Stories are a Timeless, Magical Gift

The inspiration I’m given to write does not belong to me. It comes from the same source that created me, you, and everyone you love. It comes from Being itself. I’ve always had qualms about selling the fruits of that inspiration. It’s taken years of contemplation, waffling, and facing fear – yes, fear. Fear that by giving away my stories I will be seen as lacking dedication to the literary craft. Fear that making my stories free will somehow hurt other writers who want and need to make money from their art. Fear that even if the stories are free, no one will read them.

 

I don’t want to be a best seller. Writing isn’t about self-aggrandizement. It is pure gift, and gifts by their definition are outside of commerce. After years of contemplation, I finally realized that the “price” of free says nothing about the purity of my intent when I write. I can give you a gift, and still be dedicated to my craft. My only goal is to keep learning to be a better writer. I’d love for you to join me on the journey.

I’m sorry if you are a writer who feels this hurts you. I respect the effort you put into your creations. I pay for your books – happily. If you are a writer who is following the same path I am, and I read your story, I will click your Donate button. The nature of the gift demands reciprocity. Money (sadly) is still the easiest way to make the return, and to show appreciation.

If no one reads my stories, even free, that is not mine to carry or change. Words move those they are meant to move, and it is not within my control to decide how many people or who or even when my words reach them. That said, empirical evidence on Wattpad and Smashwords indicates people are reading my free offerings. I am working to get price-matching to trickle into Amazon, but even though that hasn’t happened yet, I feel a great soul-contentment to have every one of my published works available for free – as a gift – on Smashwords.

You can find links to free downloads for all of my books on my publishing website: http://www.oddskybooks.com

As always,

-aniko

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4 thoughts on “Stories are a Timeless, Magical Gift

  1. I just went to oddskybooks.com, a new site for me. I tried to open “Moon Sick” on smashword, but had no luck. I’ll have to go back and try it again. I’m looking for that gift!

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  2. It’s a brave path to follow, Aniko, in a commercially-driven world, and I respect you for it. I don’t really see why any other writer would feel that what you’re doing hurts them – some of the greatest books ever written can be downloaded for free, and that doesn’t seem to hurt anyone! The idea that making money out of your fiction is equivalent to being a ‘proper’ writer has always made me deeply uncomfortable; it’s obviously fallacious, and yet it continues to hold a considerable amount of sway in some people’s minds.

    I love the freedom and the possibilities offered by self-publishing, but I’m sometimes a little uncomfortable with the way purely financial imperatives seem to govern many authors’ thinking. Self-publishing can, if we want it to, free us from the commercial constraints that, in effect, have made traditional publishing something of a closed house to many authors. And I’m not being sniffy in saying that: writers of commercial fiction are producing books that people enjoy and are willing to pay for, and that’s great. But it certainly isn’t everything.

    I’m looking forward to a day when self-publishing forms a thriving, exciting community, which encompasses everything from the most commercial writers to the oddballs, the misfits, those who experiment, and those who do not consider financial reward to be the most important thing, or even important at all. I don’t know whether that day will ever arrive, but I hope so!

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    • Mari, thank you for another thoughtful and beautifully expressed response. One of my favorite things about a blog, as opposed to any other form of social media, is the opportunity to engage in an actual dialog. I find our conversations enriching in a way that harkens back to the days of handwritten letters.

      Recently, I unsubscribed from several newsletters and blogs because I was exhausted by the inundation of voices offering to “help” me make more money, sell more books, and (gasp!) be a bestseller! There is a strong current of thought that if you are not making money as an indie, you aren’t doing “it” right. I never wanted my art to be about money, but it is difficult to choose a different path, especially when that choice brands me an illegitimate writer in popular opinion. I have failed to become a traditionally published author. I have failed to be a money-machine indie author. Yet these failures are failures when measured by someone else. I have done, to the best of my ability, exactly what I am meant to do. When I feel unsure, I hop over to Dan Holloway’s Manifesto and remind myself of what matters to me. (Mari, I’m sure you’ve read his Sensualist Manifesto, but for those who have not, go here –> https://danholloway.wordpress.com/the-retro-sensualist-manifesto/).

      I love the democratization and the openness of the self-publishing milieu. Yes, some people are writing to make a quick buck, and yes, that is somehow working for them. Yes, some people are publishing stories that need another year or two of editing to be what I would consider polished – but even then, I remind myself that my measure is not the only one. What matters is that more voices have an opportunity to be shared, and to be heard. I think we have the opportunity to become the “thriving, exciting community” you envision, but it will take courage – and a lot of people choosing to do what is right for them, rather than blindly following either money or popular opinion.

      -aniko

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