Free Content and Readers (For Writers)

Hey! I hope everyone is doing well and had a good holiday.

A few bloggers have inspired today’s blog post, but before we dive in, I want to share a few updates with all of you =)

  • On Writing.com, I opened my Novel Review Forum! If you are interested in joining the site and want chapter reviews for your story, please post your info. Here is the link: Novel Review Forum. So far, I’m reviewing one story. 
  • I created the WordPress Writers Skype chat group. I’m usually on Skype, so if you want to talk, just drop by. Here is the link: https://join.skype.com/AR9vFyqNXfQR
  • My short story on Writing.com has been nominated for an award! When I got the email, I was shocked.
  • Lastly, I’m in the process of looking for an editor. So if you know anyone, please let me know. 

Alright, on to today’s topic. Let’s discuss!

Entitled Readers

Recently, I’ve noticed more bloggers and fellow writers mentioning this topic. If you haven’t heard of this before, entitled readers are readers that expect an author’s content to be free. Basically, they don’t want to pay for the stories. I’m bringing this up because it appears to be an issue many writers are facing. Of course, I’m not going to say all readers act entitled, but I have noticed a few.

Like with most issues facing the writing community today, this stems from the internet. With the rise of websites allowing writers to upload their stories – and mobile book apps – readers have easy access to stories, for free. Let me just say, there’s nothing wrong with wanting content for free, but we shouldn’t complain when writers start charging for their work. Writing, for many, is a profession. For most people, when they invest in their hobby, their goal is to eventually make money from their work. Believe me, I understand why these readers feel this way, but sadly, that isn’t how the world works.

If you enjoy an author’s work, and they decide to start selling it, we should support them. More than likely, that person has bills to pay, a family to take care, medical issues, or whatever. The point is, as readers, we shouldn’t feel entitled to someone’s hard work.

Writing isn’t easy; time is spent plotting the stories, developing the characters, creating the worlds and etc. I have yet to sell my stories, but I’ll be starting that process later this year. For now, I only hear about these concerns from published writers, but I guess soon I’ll see how bad it is.

Personally, I think online writing sites contribute to this trend of free content, so I doubt this will slow down anytime soon. In the end, we need to remember this:

eitlied

So, for today’s discussion question, I ask, “How do you feel about this subject? Do you think these readers are justified in their feelings for free content?”

(PS. I will respond to everyone’s comments soon, I promise. I’ve been busy with submissions and writing contests. I’m so tired…I want to sleep for like two days.)

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42 thoughts on “Free Content and Readers (For Writers)

  1. I mean, at the end of the day, your content is your content. You shouldn’t feel bad for wanting make some dough from your creative endeavors especially if its priced fairly. Your true fans, the ride or dies will understand that.

    Liked by 2 people

      • First of all, Congratulations!!!!!!!! I hope you win the award!!
        And yes, I feel the pain of writers when they put their hard work and all the dedication to prepare that masterpiece and people want it for free like a dish served without any work. Great post!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think readers are justified in expecting free content. Of course, just about anyone will accept something free if it’s offered. Content that’s posted publicly is obviously free for anyone to read. But feeling entitled to free content is just stingy and ungrateful. It’s not any different than any other kind of art that someone might create, and charge a price for.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! I don’t think anyone should feel entitled to free content. People need to remember nobody owes them anything in life, so I totally agree with you. If you work around and produce quality content, you should be able to sell your stories. Thanks for commenting =)

      Like

  3. I think it would be amazing if art (and science, also, maybe) could be disconnected from money. I also think it’s not an impossible thing to reach, but surely not over the night, and not in a year either.
    I like the concept of free art, but then again, people who expect art to be always free don’t get that artists don’t eat air. Some artists offer their art for free asking for donations to their fans or pointing on merchandising. Amanda Palmer is one of them: you can download her music for free and donate some money to her. It’s a great idea, but I’m afraid it works only if you already have a quite consistent group of fan, so you’re sure you’re getting something; in a million of fans someone will be willing to give his money to you. But if you’re a beginner I don’t think there’s another solution than charging, even if little.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not going to say I disagree with you, but why should art be disconnected from money?

