Monthly Archives: September 2011

There’s More than One Writing Box

Youngest can’t play football at recess.  There are certain rules that must be followed and one (or more) of the kids playing failed to follow them.  The result was that ALL the wanna-be quarterbacks got banned from throwing the pigskin for the rest of the week.  (Tears in the morning flat-out stink, by the way.)

Hardly seems fair, that whole guilt by association, punish the masses for the destruction of the few, if-they-look-the-same-smell-the-same-act-the-same-in-the-same-box-they-must-all-go.

Yet, we writers  are just as guilty of this as the Recess Nazis are.

Newbies, we think, and stuff them all into a category of must-need-more-work.

“Agents,” we say, and dismiss them as dream killers even as we beg for their attention and mercy.

Publishers, pshaw!  We all know they hate writers and secretly delight in penning form rejection letters.

Self-pubbed?  Garbage.  All of them.

Or not.

As much as we hate to be stuffed into boxes, we should not seal another’s fate with packing tape and cardboard.  We need to remain open-minded and realize that it is the Few who give the bad name to the Many.

So, today, I ask that you break down the box and recycle it.  Let the non rule-breakers play ball.  Pick up a self-pubbed book with fresh eyes.  Encourage the newbie who might just know more than you.  And for heaven’s sake, don’t let a rejection by one agent/editor spoil your good will toward the others.

I’ll admit that I used to feel a fair amount of disdain toward Agent-Only publishing houses.  Then I learned a few things and realized just how much slush gets sent to agents and editors–and what that slush actually looks like.  My respect level rose tremendously.

I used to hate the whole vampire/werewolf thing.  Then I read Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce.  Uhm, definitely out-of-the-box-amazing.

When I was a kid, I thought teachers lived to make recess as boring as possible.  “Don’t run!”  “Don’t bounce that ball!”  “Stop swinging from that bar, you’ll break your leg.”  Seriously, what did they want from us?  A little Kum ba ya?  A coma…?

What are/were some of your preconceived notions about writing, publishing and literature?  Are the judgements fair, or is it time to rethink some things?

Curious minds want to know.

News Flash: Small Fish At Your Fingertips

I just got off the phone with my big sister.  She’s at a conference in California where she’s enjoying a certain amount of celebrity among conference goers.  Googling her name gets you six full pages of all her.  The girl has platform.  She’s also building credentials, and as she does, her following in her chosen profession continues to grow.

But she didn’t start out as a big fish in a little pond.

She started out the same as  you and I and every other successful entrepreneur did.  Over the years, she’s put herself out there.  Quietly at first by being on boards and teams and teaching classes and meeting people of importance in her field.  She’s attended conferences as a student and as a presenter.  In short, she socializes with the right people, says the right things at the right time and helps whenever she can.

Writers, this is our call to arms.  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.  Feed your small fish and watch it swim…

Just like friend and fellow writer, Pete Morin, is doing with his debut release, Diary of a Small Fish.

While I have yet to read Mr. Morin’s novel, I’ve been around him long enough to know that before the end of the day, I will be nestled up with my copy of Diary of a Small Fish.

Pete writes with wit, humor and charm.  His words are poetic, yet honest.  If you like golf, politics or romance, I urge you to check out Diary of a Small Fish.

Small Fish for KINDLE users

Small Fish for NOOK users

Small Fish for SMASHWORDS & APPLE users

And remember, it’s okay to start small as long as you start somewhere!

Congrats, Pete.  And my big sis!

The Secret Agenda of Banned Books? Pshaw!

Okay, so I had a warm and fuzzy post in mind to honor Banned Books Week.  I truly did.  And then I ran across a post that made me spitting mad.

The question addressed: is banned books week really a contrived affair for gays to promote themselves?

Yeah, some people really believe that.

And that’s fine.  I’m all about people getting to have and keep their own opinions.  It’s one of the things that makes America great.  HOWEVER, I do have an issue with people bashing others in the name of “what’s best for the children.”

