Something for nothing

Writer Harlan Ellison famously said: “I don’t even take a piss without getting paid.”

Sadly, I’m not Harlan Ellison. And while I totally agree with his staunch defence of writers’ right to get paid for their labours, my take on writing for free is this: I’ll do it for myself or for deserving others, but not for some rich corporation that could afford to pay me but would rather just stiff me.


Let me get to the point. Starting from noon Monday, November 18th, 2013, Japan time… ie today, I’ll be publishing a chapter a day, every day, of Half Life: A Hana Walker Mystery, until the whole darn book is published on this blog. For free.

It’s a bit of a business risk, I must admit. I’m cheapening the book, implying it’s worthless by not demanding money to read it, and being my first novel, it’s (I sincerely hope) not my best work.

But here’s the bet I’m willing to make: I’m betting it’s good enough that a few folk will read a few chapters and enjoy it and might even get hooked. And some will get tired of waiting for the next instalment and just buy the bloody book. And a few, a precious few, might even spring to buying a copy of the sequel, Prime Life, that I’ll publish as soon as I can in the New Year.

But if not, at least you’ll be able to read my stuff, which is what it’s all about, right, Harlan?


2 thoughts on “Something for nothing

  1. This can certainly work very well. I know that pretty much all new authors I’ve found the past five years have been through freebies – one volume in a series, or a few short stories, or an early stand-alone work – downloaded from the net. That’s how I found Charles Stross, for instance, and I’ve found a number of good authors from the Humble Book Bundle. As Stross blogged at one time: the problem for authors is not readers ripping off their books; the problem is to get anyone to take a chance on reading you in the first place.

    With that said, it can perhaps be riskier when you don’t yet have a large body of work. Now, you are in the process of adding to your catalogue, but this one book represents a large prtion of your entire body for you, while a single story is just a drop in the bucket for someone like Neil Gaiman.

    Anyway, looking forward to it! 🙂

  2. Yes, Janne. Good point about it representing a larger chunk of my catalogue. There’s only one way to balance the equation, write more books 🙂

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