I publish a lot of my fiction online, for free. I make a few bob here and there, not much. Nowhere near enough to pay any bills.

I publish free because I want people to read me. I don’t have the publishing skills, the marketing skills, though I think I have the writing skills, to make it stick as a paying endeavour.

However.

If you buy a story, or a novel, on Amazon or elsewhere, the deal is you pay for the enjoyment, the pleasure, the delight of reading somebody else’s efforts. You cannot then return it just because it wasn’t what you expected, even though Amazon’s ebook policy allows you to do just that.

You can’t return a physical book to a high street bookshop just because you think it’s crap. I’d have had money back for Stephen King’s The Stand if you could, and that didn’t happen, sad to relate.

Now here’s where it’s going. People on the internet are saying they should not have to pay for fiction on the internet. Why?

Here’s the alleged reasoning.

‘Well you didn’t make anything, did you? It was all in your head, you didn’t make anything, did you? All you did was that you thought it up.’

What the f*** are these f******* on about?

Let me give you an example. Here are two sentences I used in both a novel, and as part of a short story derived from it.

‘You need to hear that, a Frenchman and a Russian talking Spanish, but you still wouldn’t believe it. It sounded like a conversation between two Pentecostalists speaking in tongues just before swooning.’

I think that’s pretty funny, myself. But let’s look at this.

I had the idea for these lines for a pretty good while. But guess what? Guess how long it took me to craft these mere 32 words. Go on. Take a guess. Go on. I dare you. I double-dare you. Tell me how long I take to get it exactly right. Exactly how I wanted the characters to have been behaving, how they express themselves, both the fictional narrator and the fictional combatants.

This took over four hours.

I’m an amateur. The pros may take less time, they may take more. But trust me, there is no way on this earth that just imagining something is not real work, that it does not add value, that it should not be paid for!

Writing adds value to thought and imagination.

Cough the dosh, and shut the f*** up.

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