Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Yeah, I'm a Sell-Out. So What?

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

A week or so ago, author Brian Keene wrote something that I've been thinking about a lot lately. At the Horror Drive-In forums, regarding the rise of digital piracy and the glut of Kindle e-books that are either FREE or priced at 99 CENTS, Brian wrote:

"We are training an entire generation of readers and consumers to expect the book for free, or next to nothing. I can't feed my sons on free or next to nothing."


For some reason, writers have been conditioned to believe that you must give your work away for free until you "make a name for yourself." This practice is becoming more and more common with the ease of Kindle Direct Publishing, where anyone can upload and sell (or give away) their books or stories or self-help manuals or instructionals on how to crossbreed frogs and monkeys. And it's a practice that makes me shudder almost every time.

Here's why.

Question: When was the last time either of these scenarios have happened?

1.) As a working professional, you attended a job interview for your dream position. You were dressed smartly and didn't smell like you had washed up that morning in a McDonalds bathroom. The bosses, impressed with your education, said, "Okay, we're going to offer you the job, but you'll have to work for free until we decide you're worth paying."


2.) A fancy new restaurant opened up just down the street from your house. You were there on opening day, with your family and friends, and you all cozied up into a booth with a scenic lake view. When handed a menu, you said, "The prime rib and garlic potatoes sounds good, and so do the crab legs. I'll take both, but I'm going to come back tomorrow and try a few other things, and I want it all for free until I decide your food is good enough to pay for." And they agreed.


I left that blank because it should be obvious.

Now, let's take those metaphors and translate them into terms that concern us as writers. Let's say Editor A has one open slot in an anthology about real life encounters with zombie chickens. Along with his submission, Writer #1 puts in his cover letter, "I have fifty stories available for free on my blog, and each one has been viewed fifty times." Writer #2 submits a story, and writes in her cover letter, "I have sold one story to Editor B for inclusion in [nationally distributed magazine of your choice]."

Question: Both stories being equal, who do you think is going to get the nod? The writer who gives his work away for free or the writer who convinces the editor that her work is worth paying for?


I left that blank because the answer should be obvious.

Writing is hard work. Like any other skill, it takes time and study and patience and, yes, even natural talent. And before you can convince an editor that your work is worth paying for, before you can convince readers that your work is worth paying for, you have to believe that your work is worth paying for.

In very simple terms, the biggest difference between a professional and an amateur is that a professional gets paid.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What Are You Doing On March 18?

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

If you're local, you should come out to RJ's in Dover, NH, where I'll be reading as part of the "Like Life, But Shorter" indie film series. Get there early to check out a short, silent comedy called "Bundle of Joy," and stick around after me for a brutal "Finale" (the trailer for which you can watch below). This film looks sick, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Editor For Hire

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

Are you a writer who hates to edit? Have you finished a novel, and now you're seeking a pair of critical, educated eyes to give you a new perspective? Read on. My offer may interest you.

In an effort to build my portfolio as a freelance editor, I've decided to throw out a few special deals for interested parties. For the moment, I'm focusing on novels within the 55,000 - 120,000 word range. The level of editing and/or critique will be tailored to each author's specific needs or desires. Want me to line edit? You got it. Want developmental editing, my comments on things like character arc, plot, or pacing? Sure. You just want me to proofread? Will do. 

My rates are extremely competitive, and just so you know what you're getting yourself into, I'll edit your first ten pages (12 pt. font, double-spaced, one-inch margins) for free. If you like what you see in those ten pages, we'll outline a plan and then start talking expectations, deadlines, and cost.

Credentials? I hold a Bachelor's Degree in English Language and Literature from Southern New Hampshire University. In the summer of 2012, I'll be awarded my MFA in Fiction Writing from that same university, where I've had the pleasure of working with--and learning from--a gang of talented writers and editors, all of whom are award winners or national/international best-sellers. (Side note: I can't say enough good about SNHU's MFA program. If you take your writing seriously, and you want to improve your craft - and we all have room to improve - clickety clickety on that link.)

So, looking for an editor? Shoot me an email at jasonkorolenko (at) gmail (dot) com and let's talk.