?

Why pay anyone for the privilege, when you can give your books away yourself? That, after all, is what a website is for: giving your writing away. No?

An acquaintance of mine does exactly that, with the result that he sells far more books off his own sites than he ever could sell on Amazon…and he doesn’t have to split the proceeds with that vast heart of darkness. Exactly how his marketing plan works, I do not fully understand, though I study it. Someday I may figure it out. Or not.

Meanwhile, I write.

It’s always gratifying when someone reads your work. That, after all, is why you write. More or less.

Not for any pecuniary reason. Really.

So. I’ve decided I’m going to give these things away.

Plain & Simple Press will post a chapter or a section of each book every few days. You can read them at the site blog, one chapter at a time. Or, if you’d like to read a whole book online, you can go to the site’s pages dedicated to the respective Great Works:

Ella’s Story

An e-telenovela about people who live ordinary lives as citizens of a vast interstellar empire.

The Complete Writer: The Ultimate Guide to Writing, Publishing, and Living the Writer’s Life

Brings twenty-five years of writing, publishing, and academic experience to bear on issues that most concern people who want to be writers.

If You’d Asked Me, I’d Have Told You

Sassy, staid, off-the-wall, matronly, bitchy, conservative, liberal: with you I share the wisdom of the ages. The ages of a very long life.

Alternatively, you could buy one of these books in its entirety! I can provide it to you as a PDF, an ePub, or a printed paperback, handsomely designed and packaged. The Complete Writer and If You’d Asked Me are all set to go: come on over to the site for more details. Ella’s Story is a true work in progress: you can follow it as it grows. I expect there’ll be several Empire books: watch for them.

Don’t go gestalt: Go whole hog! Buy a book…feed a writer.

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Author: funny

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9 Comments

  1. Yay, I would read your grocery lists if you posted them! I hope your Empire series is full-blown space opera, I’ve been an addict of the genre since I read Asimov’s Foundation series as a kid.

    I think the demise of publishing has been vastly exaggerated, the readers I know (weeded out from the rest of the population) are truly voracious. Good luck with your press.

  2. Oh, excellent! I’ve had a look at “If You’d Asked…” and am eager to read more–your personality and wit really shine through. I’ve read several books in a similar vein–collections of short, humorous essays by a single writer–and can easily see this among them. “The Complete Writer” has a ton of good information, and though I’m a bit intimidated by the thought of taking on an entire saga, I’ll have to have a look at “Ella’s Story” too.

    A friend has recommended a similar scheme to me, with the addition of a tip jar and (potentially) bonus scenes behind a paywall–and of course the option to purchase the works entire, as you have. She, it develops, follows an indie author who does this very thing and seems to have some success at it. I hope it works well for you!

  3. The sorta Reader’s-Digesty thing looks like it could be highly salable…just what’s needed not only for the mechanic’s waiting room but for doctor and dentist’s offices. 😀

    Ella’s story is pretty lightweight. I see it as a kind of soap opera.

  4. Do you think people would actually leave money in a website’s “tip jar”? It’s hard for me to conceive, simply because I’m such a tightwad I wouldn’t do that…unless MAYBE if I knew the person face-to-face.

    I’ve been following on Facebook Chuck Bartok at Writers of Nonfiction. He seems to be selling a lot of his stuff off his own website and doing MUCH better than Amazon sales. However, it looks like he’s a very active guy who has several marketing activities going at once. He also may be working a lot harder than I feel like working in my dotage. 🙂 But we’ll see what happens here…

    • Good question. I honestly don’t know if anyone would bother to use a tip jar, and I’ve never had a website beyond my dinky WordPress blog, and I don’t post there often enough to warrant it.

      It’s important to me to support indie content creators whenever I can, whether it’s through tips or (more likely) just spreading the word. But even when I do have a little spare change, it’s almost never in a form convenient for stuffing into electronic tip jars.

      I do love that you offer pdf and paperback copies. So much easier than mucking around with Amazon’s Kindle for PC! They are supposed to have vastly improved accessibility in this iteration, but you couldn’t prove it by me, as documentation is almost non-existent. I can make it function, after a fashion, but I feel like it’s meant to do so much more.

      • How kewl would it be to be able to create a PDF that would read aloud at the click of a single key?? Hmmm… The Mac will read a PDF aloud…presumably in one of its six robot-like voices. My fave voice is …uhm, I think it’s Ken but just now can’t break into the damn program. Anyway, he can’t pronounce a lot of the made-up alien words and place names in Ella’s Story. I wonder if I could create an audio file on the Mac that would play on the PC and not be so huge it would crash anyone’s software?

  5. I’ve read the first chapter of Ella’s Story and I’m looking forward to further chapters. Thanks for the freebies.