      There is nothing wrong with asking for money, but if you’re going to ask for money, then you might as well sell some content. However, I can’t speak for other artists. As for followers online, yes, that model only works if you have a large following. If you don’t, then it’s a pointless endeavor. I can say from experience that it doesn’t work for smaller followings. Hell, I couldn’t even get my so called 3,229 followers to read my original stories online, so I doubt I could get money lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think that art should be disconnected from money because for one I’m strongly anti-capitalistic, and secondly I have the strong impression that basing one’s art on what people could like (and consequently pay for) limits what you art could be, making it commercial rather than you’d really like to produce. Also, people who are not rich might see reduced their possibility to access to art and culture in general (thumbs up for libraries).
        Since we live in this society at the moment, though, artists have to ask for money if they want to survive. But I’m all for trying to do it in an as much fair and “collaborative” way possible, that’s why I admire artists who basically offer their art for free and ask you for a contribution of your choosing if you want to give it, or sell their art at very low and reasonable prices. As said, this is not an option for anyone, but I think that ultimately is the way one should point to 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I definitely agree. Choosing to sell, or not to sell, should be up to the author and readers shouldn’t complain if there’s a price tag to read. I don’t see too many readers complaining about buying the next Sarah J. Mass book, so why should it be different for any other author? If readers don’t have money, there are ways to access books for free, like the library, or wait until a book goes on sale, etc. But no one should expect to have an author offer their books for free if they don’t want to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make a good point about the Sarah J Mass books. I agree. If readers don’t have money, there are enough libraries and used bookstores where they can find the writer’s books.

      I mostly heard about this issue from other writers when dealing with their fans. Even a few people told me their fans will call them sellouts. It does make me sad that readers wouldn’t support the writers work they enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As with anything it is a balancing act. Certainly the author is entitled to ask for money for their writing as it is something they have produced. And readers are entitled to not want to pay that much for the writing. So pretty much if the writer asks a reasonable price than the readers should get over it and pay it and if they aren’t willing to than clearly they aren’t that interested in reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really agree too, because really all writers put a lot of hard work into the work. And well, the only reason why I put my work for free is because I want to build a platform and also to become a better writer. And I won’t complain when they want to sell their work, it’s their choice, even I rarely can afford to support these writers. But I won’t complain, it’s up to them to decide really, and if they put it out and sell, I would also support them if I really like their work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Writers put a lot of time and love into their work, so if they want to charge for it, I don’t see anything wrong with that. You’re a good reader to support the writers you love =)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my goodness, I find it sad they’d get upset. Writers spend so much time, sweat, tears, and money into a book! It’s no different paying to be entertained at the movies. Plus, it’s supporting art 🙂

    And I would recommend my editor Lynda Dietz over at EasyReaderEditing.com, you should reach out for a free evaluation 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. As a musician, I can completely understand your point of view. I’ve lost count of people who think it’s perfectly fine to ask any type of artist—musician, writer, photographer, etc—to offer their services free of charge “for the exposure.” Anything that’s given for free should always be at the discretion of the artist, and no one has a right to criticize when or how those choices are made. No matter how much you love what you do (whether it’s a sideline or your full-time work), it’s still work, and still requires effort. Any artist constantly learns more and practices and hones his craft to the point where it’s a marketable thing, and to imply that those goods or services are not worth compensation is insulting. Gosh, I didn’t think I had a rant in me, but there you go. I suppose I really do know a lot of people who have this happen to them.

    At any rate, I think it should be an expected thing to pay for a book, and a surprise bonus if one is offered for free. I’ve seen many authors who will periodically offer their first book for free on Amazon, just to promote sales for a short time, or who will do a “just released and free for the first two days” promo. However, the goal is to be able to do what you love and to live off the returns if possible.

    Oh, and by the way, I’m an editor, as S.K. Anthony mentioned above. You can find me at Easy Reader Editing and I’ll be happy to take a look at what you’re working on.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am all for free content. As a reader, I enjoy going to the Kindle Store and finding whatever random books are listed as free for that day. That isn’t to say I won’t purchase something if it stands out to me (I just bought two kindle books yesterday). I do think that authors should utilise the ability to post free content more often than they do (I am not talking about the self-published authors or the indie published authors who already post shorts and things around the web for free, but the big authors as well). The thing is, free content really does draw people in. It allows someone who may not have the funds, at the time, to experience your work and perhaps become a fan – once they have funds, they may just search for longer work by you in order to read more and support you. However, I do not think that readers are entitled to free content. It is not a requirement to always offer your work for free if you choose to offer any work at all for no cost. Do I get sad when I find out that the rest of a series is 3.99$ each after having tasted the first book for free? I won’t lie – yeah. But I do not get angry, I do not pout and demand free copies or tear an author down. Either I save up for the rest, or I honestly forget about the books altogether (that has happened a few times, not because of the writing, but because of life).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! Honestly, I was shocked when it got nominated for an award =) Also, this post had quite a few comments on it. Free Content is a bigger issue in the writing community than I thought. Thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad you enjoyed my post.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I think there will always be people who feel they are entitled to free content (it’s certainly not a new phenomenon. I think all content creators face this problem.) But it IS up to us as content creators to decide how we deal with those criticisms and, to be honest, I don’t think any of use should feel bad for wanting to make money (regardless of if it’s a lot or a little) from our work. Focus on the readers who are happy to support what you do!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree with this: focus on the readers that support you. For me, I mostly focus on the readers who comment and tell me their thoughts about my work. Sadly, and I can say this honestly, sometimes silent readers annoy me. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts =)

