Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do You Really Value Writing?

I know if I ask all of you writers if you value the written word, I'm 99% sure all of you, including me, would say, yes. But do your actions support that value? We can all say we value writing, but do we really?

On March 28, the New York Times is doing something, that I think should have been done a long time ago. They will not be giving away all their content for free. If you subscribe to the print version you have full access to their online content. If you are someone who enjoys reading the online content, but doesn't subscribe, you will get 20 articles per month for free and then need to pay for more.

Some say, we shouldn't have to pay for content. Others say people will go elsewhere because the Internet is saturated with news and information and the same info is available elsewhere. But is it really? Sure there is tons of content on the web, but is it all good and accurate?

So, back to my original question: do you value writing? If you do, then you should have no problem paying for good content whether that is online or in print. Because as a writer yourself, you know how much time goes into it and you want your work to be valued and appreciated.

We can even take this a step further by asking if you support writers and news outlets in your area? Do you show your support for authors by attending book signings and book events? Do you buy books from your local bookstores? Do you subscribe to your local or regional newspaper?

If we truly value writing, then as writers we should band together to support our colleagues in the industry. We should show people that writers deserve to get paid for their work and we should do this with not only our words, but with our actions.

Do you agree or disagree?



Jeffrey Beesler said...

I totally agree with this. This is why I go to Writer's Conferences, let authors do guest spots on my blog, critique other's works, and that sort of thing. We as writers need to support each other because this world can be downright cruel at times, too.

Heidi Windmiller said...

I struggle with this. I do agree in the value of writing, but I don't think that that value should always be monetary.

I want other writers to be able to make a living from writing. For me, that isn't the priority, and the value of my writing has nothing to do with whether other people purchase it.

Faith E. Hough said...

Supporting writers is very important to me; I worry about all the online availability of books, because I worry we'll end up with musicians have to deal with with song sharing...
The demise of the print newspaper is a really sad thing. I wish there was some way to stop it, but unfortunately more people care about the bare facts than having them presented well.

John Paul said...

I agree. I have mixed feelings about using my Kindle, but I can read about a book a week (YA, mostly, so it's not hard)and the books do cost, sometimes more than the print editions, but I love getting my hands on excellent writing immediately.
Faith's comment about the demise of print news reminded me of a book by Alex Jones (Pulitzer prize winner,formerly from NY Times) "Losing the News" excellent book treats that topic

Heidi Windmiller said...

This is a great post Kerrie. I've been thinking about it all day.

I still haven't been able to make up my mind, but you've got me thinking!

Kerrie said...

Thank you all for chiming in on this. I think it is a great thing for writers to think about and discuss.
Jeffrey, you are right--this world can be downright cruel. Writers need to stick together.

Heidi, I agree that the value doesn't have to be monetary. What I was trying to say is that if writers are trying to make a living (like the reporters from the New York Time) we should support them and not give up reading The NY Times because they are now charging for content. (BTW, I think it is great that you were thinking about this all day.:-) )

John and Faith, I am not too worried about e-books having a negative impact on the publishing world, as long as people are willing to pay for the content. Authors still get royalties based on e-book sales.

John Paul McKinney said...

Kerrie, Thanks. I'm just learning to use this blogging bit and it is proving helpful.

Dean K Miller said...

Definitely so, to answer the base question. Anyone, including the NYT, has the option to value base its material. Therein lies the much is it worth? When a product is offered at a new lower price, I often want to ask for a refund for the last 9 months when the "value" was deemed higher, but now it is lower. I don't find myself thinking I'm getting a bargin, but rather that I've been duped for the past period of time.

I just hope my friends don't ask how much I value their friendship. I wouldn't be able to buy the Times...

Patricia Stoltey said...

I totally agree. Making an effort to attend book signings, especially those of local authors, is especially supportive (yes, even if you don't buy the book). I've slacked off on this over the last few months due to other commitments, but always enjoy hearing local authors talk about their trials and triumphs when I am able to attend.

As for free or almost free material, it depends. Newspapers get most of their income from advertising, so I'm not sure how much of an impact subscriptions have on content and frequency of publication.

Book suthors, however, make their money on advances and royalties. Purchasing books keeps the publishing industry alive. Digital books aren't going away, so the big discussion today centers around pricing, and that's an interesting debate.

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