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Creatives at Work

Posted by on February 17, 2016

Earlier this month, Kristen Lamb blogged: A Culture Addicted to FREE: How Free is Poisoning the Internet and Killing the Creatives.

It’s a good, thought-provoking article.

The mentality of wanting something for nothing isn’t new. It’s tempting, isn’t it? Who doesn’t want something for free or get a good deal on it? I know deep down inside of me there’s a desire for it to be sure! Especially when we’re on a tight budget!

I recognize it, but push it aside. I aim to do the opposite.

But I don’t think this is just limited to the creatives. There’s a growing sense of take-take-take, but not enough giving back in the world today. And this wanting something for nothing is not just in regards to products or services we pay for, but also volunteers. I am a sucker for volunteering. That’s one of my “giftings”. Ha! We give freely of our time and energy, but if we aren’t careful, we’ll run ourselves into the ground.

But back to the creatives at work. It’s hard to put a price tag on art. People work really hard to produce something we enjoy and we can never know how much work (and mental anguish!) that goes into something until we’ve experienced it. With the ease of sharing art out in cyberspace (music, photos, artwork, stories, craft, recipes, etc), it’s easy to forget the work involved or that it is someone else’s livelihood. After reading Lamb’s Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, I am very curious to see how social media and cyberspace will influence our ever-increasing interconnected world and what that will do for the creatives.



4 Responses to Creatives at Work

  1. DJ Edwardson

    Yeah, of the currently successful independent authors I’m aware of every single one of them has something free in their catalog. For some it’s something permanently free. For my own work, the one with the most reviews is one of my free short stories.

    But call me stubborn or just plain contrarian, but I do not plan on giving my longer work away for free. The reason is because I, as a consumer, place a lower value on books that are free. And I think that’s pretty much how other readers feel, because I gave away 10,000 copies of my dystopian novel, Into the Vast, and that netted me 33 reviews. So that means my book is sitting around on about 9,967 Kindles either unread or unvalued (meaning it wasn’t worth writing a review about).

    So what to do about nothing? My plan is just to keep writing and actually place *less* emphasis on the digital space and more emphasis on my physical sales. Because at the end of the day, that’s what I still want as a consumer, a physical book. A physical book has inherent value because each copy cost something physical to produce (paper) so it seems to me that this is the way to really go. Now if I only had a clue about how to get there. 🙂

    • J.L. Mbewe

      Hi DJ! One thing about those 10,000 copies, it brought exposure and allowed readers to take a chance on a new or new-to-them author and bumped your Amazon ranking as well. (Um…I am one of those who downloaded it, but TIME and I’m not that much into sci-fi, don’t hate me! But I will check it out…eventually…as I am sure many other readers are in similar situations. Don’t lose hope!) I discovered Patrick W. Carr and Anne Elisabeth Stengl that way. Both of their first books were free, and then I went to buy their books later. (I did receive a few for blog tours and won another in a giveaway. BUT I still bought the others.) By the way, 10K copies, that is awesome! And you got 33 reviews out of it. That is great. It just takes time to find the readers that will fall in love with your writing. But I get what you are saying. A free ebook can catch my eye enough to download, but when we have so many books to choose from, it’s easy for some of the freebies to slip by in the ever-growing to-read pile. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts!


      I am very curious about your fantasy novel. 😀

  2. Christina @ Martha, Martha

    LOL, yes, do it for “exposure”! The internet has made it easier for creatives to be paid and to get their work in front of eyes, but that same do-it-yourself aspect means that we have to be everything in our business–the creative, the marketer, the salesperson, the account manager, the designer….. Giving away free can be beneficial if it actively leads to a monetized plan, but if it’s just for exposure, it’s generally, just working for free.

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J.L Mbewe - Author