Why & How:
Until now, the model for e-publishing has been based on traditional book marketing.
The environment may be different, the product format new, but the method
has basically been the same: create the book, present it as a purchasable product to
the customer and ask for payment.
The web has been thought of simply as a new "place" to transact these sales,
with websites the new "bookstores" and e-book programs the new vehicle for
reading. Sample chapters are generally offered free with the hope that readers will
pay to download or unlock the rest of the e-book. The reading can be done online,
offline, or in a portable reading device, depending on the programs format. This
doesn't seem to have been effective and can even frustrate and alienate the reader.
Few people pay to download the rest. Recently the push has been towards
digital storage of books that can be printed on request. A quick survey (or an
extended one) shows that virtually all e-publishers and authors use this model--book for
sale on website.
While e-book sales are improving as technology grows and more people become acclimated to
a computer environment for reading, the results, unfortunately, have not been what authors
and publishers originally anticipated. The brave, new world of online novel sales
never quite materialized. Why?
three things that others have either overlooked or under-prioritized so far:
1. Readers must be
acclimated to a new reading environment before sales catch up to the
potential. Reading from a computer screen must become as natural
as reading a paper book.
2. The net lacks
the editorial filter of the traditional publishing world. Readers
must wade through an online 'slushpile" to find worthwhile reading
material, discouraging many from trying new ebook formats.
3. The internet has
evolved into an advertising medium. Booksellers are trying to
impose a static blueprint for sales on a fluid medium that
originated for the free exchange of information--and wondering why it
Viewers and listeners do not pay to see or hear
TV and radio programs. They receive them free in exchange for
viewing ads that support the shows by leading customers to the advertisers' products.
Script writers and show producers sell to advertisers, not
directly to the viewing audience.
No one would expect to pay before viewing the next installation of their favorite soap
opera or talk show; no one would call a radio show and give them their credit info to hear
the rest of a song. Why do authors and publishers presume that online readers--our
audience--would pay to read the next chapter, no matter how good the book is?
By reversing the old model and using the book to sell the product instead,
Free-Fiction.com recognizes (and takes full advantage of the fact) that the internet is
the medium, not the method, for presenting new work and
new authors. Payment comes not from book sales, but from the advertisers to whom we
introduce our readers.
advertisers, in turn,
will support the writers showcased on
our site. If we are correct in our analogy of the net to TV and radio, then
"free fiction" will pay off for everyone.
Because we focus on acclimating readers
to ebooks, we benefit other epublishing sites as well. Readers who
have had a pleasant reading experience on our site will be more apt to
buy ebooks in other formats elsewhere. In time we may offer for
sale other works by our authors in conjunction with their free novels
and stories. Having an editorial filter in place assures our
visitors that they will always enjoy the work we present, whether free
or for sale.
Being very aware of the above three
facts, Free-Fiction.com does its best to
make this site the
place that people equate with reading online. We believe that,
in the future, our concern for both our readers and our authors will
benefit everyone involved.
A Word From The Editor:
"As Editor of Free-fiction.com I am committed, not just to
acclimating readers to a new style of reading, but also to creating a new source of revenue for
writers and developing a new prestige and
pride in being published electronically. While most agree that epublishing
should be as viable an option as traditional publication, advances, royalties and sales
are usually the yardsticks that determine the "value" of author and book.
To date, epublishing has failed to generate lucrative returns. The fiction is no
less valuable, but electronic books are still viewed as second-best, poor country cousins
to their paper counterparts.
Unfortunately, most writers subscribe to and enforce the same
prejudice, offering only work they believe can be "wasted" electronically after
years of traditional marketing, or complaining when a traditional publisher considers
their work published when it was "just on a website."
Free-Fiction.com hopes to change that.
While we will insist on well-written and well-constructed work,
we are primarily looking for writers who believe in and take pride in their work . . .
writers who want to reach readers with an engaging story . . . writers who do not feel
their work has been cheapened by producing it electronically or view this as a temporary
fix until they can get a "real" contract, agent or publisher. In short, we
want writers who will actively work to change the face of epublishing by offering their
Like Anne Frank, I believe that people are basically good at
heart. I cannot help but believe that readers will respond to such writers by
visiting our sponsors. The more they visit advertisers, the more we
will be able to pay our authors, increasing that sense of pride and prestige which,
unfortunately, too often rests on the amount a book earns. However, such is real
life. At Free-Fiction.com readers will be the judges of a book's "worth"
and this, imo, is how it should be.