Folks, I have four kids.  I read what my kids read.  I talk to my kids about life and the very difficult issues that life throws their way.  I know who drinks in my kids’ high school, who smokes and who’s having sex.  I know which kids bully, which ones cut and which ones struggle with family issues.  I know life stinks for many reasons and growing up is dang hard.

Knowing this does not give me the right to parent other people’s kids any more than other parents have the right to raise mine.  Nor does it give me the right to blame writers and musicians for my failings as a parent.  I can’t blame the neighbor, the neighbor’s dog, the swimming instructor or the mayor.  I am a parent.  My kids are my responsibility.  If I don’t want them reading smut, it’s my job not to let them read it.  If I don’t want them to play on the railroad tracks, it’s my job not to let them.

I can’t demand that the train company remove the tracks from my town because my kid might get hurt.  Nor can I call them Baby Killers Out to Harm Unsupervised Children Having Innocent Fun Playing on Train Tracks.

Parents, lean in closely.  You are in charge of your own kids.

Aaaand, back to the topic at hand.  I want you to read the post I linked to in its entirety.  But if you don’t, I’ll paste my favorite quote for you to ponder.

(Linda) Harvey (of MissionAmerica.org) said the ALA “has become a megaphone for leftist values and a  disinformation tool to prevent traditional values from getting much shelf space  in libraries.”

I have  never told Ms. Harvey how to raise her children, what they should read, how they should dress or any other type of parenting skills that come with the pleasure of having children.  I honestly don’t even know if Ms. Harvey has kids, and in truth, it’s irrelevant.

What matters is that I am a very religious mother who teaches my kids a certain set of “traditional” morals and values.  And yet, I do not ban, challenge or in any way, censor how other parents raise their progeny.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: if you don’t want to read it, don’t. If you don’t want your kids to read it, don’t let them.

In the same vein, if you don’t want something to go viral, shut up about it.

If people would quit challenging books, there would be no list.  Period.   And that alone would take care of the Gay Conspiracy to Ban Books with the Sole Purpose of Luring Children to the Dark Side.

Seriously?  I have better things to do with my time…like raise my own happy, healthy and well-adjusted kids.  A daunting task in its own right.  I certainly don’t have enough time left over to raise everyone else’s.

So, dear readers, do you think Banned Books Week promotes the evils of the world?  Do you believe that validating a child’s experience (ie reading a book with a protagonist kids can relate to) encourages poor choices?

Curious minds want to know.

Read more: Is library association’s ‘Banned Book Week’ really ‘gay’ promotion?

Dyslexia: Unlocked Potential

Over the past few days, I’ve had several conversations with parents, grandparents and educators about reading difficulties.  Being a mother of a severely dyslexic child myself, I’ve researched, cried, advocated, coaxed, spent money on tutoring, cried some more…well, you get the picture.  Dealing with dyslexia is not easy.  And I’m only the mom.

I can’t begin to imagine what living with it would be like.

And so, my rant is this: kids are all born with potential.  Every day, children are born who will become politicians, mathematicians, engineers, musicians, dancers, actors, teachers, lawyers, farmers, business managers, salesmen, painters, airplane pilots and inmates.

Yes, inmates.

This last one is where my rant comes in.  All this potential gets lost in a sea of failure.  From one school year to the next, children with reading disabilities get futher and further behind their peers.  They may start kindergarten as doctors, but end their educational careers without receiving a high school diploma.

Often, they end up behind bars.  Poverty, crime and illiteracy are so intertwined that the statistics are frightening.

Rest assured, however, no fingers will be pointed here.  Rather, we are all guilty.  Ultimately, it is a combination of political, financial, familial and educational flaws woven together over 18 years that locks certain children into a life of less than.

