The Future of Free Fiction

Bard by BlueInkAlchemist, on Flickr

With March here, I’m taking a look at how this Free Fiction project’s gone so far. It hasn’t been bad, but it hasn’t been that great either, especially if I want to do anything significant with it.

I think the idea of retelling old myths with newer genres still has merit, but getting it out to people in such a way that I know it’ll be enjoyed and distributed, as well as being quality writing I can truly be proud of, is going to take more than dashing off a story as quickly as possible to meet a deadline.

What I’ve already written is not my best work, taken overall. Some of it’s not bad, some of it needs some revision and editing. Rough patches need smoothed over, sketchy corners need to be filled in and it all needs to flow together properly. This is something that will take some time, and it will mean that the end result will be different from what’s currently sitting in that subdirectory of the server.

The big question is if people will be willing to pay for the final result.

Anthologies, even on a service like Kindle or B&N’s BuyIt, can be a dicey proposition. They’re cheaper than mass market novels, to be sure, especially with some publishers still trying to figure out a reasonable price point. Blizzard, seriously, $13 for the Kindle edition of The Shattering? Maybe the price will come down when the paperback edition arrives, but I’m not going to hold my breath, if I’m honest.

The question becomes, if I mean to blend these currently raw ingredients into a tasty anthology to earn some extra bucks, what becomes of the extant fiction? For one thing, I need to move it to a monthly schedule for the time being, until things on my end of the keyboard shake out a bit more. Maintaining a day job, working on a new novel, churning out query letters for a completed work and brewing up articles to feed into my pitching machine can be a difficult schedule to juggle, and I mean to up my game on all writing fronts. I’ve been letting my real passion lurk in the areas of ‘hobby’ and ‘passing fancy’ for far too long, and it’s time for me to change that.

What I think will work best is paring down the current offerings in the Free Fiction section to samples. A synopsis of the story, background on the origins of the myth and the genre, and a snippet of the actual text. This will pique interest, show my writing chops and maintain the content in the area, without needing to worry myself overmuch over the final fictional product right away. I can also release samples of novels and other works this way, and if a story does spill out of my brain with no place in either a novel or anthology, up it goes on Free Fiction!

Writerly types, those of you with real ink to your names, I need you to sound off. Is this a good idea? Am I going in the right direction? Or should I forget the thing entirely and keep on filing those TPS reports?

1 Comment

  1. For me, the fiction I put up for free generally consists of either things I never intend to sell or excerpts of unfinished pieces. Unfortunately, I have to sell every finished piece that I can to make ends meet.

    However, I do think that free fiction can be a good idea. Even offering free electronic copies of things you are selling can work – Cory Doctorow has shown that to be the case. And Neil Gaiman has said that the enemy of a writer isn’t piracy, but obscurity. Offering something for free can encourage people to try you out, and if they like your work they will, more often than not, then be willing to spend money on it.

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