Monday, November 2, 2015

My thoughts on revenue aka shut up Wesley

Every now and then I like to break from reviews and give a little tidbit on my view of the world. This has been on my mind for a while, but it finally came to a head with Wil Wheaton's article stating that bloggers should be paid for their work. Link to that article is here. And to that I say, sorry Wil Wheaton, but you're wrong.

We live in a growing and changing society. At this particular point in time, we want to have things for free. I mean, who doesn't, right? There is now a streaming service that provides free movies, free game aps on your phone, pirating, youtube that plays free music, torrents-the list goes on and on. And, sad but true, some authors do not help this problem. Many of us post our work for free online. One only has to go to to see a few thousand free stories for people to read. Bloggers, who, according to Wil Wheaton, should be paid as well, post free content on their blog.

This means two things. One is that because there is such an extensive amount of writing online, the writing world is suffering from an oversaturation, whether that be free books, self-published books, or traditionally published ones. If there was a rare commodity of something, we would pay more for it. And when there is plenty of something else, we pay....well, less. Since there is so much available online, most writers-besides a lucky few-are paid little to nothing no matter how much work they put into it. 

The second is that each system is trying to adapt to the less revenue coming in from consumers. For example, since television has declining sales due to free on-line videos, they are now offering unique videos in exchange for ordering their stream service. The newest Star Trek series coming out is one example. What, you want this new series? Well, pay five bucks a month and you get to see it. Video games are charging for DLC's or extra features. Writers are doing something virtually unheard of in the past-setting up 'Gofund me' pages and literally begging people to give them money to publish a book. 

As for blogging, well, look at all the popular blogs, a lot of which are advertised on facebook. Notice something they have in common? All of them are covered in ads. Some of them try to trick the reader by posting them right next to the 'next page' button. In a lot of cases this is annoying, but there is a reason behind it. When people are clicking ads, they pay the blogger. Or even when they are not clicking on the ads, the blogger can earn money from a large number of people who look at their blog (not very much, mind you, but something is better than nothing). This is what the Huffington Post means by exposure. 

So sorry, Wil Wheaton, but unless the world makes a drastic change, we will continue to walk hand-in-hand down the mutual path to free stuff. But it's not all bad. Some bloggers have found a way to earn back revneue, even if it is very little. In other words, I'm sorry but....

 Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments below :)


Chris Hewson said...

Well-worded article, Natasha!

RR Kovar said...

Making art is work, and people should be paid for their work. If someone wants to give away their art for free, great, but it should not be expected of them. If you are a successful author, people pay you to show up and talk, answer questions, and sign books. Asking a successful author to do that "for exposure" he/she does not need is basically saying that you think your platform is more valuable than every other venue at which they appear. That's absurd, and I don't blame him for not wanting to do that. If someone needs that kind of exposure and thinks it will help, then they can make that call, but mostly what others in the business will think when they see your byline on a HuffPo piece is that you'll work for free, and that seems to be a bad precedent to set. Lawyers don't work for free - unless they choose to. Same for doctors and professors and grocery clerks. Why should the work of writing be deemed less valuable? That seems to be setting up a system whereby writers are never paid for what they put out in the world, and some of us don't like to work for free - unless we feel like it.