Laws in most states do not demand at-risk literacy testing.  Sure children who are far enough behind their peers receive reading help in elementary school, but this is not the same thing as actively pinpointing children who are at-risk for reading disabilities.  It can be done folks.  As young as 5-years-old kids can be diagnosed with dyslexia.  Over time, an early diagnosis will save money and hearthache.

Yet with budget cuts, who pays for this?  Funding creates a huge gap in our assistance programs.  Our schools simply cannot afford to provide services for all struggling children.  Only the most significantly impaired children receive Title One assistance.  Those smart enough to cope with their hidden disability and still pull decent grades are often left unfunded and undiagnosed.

Education is weak at best for many schools and parents.  I’ve engaged in many conversations with teachers who have no clue that dyslexia is far more than transposing letters when reading a word.  Yet, this easy definition is about as much attention the number one reading disability gets in higher education.  In a nutshell, many counselors and teachers have never been taught what dyslexia is and how it affects the children they work with each day.  Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

Parents, did you get your dyslexia manual from the hospital when your baby was born?  When she attended preschool screening?  When he visited the doctor for well-baby checks?  Yeah, me neither.  I knew what dyslexia was (psychology background, and all) and asked about it when Eldest was in second grade.  I was reassured this wasn’t an issue.  Eldest received remedial services from kindergarten through third grade.  In the fifth grade, he attended Sylvan Learning Center.  At the beginning of eleventh grade he was diagnosed as severely dyslexic.

Some great mom I am.  I knew something was amiss, and yet I wasn’t informed enough to be more proactive.  I worked with Eldest at home, but I wasn’t doing nearly enough.  I can’t tell you how much that hurts to admit.

But let me add this.  Even if parents are active in their child’s education, they inherently understand something is wrong and know that their school district is not set up to assist them, somebody still has to pay for the help their child will need to succeed.  I can tell you from experience, it’s not cheap.  We often joke that we paid for Eldest’s first year of college tuition when he attended Sylvan.  Not eveyone can swing that–even if they wanted to.

Yet we can’t escape the cost.  In the long run, the government sponsors prisons and pays subsidies to low-income families.  Kids drop out of school, courts fill with hearings on criminal behavior and the cycle of undereducation continues.  We pay much more to maintain a lifestyle of funtional illiteracy than we would to prevent it in the first place.  Not only financially, but emotionally and socially.

Every day we fail to provide our future doctors, woodworkers, landscapers, dentists, social workers and chemists with the means to reach their potentials.

The ability to read is a gift every child deserves.  Our failure to pass it on is criminal.

If you know a child who struggles to read, I urge you to do something about it.  Learn everything you can.  Encouraage others to do the same.  Understand fully how much of an impact dyslexia has on the child you love.

If you are an educator, talk to your principal.  Ask for training on reading disabilities.  I promise you will look at some kids very differently.  They are not lazy or dumb, apathetic or inherently troublesome.  In fact, they may be some of the brightest kids you will ever have the pleasure to teach.

Here’s a list of 37 Common Characteristics of Dyslexia to get you started.

Writing Humor: Me on Time Management

Humor rocks my socks off.  In some ways, I’m a big kid who never grew up.  I laugh at kid jokes.  I tell kid jokes.  I smile when most other adults turn their noses up in disdain.

Heck, I have a three-legged dog in one my of novels, and after 273 read-throughs I still laugh at all the good parts.  But I’m quirky that way.  In fact, when my pirate chapter book received a pass due to the reader’s “dry sense of humor”, my immediate reaction was–under my breath whilst surpressing a grin–“Then why read a book that takes place on the ocean?”

I know, I groaned too.

But hey, at least you know where I’m coming from.  And now I’d like you to follow along and see where I’m going.

Today I’m guest posting at The Write Time.  Fantasy writer and fellow AQer, Dean C. Rich,  has a great blog on time management as it pertains to the writing life.  Please check out his blog and learn a thing or two about how I mismanage my time when it comes to writing and life.

