Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Valuing Our Work

by Lucy Felthouse

I had a conversation with someone recently that went something like this:

Woman: Oh, you'll have to lend me one of your books to read.

Me: I thought you were buying one? (I'd previously given her a business card with a link to my website, etc)

Woman: Oh, I was. But then I thought I didn't want to spend any money on it, in case I didn't like it.

Me: (in a jovial tone of voice) That's my livelihood you're taking away.

Woman: I'm not! I just wanted to lend one, then I'd give it back.

Me: What, with sticky pages?

This then, fortunately, diverted the attention away from the conversation and made everyone giggle, and it wasn't brought up again. But it made me think: what value is put on books? And I mean in all genres, not erotica specifically.

From what I can see, not much. Why do people balk at spending a couple of quid/dollars on an eBook (paperbacks, of course, are a different kettle of fish as they're usually more expensive) which will hopefully give them hours of reading pleasure (and maybe other kinds of pleasure, too!), and possibly then be read again sometime in the future? Yet they'll think nothing of spending more on a cup of coffee, which will be gone within half an hour, and not have any lasting impact on their life. The cup of coffee would have been made very cheaply, quickly and easily. Sure, it probably tastes good, but that's it.

A book wouldn't have been written cheaply, quickly or easily. Writing isn't any of those things. Yes, some people can write much faster than others, but that still doesn't make it an easy task. It's hard work. Enjoyable, yes, but still hard work, and, most importantly, a valid job/occupation.

I wonder if this is what it comes down to: people thinking writing isn't a proper job. Because, for the most part, we can set our own hours and have some freedom, it means it's not real. Therefore, if it's not a proper job, then we shouldn't expect to be paid properly.

Naturally, people "in the know" realise this is a load of rubbish. Although I don't write full-time, I'm gradually building up my volume of writing to boost my overall income. I don't rely on it, because I can't. Not by a long stretch. Therefore, it's important that my work (and every other writer's) is valued. Even if it's not a full-time job, it is still a job. Just because we enjoy it, love what we do, doesn't mean we should do it for free, or a pittance. Folk mistakenly believe that all published authors earn a fortune and therefore, what's one freebie here or there?

Sorry, not happening. I already run quite a few giveaways on my site, in my newsletter, as part of blog hops, and so on. And they are for people actually interested in reading my work. I hope that they will read one of my books, like it, and buy another. Maybe recommend it to their friends. If they don't like it, fair enough. Reading is subjective and, as much as I'd like to, I know I can't please everyone. But at least there's a chance of gaining another valuable reader. In the case of the woman above, I'm not sure I would have, regardless of whether or not she enjoyed my book. After all, if she's not willing to spend money, take a chance on a book/writer, then she clearly doesn't value writing.

I would love to hear your comments on this. Am I crazy? Over-sensitive? What? Should I just lend her a book?

Happy Reading,
Lucy


*****

Author Bio:


Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women's Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

14 comments:

  1. Ifs it's an author I enjoy I don't mind paying more for the book. Sadly I won't for an author I don't know, and probably wouldn't in an e book. Over the years I've spent 100s on covers I've fancied and couldn't read. Now its the e books cheaper and easier to carry

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    1. I know what you mean, Julie, but it's more that she wasn't even willing to try, and wasn't interested in eBooks in any case. Just print.

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  2. She needs to spend a few bucks and purchase the ebook! She just may have a new favorite author because Lucy is an amazing writer. Authors put their hearts in everything they write so they deserve something for taking their time to write something for us to enjoy!

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    1. Sadly, Debi, she's not interested in eBooks. Only print. But thank you for your lovely comments, I really appreciate it!

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  3. Had I of been in that class and overheard that convo I would have gone home and looked you up and downloaded a book to try. You don't have to spend alot to get a great book - 99p or even 77p! When I first got a kindle I went through all the Free book charts and downloaded ALOT!! I found some of my favourite authors this way. I once said in a group that buying an ebook for less than a pound was good for my health - it was either the book or a bar of Dairy Milk. I got alot more from the book than I would from the chocolate bar.
    I suspect she is not an avid book reader - if she was she would know what she suggested was wrong ... I adore Lucy's writing, she is one of my 'go-to' authors. I would read the phone book is she wrote it!

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    1. Thank you, Alison, you have both made my day and made me blush! <3

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  4. Long before I even considered becoming an author I bought books -LOTS of books- and I still do. What I don't understand is paying $5-10 for a cup of fancy coffee. Buy a bag and spend the rest of that money on books, you'll get so much more for so much longer (not to mention becoming a much more interesting person!)

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    1. Wow - I didn't even know coffee went as expensive as $10 (I don't drink it at home, much less while I'm out) - that just makes the situation even crazier!

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  5. You're not crazy, but I'm not sure about this lady with whom you were conversing!

    I think part of the problem is that ebooks aren't tangible. You never would consider asking someone to give you a music CD for free, but an MP3 file? Because in principle one can make an infinite number of copies, the objects don't seem "real" to many people.

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    1. Yeah, I know what you mean, Lisabet. But the woman in question only reads print, so that doesn't really come into the equation :(

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  6. Too true, Lisabet. Lucy, many of us share your frustration. Yet it doesn't sink in to many people who want free reading-matter that there is a direct connection between their attitude and the thin returns that many writers get for their work.

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    1. Nice to know I'm not alone, Jean :) Well, I won't let it worry me - I can't change attitudes, unfortunately, but I can value and appreciate the lovely readers I do have, and those that support my work. :)

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  7. I find the woman's attitude somewhat condescending, although she may not have meant it that way. She probably thought she was being nice - doing you a favor by reading one of your books.*snort* I think many people still believe that writers do it for the love, and therefore appreciation is the only reward needed. I once had a chiropractor ask for free books (like your woman, she wanted paperbacks), and I said, "Sure, maybe we can work out a trade for a couple of treatment sessions." She never mentioned it again.

    I thought your response was perfect on so many levels! :)

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    1. Yeah, I don't think she meant to sound horrible or anything, but, like your chiropractor, has never mentioned it again! :)

      And I do it for the love mostly, but the money is just a tiny portion of what I earn overall so I can't definitely can't afford to give paperbacks away!

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