Monday, June 22, 2015

KU and Wanting to Be Read

Last Wednesday, I posted my initial thoughts on KU. Over the last week, I've read several other writers' thoughts on the matter. I'm surprised how many writers don't care if they are read; they just want to make money from their books.

I have to admit that this sort of thinking boggles me. Fiction publishing is delicate balance between art, entertainment and widget selling. It's a little bit of all three, so believing it's all one thing turns into a self-defeating mess.

Why? Because if the art doesn't entertain, it will not be borrowed, much less bought by the populace. If my first book doesn't entertain, then the reader will not pick up the second, or third, or fourth, etc. I will not continue to make money because I disappointed the reader, and the reader will most likely share their opinions with their friends.

Now granted, it's impossible to please everyone, but writers should hit with a good chunk of their target market. This is where word-of-mouth kicks in. As readers talk about your book, more of their friends and relatives start reading your books. In return, you make more money.

However, some writers just want to be bought, or borrowed under the old KU system. They make money on the appearance of entertainment, not on actual entertainment. It means instead of only polishing the first 10% of a story, they need to polish the whole damn thing in order to for the book not to be returned, or to earn money on the revised KU system.

This is what Kris Rusch was talking about when she referred to gaming in her column last week. It's not about short story writers vs. serial writers vs. novel writers. It's not about genre vs. genre vs. litfic. It's about giving the reader the experience they desire when they read. Which means a quality product for that particular length and genre. That means wanting to be read.

Not throwing up random words. Not posting cut/pasted stories or articles. Not putting in a bunch of filler to pad the content.

Write a great story that has your reader's coffee grow cold. One that makes her forget to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer. One that makes her miss her subway stop.

Write a story they can't forget. That's the way to make money on KU.


  1. I think that's the big problem with gaming a system -- even if you call it "studying the system and making best use of how it works" [cough] or whatever whine apologists come up with at the time -- is that if you focus too hard on how to work the system, you might forget how to make the story work for the readers. The writing is always the most important thing. It amazes me how many people miss that, and refute it even if told. [sigh]


  2. I have no problem someone STUDYING the market, or even writing to the market if it's a genre they enjoy writing. But not caring if someone reads their work? What's the point in publishing? There's easier ways to make money.

    1. I agree about studying the market. But most of the people who were savaging Kris seemed to think that there's absolutely no difference between studying the market and gaming the system. If it's passive-agressive crap then they need to be kicked in the corner and ignored. If they honestly don't see the difference, if that's the level their comprehension of detail and difference is at, then I doubt I'd enjoy their books anyway. :/