      Like

  11. All I have to say is that if you want free books – that’s what libraries are for! Yes kindles can have free books which is great, but no author would spend years of their life and putting their all into a written piece of work just to give it away. I think it’s great when authors do allow for some free short stories, novella’s, etc. but they’re writing to make a living. As you said, you are entitled to nothing lol I think it’s sad when hardcover new releases are almost 40$ but that price is determined by the publisher and not the author

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I agree with you! This is why we have libraries and used book stores, so people can get books for free or cheaper than the regular price.

      Hardcover books are expensive, but as you said, those are determined by the publisher and not the author. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts =)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Excellent topic, Aka. And congratulations on the award nomination!
    I think there are several angles to look at this. First, when you receive something for free, or even if you pay, when you have to pay or pay more, there is a natural tendency to want to resist that. It might just involve a gentle post to readers about how you’ve enjoyed providing free content in the past, and there may be opportunities for free short pieces if they sign up for your newsletter or through drawings in the future, and that if they enjoy your free content you’d love their support through them purchasing your new book. I think fans will want to see you become successful and support you, so they’ll understand.
    From another angle, I’m surprised there’s as much free content as there is out there. But while there are some amazing work being given out for free, it’s usually by authors who are building up to something. For the most part though, you get what you paid for. If you go to a garage sale that has a box full of free items, people usually pass those items up. They think, if it’s free there must be something wrong with it. So putting a price on a book makes it valuable to both you and the consumer. It’s very likely that the people who are only consuming free books, don’t have the funds or intention to buy a book. So if they’re offended at an author finally charging to read their work, then they never were planning on being a paying customer.
    The reason new authors provide their work for people to read for free is to expose readers to their work and ability — to get their name out there. It’s a difficult craft that a lot of people don’t have the time or energy to pursue until they make it in the industry, so the ability to write is valuable.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Congrats on the nomination for the award! So exciting! 🙂 I think free content is good but I don’t think a reader should be entitled to free content. It’s up to the author really and I consider free content to be like a gift to the readers. I love supporting writers by buying their books and such too though so long as it does use my life savings to do so. 😛 ❤ Great thoughts anyway. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I was called a sellout when I started self-publishing. Hell, I still get called out on it on my seventh ebook. I stopped posting shirt stories on my site, opting to save them for a collection.

    People will tell you you’re great, but get pissed when you agree and sell you’re writing. It’s a confusing conundrum for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Really? A sellout? Who called you this?

      I done agree it is confusing. I really don’t like how people get mad about writers selling their work. It’s almost like people online forget the writers need to make a living.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Most of them were people who followed me before I was writing. When I started, I’d post my short stories on my site. When I started self-publishing and using social media to promote, I was deemed a sellout. That’s all it was.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Luckily I have a full time job, so I can still eat. This was more sociopaths on twitter than fans. My real fans stuck by me. I used to post everything for free, but it’s a lot of work (you know).

        Like

  15. Hmm, the thorny relationship between art and money…you could write a whole book about this one! But someone else can do it, far too complicated for me. As Akaluv mentioned earlier – for me, free is a gift, and so is a reduced promotion price for that matter. We can’t measure value with money, (and I hate capitalism too), but artists have to make a living in the way the world operates now, along with everyone else. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You really good write a whole book about it! I agree with you, Lynne. Artists need to make money, too, so I don’t fully agree with the art should be offered for free. If it is, it is a gift. I’m glad you liked the post! Thanks for stopping by and commenting =)

      Like

  16. I had never encountered this until recently! I have a friend who complains about having to pay .99 for a download. She is very cool in every other way. But this bothers me. I don’t quite know what to say to her when she acts like reading material is not worth spending money on. And she’s an avid reader too…a book a week!!

    Liked by 1 person

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