The President of the Authors Guild has decreed that authors should not be writing online for free. She says that it devalues book sales and there is no correlation between blogging and making more money.
In an interview with the Bookseller, Authors Guild President Roxana Robinson said “People write on Huffington Post, they write for Goodreads, they write for Medium.com: valuable sites owned by big tech companies that make a lot of money for those companies. Writers choose to write there for nothing and to provide content for nothing. That’s another issue, and that is something that writers are doing deliberately.”
Robinson drives home the point that writing for free, does not increase book sales. “I don’t know that anyone has figures on sales that result from this kind of writing (for free),” she said. “Everyone says, ‘get your name out there’, but does that really translate to connecting to the hard mental presence of the book? We want writers to recognize what is happening, to be aware of this trend, that writers themselves are contributing to the idea that their writing doesn’t deserve to be paid for.”
Roxanne is dead wrong about authors devaluing their books if they write for free. Many of today’s most notable writers are constantly in the media, whether its William Gibson writing for Wired or Hugh Howey’s Authors Earnings website. Its important to be build brand identity and to write for publications who reach readers, who wouldn’t have otherwise known who the author was. I have discovered many new writers who after the article ends, mentions their latest book.
What Roxanne is advocating is that writers shouldn’t be blogging or contributing book reviews to GoodReads. Instead, they should be writing more books. I think this is a load of crap, if you are just writing books, who is going to read them if they don’t know who the author is? You might as well as be a lowly self-published writer on Smashwords.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.