Some thoughts on asking for support
Did you see Amanda Palmer's awesome TED talk? Go watch it and come back.
Done? OK. I have asked you guys to financially support my work since I started freely posting it in February, 2008. From that very first day you've stepped up (I'm looking at you, JN). I had been considering stopping the serialization of my main series, "An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom," with book two since donations have virtually stopped. I figured, well, I guess ebook sales are how I'm going to get support from now on, so maybe I should get with the scarcity paradigm. (Everyone else is. Yay, austerity.)
Seeing that talk changed my mind.
There's a reason I release everything through Creative Commons (attribution/noncommercial/no derivative--for now) with no DRM. I can't stop pirates, and I believe that if you ask people to pay, they will.That faith has been rewarded, but it's flagged recently, even with two successful Kickstarter campaigns under my belt. Why? My ebooks sales are drastically down.
Think about that for a moment. I was considering curtailing access to my work because paid ebook sales are down.
That feels backwards now.
I am not someone who "just wants to be read." I want to be supported, too. But I have always known I don't have a right to be supported. I can only ask. You have no idea how much your support has meant to me.
But I am asking you for something. I'm asking for your support in getting the word out about my work.
The thing I like about serializing is that it acts as an online book club, where people can discuss the book as they read or re-read it together. When my work was strictly a webserial, dozens of comments appeared on story segments; people had deep discussions. I would love to get back to that, to the sense of community my website once had. It dried up once I switched to the ebook paradigm, even though I really had to make that change.
If you're new to my work--and I think a lot of you are this time around--check out the rest of what I've done. Almost all of it is on my site, freely available, and when I get the subscriptions out to you for the premium area, pretty much everything will be available to you. I'm asking you to discuss what you read, and tell people you think I'm worth both reading and supporting.
It's a new world for creatives. The old ways of paying for our work no longer apply, and neither do the old ways of reaching potential viewers, listeners and readers. Advertising doesn't work, blog tours don't work, discounts don't work. Word of mouth is all that matters.
What works is you adding my books to Goodreads, fairly reviewing them at ebook retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, and telling your friends about my work--yes, even giving a copy to a friend. If your friend likes it, ask him or her to send me a buck or two if so moved. These things matter as much as your (deeply appreciated) financial support, and I'm asking for them as well.