Hello. It’s time to try to address a some questions that I’ve received through my website. I will group and paraphrase the related questions into two groups.
Question #1: You’ve posted a lot of very useful information on here. Why don’t you put it into a book and charge for it? I bet people would pay at least $.99 for it in eBook format. Somebody could steal this information and put it into a book, couldn’t they?
Actually, I thought about taking down my blog posts and publishing them in an eBook shortly after putting the information up and realizing how many hits I was receiving on my website. There were a number of considerations that made me decide against it.
1.) I love writing fiction. Non-fiction is work. And because I am a perfectionist, putting this information into a book would mean countless hours spent researching to ensure I had included all necessary information, then more hours on layout and formatting, including more graphics, and so on. It was time I chose NOT to spend doing something that, although enjoyable, is not something I am passionate about. I work a full-time job 9-hours per day, and I have a family. The little time that remains to me, I prefer to spend on my passion: fiction.
2.) If you write non-fiction and put a book out for which you charge, you have a responsibility to ensure that the information stays current and accurate. If it doesn’t, before long people will stop buying your book. The idea of being responsible for checking the accuracy of the information in the eBook every few months and doing updates to it in a timely manner was daunting. But I feel no such responsibility with my blog posts because they are free. If the information changes without me knowing, I’m not going to worry too much about it. I’m sure that, if someone attempts to follow some of my instructions and they discover those instructions no longer work, they will let me know. Then, when I have time I will post an update to the blog post. But I don’t feel responsible for actively testing and updating that information.
3.) I’m sure some people would be willing to spend $.99 for an eBook containing this information. However, while I get tens of thousands of hits per month on my website accessing this blog, most of the people who find this site are looking for FREE information. Many do not consider searching Amazon or Barnes & Noble for a non-fiction book. However, when I was actively considering putting my blog posts into an eBook, I researched those sites and found that there are books already published which contain this information and more. Yes, there is always room for another book if you can find a new theme or slant for the information, but the ranking of the books I found suggested to me that sales were not booming. At least not to the extent that the numbers would tempt me to spend precious time turning my blogs into a book. The simple fact is that many people, if they are patient, are perfectly capable of learning the process on their own, as I did.
4.) Regarding theft of the information: The information itself is available to anyone who cares to go through the process of publishing with CreateSpace, so they can share it from personal experience. Yes, I suppose someone could steal my blog posts and turn them into a book. However, my writing is protected by copyright. So anyone attempting to steal the information would have to spend countless hours ensuring that none of my sentences or phrases are copied. And substituting a word here or there is not enough to transform my writing into theirs as the recent case where a woman plagiarized an entire book by changing the wording slightly in each sentence revealed. And with people combing the Internet as much as they do, I’m certain someone would inform me that my work had been plagiarized. The professional writing community does not look kindly on plagiarism. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. If you’re curious, do a little research concerning plagiarism on Google.
Question #2: I enjoy your blog posts. Why don’t you post more often? I can help you with ideas if you need some.
I actually have a number of ideas and a number of questions to which I should respond more often. However, the simple truth is that it’s rare for a regular blog to benefit a fiction novelist in any meaningful (read financial) way unless they are already relatively famous. With fiction authors, novels tend to drive readers to a website rather than the other way around. That means that the percentage of people who discover an author’s books via his or her website and then go buy the books is very small. So, while I love my readers and the people who spend their precious time reading my blog posts, I have to weigh the value of spending time on my blog posts versus the time spent working on my novels. I apologize to those who would like to see more blog posts from me, but the work-in-progress always wins. If you are an author or aspiring author, I’m sure you can understand that.