Other things I’m doing today: helping out with vision and hearing checks for our elementary kids, finishing an edit of another chapter book (same quirky humor as the first) and getting started on cleaning my house.  Company is coming down this weekend for the marching band performance and the only room that’s clean enough for hosting is currently in someone else’s house.

It’s been a long summer with lots of dirt and I need to get to the bottom of it…er, on top of it before the dust bunnies carry us away.

What kinds of things tickle your tweeter?  Do you like dry humor, slap-stick or bathroom humor?  Are you mature in what makes you laugh, or can you find funny in almost anything?  And more importantly, do you write humor?  If so, how do you make humor rock instead of fall flat?

Curious minds want to know.

Writing Precision and Marching Band

We’re gearing up for another weekend of marching band.  Saturday will be packed with a parade performance in the morning, a noon field show and a second field show competition in the evening.  The kids will be gone from 7:45am until midnight.  Hopefully they’ll come home with a few new trophies.

Last Saturday they won first in their class…out of two bands.  This Saturday evening, they will again be in a class (A) with two bands.  Maybe first doesn’t sound so impressive when thought of this way, but consider the following.

Last year at this same evening competition, they outperformed every band except two–including the bands in AA and AAA–and garnered the third highest score out of 15 against schools much bigger than theirs.  Now that is impressive.

Traditionally, our tiny band from our tiny town rules the field.  One year, we tied for fifth place in the finals at a multi-state event.  To even earn a spot in the finals, we had to score in the top ten out of 37 bands.  Our band of 60 outperformed bands with 200 marchers.  Another year at another competition, we won the sweepstakes award, which means outscoring every band in the competition regardless of class.

I could belabor the point, taking you through our trophies–which number so many the showcase broke under the weight a year or so back–but I think you get the point.  Quantity doesn’t matter.  Quality does.

Not just on the field, but also in our writing.

We won those trophies through precision.  Our music was crisp.  Our marching in sync.  Our color guard snappy.  The overall flow was perfect.

Likewise, writers do not get agents with sloppy sentences, wordy passages and poorly developed characters.  Authors do not get publishing contracts without honing their skills.  Books do not get buzz without compelling storylines.

Our marching band pulls 40 hour weeks in the summer.  Once school starts, they beat the teachers to school and march outside in the cold fall temps before the sun rises.  They continue to put in about 15 hours of practice each week.

Let me ask you, dear writers, how much time do you devote to your craft?  Are you out to win the trophy?  If so, how do you create precision in your words?  Does the success of others drive you to succeed, or does someone else’s good news make you aware of your own shortfalls?  How do you combat the urge to throw in the flag and march off the field for good?

Curious minds want to know.

Manuscript Overgrown. Hidden Gems Found.

My lilac is overgrown…obviously.  This Dwarf Korean Lilac should only grow four to five feet tall.  We’ve pruned it, but the extra care only makes it come back stronger, fuller and taller.  Needless to say, the lilac is on its way out.

Sometimes our manuscripts can get overgrown as well.  We tweak  a phrase here or there, replace passive verbs with active ones and cut a handful of adjective and adverbs.

In the end, however, we are reluctant to cut too much and struggle to know what to keep and what to throw.

A beautiful turn of phrase.  A tense scene with great characterization.  Drama, action, romance, description, dialogue…sheesh, we wrote those things for a reason and now you’re asking us to pull out the shears?

Yeah, that happens.  I know, because I just cut an entire chapter, leaving only two paragraphs in tact.  Quite honestly, it was one of my favorite chapters.  I’d loved the interplay between my two leading characters.  I loved the tension.  I loved so much about it, but upon an astute observation by Agent Awesome, I realized I gained nothing that other chapters didn’t already cover.  They just did so differently.

As much as I hated the idea of ruthlessly chopping this section, the first three chapters are much stronger.  I’d stripped my manuscript  of the non-essentials and pared it down to find the gems hidden among the bulk.

