Could I be any dumber? Obviously. My darling editor started reading the second draft of CORNERS, which I have completed and sent off to her a few days ago, and the first question she asked me was, "Did you think about copyright?" And I replied, boisterously, with flippant facetiousness, "Nope!" And then it hit me in the gut. Why didn't I? Was I blind? We do things in life sometimes that leave us puzzled. The short story is, I will have to swap out 8 of the 25 mentioned books in CORNERS for some other ones, because they are not in public domain (the author has to be dead for 70 years before her/his work enters public domain). What does this mean? Well, it means several things.Read More
I got this email from Christopher Garry, a fellow writer: "I am an editor and a writer. I have two quick questions for you...you use "Share Alike" license inside your books. Does that mean that people can modify your writing and then re-distribute it? Do you see any of your fans doing this? What is your favorite way to interact with your reader community? Clearly you are highly visible on Twitter but do you have maybe a newsgroup forum or any other way for readers to discuss your work? A wiki? A guide to the worlds you have built? That sort of thing?"
Well, it's 7 questions total, but hey, I'll answer them all! So here you go. (Also, if you read this whole post, you will convalesce from your all your illnesses. That, or I owe you a cookie.)
1. What using ShareAlike license means.
Let me begin with the official name for the beast. The license I self-publish my books under is called "Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported". The full text about it, including the lengthy legalese, can be found here. What does this mean? It means that you can do these things to my books:Read More
Ever since I finished writing SIREN SUICIDES, my 1st novel that is in the hands of my editor right now... no, wait, I'm lying, even before I finished it, I had people email me, and message me, and tweet me, all with similar questions. What does it mean, that you're giving your books away for free? Did you copyright your work? Can I make derivative work from yours? Can I write a screenplay based on it? Make a comic book? Write a song? Design a game? Shoot a movie? And every time I would say, sure, go ahead, knock yourself out! And it's not until now, until I published my very 1st book, the little book of my tweets on writing, BLUE SPARROW, did I look closely at the copyright law, simply because I had to include it on the page of my book, and also because a few people who wanted to create art based on SIREN SUICIDES have been asking me questions on what will I do with their screenplay, for example, if, let's say, Tarantino were to approach me (a girl can dream, right?) to make a movie. So, finally, I have decided that my books will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license, which is a long complicated mouthful, but it basically means that as long as you attribute your work to me and don't use it for commercial purposes, you can alter it, transform it, build on it, and share it, share it, share it! Do anything you want with it. Here is why I want to you to share my art and make more art.
I write not for success, but to share my love. Writing, simply put, makes me happy. It makes me shed my pain and be like a toddler, careless, light as a feather, wanting to create, create, create. I get a high out of inspiring people to do more art, and if my art inspires them, I want them to do it, so they can be as happy as I am, and then, together, perhaps we can make this world a happier place. My philosophy is this, if you love my art and have money, if you want to support me as an artist, pay what you want, donate, to keep me going. If you have no money, take my art for free and build on it. Think of the impact you will be making on this world if you support artists. It will return to you, ten-fold, twenty-fold, in the shape of more art, more love, and more inspiration.
I'm not alone, I'm only joining a movement. I haven't started this trend. Just look at the music industry, what used to sell is now a promotional product. People don't buy actual music anymore, but they pay to go to concerts, they buy t-shirts at those concerts, to show their support for that particular band. The publishing industry is catching up. With the advent of Internet the walls have fallen. There are no gatekeepers anymore between a reader and a writer. A writer can go directly to her or his audience, the audience is the publisher now. The audience decides whether or not a writer is successful or not. How? By sharing books. Nobody likes buying books, but everyone loves reading books. Don't cringe at me here, I know what you're thinking, because I'm a reader too. Books are becoming promotional material, eBooks in particular, with paper editions becoming more pieces of art to be bought after the book has been read, as a souvenir, or bought simply because you love a particular author (as in, you want to suport said author no matter what she or he writes). Cory Doctorow is doing it with his books, Amanda Palmer is doing it with her music. I'm simply joining the ranks.
I want my books to spread as far and as wide as possible. Everyone loves free stuff. I know, I love free stuff. Then how else can I build a reader base when I'm a complete unknown, starting to write my 1st novel? By giving it away, of course. If it's any good, people will spread it. It will spread fast, because I will make it easy to spread, providing anything my readers want, any format, any file, for free. If it's no good, well, bummer, I will have to try harder, write better, write every day and keep improving my skills until it's worthy of people's money. See, I'm giving my readers a chance to decide what it's worth to them, and it immediately tells me how good or bad my writing is. This kind of immediate feedback simply didn't exist before. Yes, we had best sellers lists (still have), but it takes forever for a traditionally published book to make it there (if it ever gets published, that is). By then a year or two have passed, and the writer might have moved on. I want immediate feedback, because writing is my life, and I want to know what to improve upon now, not 2 years later. Thus, I give my books away while I still draft them, for this instant feedback, to let my readers a chance to support me now, to help me improve now, to produce more great art now.
My reader, I love you. You make me want to write more for you. You, my reader, are my publisher. Copy my art, create more art, share it, send it to friends, get inspired, without any guilt or shame or fear, without any judgement. Simply for the love of art. If you have money, I ask you to support me directly as a writer. If you're broke, take it for free! If you ever make some money later, you can always come back and donate whatever amount you want. Call me crazy, call me nuts, but this is what I believe. I believe in giving love without asking for anything in return, and then, if I happen to fall, a million hands will catch me. I just know it.