Yet another manuscript of mine–an earlier one–didn’t look so great upon a deep editing look.  It boasted no inherent gems.  On the surface, I’d penned some great prose.  The story flowed well, but the trunk  didn’t support the branches.  My characters we not fully fleshed out.  My plot was a little too predictable.  My solution too pat.  A cliché hidden behind pretty words.  The question still remains: to trunk it or cut it back to the ground and let it regrow from the roots up?

When I scoped out my lilac bush from the back, I found three balls tucked into the branches.  My boys were in heaven.  “Dude, that’s where my football went!”

Editing isn’t much different.  “Dude,” we might say after some careful/vicious pruning, “that’s what I meant to say in the first place!”

Have you ever really peeked inside your manuscript?  If so, what have you found: a rotten trunk with bare branches or unexpected treasures hidden by the fluff of extra words?

Writing Lessons from the Playground

Yesterday when I dropped my boys off at school, the temp was a balmy 34 degrees.  Here’s what I saw:

  • Frost on the ground.
  • Kids in t-shirts and shorts.
  • Kids in shorts and sweatshirts.
  • Kids in pants and t-shirts.
  • Kids in jeans and jackets.
  • Very few hats and/or mittens.

The jacketed kids played.  The half-dressed kids huddled.  The mittenless pulled their sleeves over their fingers and the hatless/hoodless pressed their hands against their ears.

Today, the temperature gauge on my truck read 43 degrees.  Here’s what I saw:

  • Pants and long sleeves.
  • Lots o’ mittens and hats.
  • A fair number of jackets.
  • Everybody playing.

This strikes me as the same sharp reality that we writers get when we begin submitting our first manuscripts.  We are simply unprepared for the journey.  We often go into writing a novel with little or no understanding about the process as a whole.  We write to “the end” and we feel accomplished.

And we are.  What we aren’t is ready to send it out.  We aren’t ready to succeed.  We aren’t ready for the yes and the hard work that will follow.  So, I offer you: 

Writing Lessons from the Playground

  1. Wear long sleeves: Get your manuscript in top form.  Even a cool breeze is tolerable if we protect our core.  A poorly edited manuscript leaves us completely vulnerable to the elements, which ultimately culminates in a form rejection.
  2. Wear long pants: Write a killer query letter.  No, this doesn’t mean only dress pants are acceptable.  Jeans or sweat pants are just fine, as long as your attire query fits your story. 
  3. Wear a hat: Research your agents/editors before ever sending out your submission package.  We lose the bulk of our body heat through our heads.  A simple cap helps regulate our core temp.  Likewise, careful research into an agent’s likes, dislikes, preferences, past sales and business style are a must.  Too often, we get so wrapped up in the idea of any agent/editor attention that we lose our heads and forget that not all acceptances are a good fit for us.
  4. Throw on some mittens: Keep writing.  Write your marketing proposal and write your next book.  Write your blog.  Write in your diary or write a short story or article.  Write.  Keep your fingers limber and warm.  Prepare for the next step in your journey, because sometimes an agent/editor says yes.  And when he does, you’ll want nothing more than to be able to play in comfort. 
  5. And you  know what comes after fall…snowsuits and boots.  Receiving a publishing contract takes us from writer to author.  We literally become wrapped up in the written word.  We edit old pieces, write new ones, brainstorm for even newer ones, network socially and juggle real life.  It’s a veritable snowstorm, and one we won’t survive unless we fully prepare for life as a writer.  Routine, organization, resetting of priorities…the list is endless, but it all starts with a long-sleeved shirt on a frosty morning.

Yeah, one miserable cold snap was enough for parents and kids to drag out the warm clothing.  It was enough for everyone to realize how ill-prepared we were for playground fun.  It was enough to redirect our behaviors and approach something as simple as dressing with a bit more purpose and thought.

I’m not going to lie.  I get that it’s totally embarrassing to be the first wussy kid on the playground to don a stocking hat.  There’s something uncool about being warm until you’re so cold you can’t feel your toes.  When my boys balked about their hats and mittens yesterday morning, I provided them with my mantra: Put them in your backpack.  If you’re not cold, don’t use them.  Your choice.  But at least you’ll have them when you need them.  At least you’ll be prepared.

And so, dear writers, I ask: are you prepared?  What steps have you taken to help smooth your path to success?  Do you stash your mittens in the bottom of your bag, or do you unabashedly wear them for all the world to see?

Curious minds want to know.

Reader Interpretation and the Impact on Writing.

Have you ever discussed a book with a fellow reader?  Ever felt like you read completely different books even though the titles and covers were exact replicas?  Even though the words contained within the pages were identical?

Welcome to the world of interpretation. 

We bring our life experiences to the stories we read.  These experiences, along with our moral compasses and our self-imposed belief systems, shape the way we interpret the written word. 

Last night, Dear Daughter and I discussed speech and the scores she’d received over the past year.  She wondered why her speeches seemed to fare worse than another competitor’s.

After exploring her topics, cuttings and judges’ critiques, we came up with a viable answer.  It was one we had discussed during her speech preps: her topics are just so dang difficult.

Nay, not the topics themselves, but the discrepancy between her interpretations and the judges’ comfort levels with the delivery.

Speech One: our narrator related the story of a fellow inmate at the mental hospital.  Inmate had tried to commit suicide by lighting herself on fire.  This is dark material by anybody’s standards.  However, nobody had an issue with the topic or even the vivid details of the scars the fire left behind.  Rather, it was the narrator’s admiration for her fellow inmate that triggered the judges’ disquiet. 

DD had accurately portrayed the narrator in that she admired the inmate for her ability to take charge of her own life and so concisely act on her impulses.  Instead of understanding this perspective, the judges felt sickened that anyone could admire the gruesome nature of another child’s attempt at ending her life. 

The gist of their comments were, “Don’t smile during this part.  Show grief.  It’s wrong to admire something so horrible.  You should feel sad and disgusted at what Fellow Inmate did.”

Speech Two: DD performed the life of an emotionally neglected teen.  While recounting her character’s vast sexual escapades, DD embraced one particular account with wonderment and warmth.  Her voice softened.  Her arms embraced herself as she retraced the images of her lover dressing her and gently placing her in a cab when the night was over.  The judges scribbled furiously over this. 

“She’s fourteen.  He’s in his late twenties.  Show her being ashamed of her actions.”

“But she’s not, Mom.”  DD’s pretty astute for such a young lady.  “It was the only time she felt loved.  This was a special memory for her.  It made her feel pretty and important.  Like someone finally cared.”

Fellow blogger, Eric Trant, touches on this topic with his post: Viscerality: What is too much?  In it, he explores which topics are taboo.  Or rather, which portrayals of said topics are taboo.

I guess we all want to know the answer to that question.  What is too much?  How much of the down and dirty are we allowed to show as writers?  At what point does our character’s truth upset the delicate sensibilities or our readers?  Should that matter?

Do you, dear writers, white-wash the emotional impact of your story to keep your potential readers from walking away?  Does reader interpretation even enter your mind when penning your prose?  If so, how do you balance the final product with the truth of your story?  Do you have a secret manuscript you’re afraid to unleash because you fear people will interpret your words differently than they are meant?

Do you think more credence is given to the actual words on a page and not enough thought goes into how or why those words were delivered?  Do we need to be more aware of this so our intent is clearly spelled out or does that blatant telling cheapen the story?

Sheesh, so many questions.  I can’t wait to hear your answers.

E-Free: savvy or stupid?

Lucky me, I woke up to a FREE newspaper this morning.  In fact, every house in town had a neatly rolled up paper just waiting in the driveway for unsuspecting homeowners to fall in love with.  And order a subscription.

Two days ago, Dear Hubby checked out the fitness center in town and came home with a card that gained him access to a FREE week of membership.  Ya know the “Try us out.  If you like us, come back,” kind of thing?

I also got a Buy One, Get One FREE coupon in the mail the other day from a shoe store. 

Seriously, free seems to be the new…well, old…marketing model.  Businesses have well-learned that a sample goes a long way in attracting customers.  Some of those customers will enjoy the services/product so much they will become loyal buyers.  Others will swoop in for their freebie and never be heard from again.  Some will turn up their noses and throw the coupon away in disdain, for obviously, free means inferior.

And still more land somewhere in the middle.  They will read the paper, check out the gym membership and pick up two new pairs of shoes.  At times, they’ll come back to work out whenever possible, doing so in cycles as it works with the rhythm of their lives.  They will pick up a news stand copy of the paper when the fancy strikes them and definitely remember the great selection of shoes the next time they need some kicks. 

So, is free savvy or stupid? 

Do we give away too much for the little return on life-long loyalty?  Is the sheer quantity of freebies given worth the quality of future buyers?  But what if nobody buys?  Or what if everyone buys and they hate the product and will never, ever, ever under duress of life and limb purchase another membership, shoe or paper again?  What if they tell everyone how much they *gasp* hate their free product, essentially poisoning the sales well for life?

And how does this apply to the writing life?  Well, brick and mortars allow readers to browse through books, feeling the cover, sniffing the pages and reading a chapter or two before exchanging gift card credit for a new novel.

In my opinion, astute e-book authors–whether self-pubbed or traditionally published–will allow readers to view a sample chapter or two.  That’s akin to the week of free membership.  And I’ve NEVER heard anyone complain about that before.

More convoluted, however, is the debate over an entire FREE book.  Arguments against this tactic include:

  • the author is selling herself short both on time and talent, 
  • the author doesn’t believe he has a superior product and must give it away to be read at all,
  • and free books will become the rule and readers will expect to read all their novels without paying a dime thereby destroying the very essence and livelihood of every author everywhere.

Without aruging for or against the practice of free-ness, I ask a few simple questions. 

  • Does the free newspaper on my driveway diminish the integrity of newspapers all across the country and threaten to destroy this mode of news gathering forever?
  • Does the BYGO philosophy only pertain to crappy tennies and ill-fitting sandals, or can you still get quality kicks for a deal?
  • After cashing in a coupon, do you always expect the same deal forever and ever, amen, or is your tweeter tickled simply by virtue of getting a good deal at that moment in time?
  • Can a name-brand shoe not only cost more, but also give it’s wearer more corns and blisters than a cheap pump?

I don’t mean to be so cheeky, but I can’t help but wonder about the double standard for free e-books as a teaser. 

Author and writing friend, Calista Taylor recently unleashed her first novel, Viridis, on the cyber world.  She describes her reasoning behind the pricing scheme for her steampunky goodness (and provides links for the free version and the $0.99 copy).  In fact, many bloggers post on this topic because it is so widely debated. 

So, let me ask you, dear readers, how do you feel about FREE?

  • I think free e-books diminish the integrity of the written word. 
  • I think only self-pubbed writers give away free e-books and therefore would never “buy” one because the quality is sure to suffer.
  • I refuse to pay full price for anything.  My (insert e-reader here) is chock full of free books.
  • I use free to check out new books and authors.  Some I love and some I hate.  But the marketing plan worked and got me to try a sample I otherwise might not have.
  • I have downloaded free books, grown to love the writing and bought–with real money–more books from the same author.

Curious minds want to know.

PS- in case you’re curious, Calista Taylor has a traditional publishing deal for a nonfic book.  Self-published doesn’t mean can’t-cut-the-mustard.  If you don’t believe me, check her out.  She rocks my socks off.

PPS- my spell check isn’t working, so forgive any spelling errors.  I didn’t sleep well last night!