Friday, December 02, 2005

Naked Writer Question

Now that I’ve done the regular Half-Nekkid Thursday thing for several weeks in a row, some friends of mine have asked: “Why are you doing that?” You mean, besides the fact that it’s fun, besides being a part of Osbasso’s cool genesis that has become such a phenomenon and all my wonderful and creative HNT colleagues who participate in it?

Okay, besides that, there are two things:

Traffic and readers.

HNT brings a lot of traffic to my blog every Thursday (with blips of traffic waves due to the whole HNT thing on other days of the week as well). So, thank you Osbasso and my HNT friends. You’ve given me more readers.

It makes me pose a writing related question to myself. I think it would also be interesting to see how other writers would answer it, so I’m offering you (yes you know who YOU are, fellow writers) to either answer the question in a comment or pose it and answer it on your own blog (there I just gave you a fun writing assignment/idea. Aren't you glad you stopped by?).


QUESTION: You are offered a once in a lifetime choice between having half a million people buy your book BUT NOT READ IT where you make $2.00 in royalties for the each book sold (Thus landing you $1,000,000), or having 1 million people read your book for free, and you make nothing but perhaps a small honorarium. What option do you choose, and why?

ANSWER: I’d take the million readers over the million dollars. No doubt about it. Sure, the cash would be nice. Who am I kidding, it would be awesome. But I write to be read, not in an effort to be rich. If it was riches I was after, I certainly wouldn’t have chosen writing. There are far better pursuits with guaranteed income, like real estate and porn.

Don’t get me wrong, if I ever actually start making money from my writing, real money, “go ahead and quit your day job” kind of money, I will be very thrilled, ecstatic actually. But I write because I have no choice as well as for the possibility of being read. The thought of a million readers is, to me, more exciting than a million dollars.

So there you have it, another little window into my soul.

And a long, drawn-out answer as to one of the other reasons why I’m a converted HNT person. It draws people to my blog. Thursdays my daily unique visitor hits double and sometimes triple. And my “return visitor” traffic ever since I started HNT has continued to increase over the weeks as well.

Sure, some visitors might just be looking for a cheap thrill (if you can believe that seeing a middle-aged balding guy with more hair on his body than on his head is exciting). But all the extra traffic also holds the promise of yet another reader. Maybe even someone who might consider buying my current short story collection, or one of my future releases. Hey, the royalties would be nice, really nice, and I feel a little tingle when I get my quarterly royalty report and see that another small handful of books were sold. Not because of the small cheque I get to cash, but because it means that there's another small handful of people out there with my book in their hands. And even if the increased traffic doesn’t increase sales of my book, at the very least it increases the opportunity that another someone is reading my words.

I am a writer, tried and convicted. At this moment in time you are my reader. I love you for that, more than I can ever express.

Thanks for visiting, thanks for reading. Now, all you writers out there, go ahead and pose the question on your own (feel free, of course, to include a link back to my site here, I certainly won't mind an extra hit or two)


Ryan Oakley said...

Hi Mark

I'd take the money and look for a loophole. That sort of money buys a lot of loopholes.

Pete Mitchell said...

Given the choice, I would take the money; no question about it.

But I would continue writing anyway, and that writing would improve. For there is a huge difference between writing because it's fun and you want to; and writing because you have to (be it for money, to please an audience, etc.) The 'having to' write creates a filter that stifles the process. It's the stories that are important; not the writer. Only you and other writers will understand what I mean when I say the best stories are the ones that take on a life of their own independent of --and perhaps despite-- the writer. The writer is nothing more than an overglorified pen chosen by the stories to communicate themselves. And if those stories are meant to find an audience, they will.

Very Jungian and ego-crushing I know. And I don't mean to sound preachy. It's really nothing more than a pretentious, long-winded way of saying "I'd sell out in a second."


Lisa M. said...

Hrm. Can't I get a million dollars in exchange for a Completely Butt Nekkid Thursday? No? Darn.

Gut instinct said "Take the money!" Now that I've thought about it some more, the idea that half a million people would own but not read it KILLS me.

So. Door number 2, please.

Kimberly said...

I would have to agree with Mark. What's the point in buying a book if you never read it? (saying this, I have several books that I have bought, but have yet to read...I'm making an effort! really!)

Maybe I can say this because I've accepted the fact that the chances of me earning enough to write as my career are slim to none. I write because I like to, because something compels me to...I don't write so I can become a millionaire. Hell even most of the successful writers of our time had day jobs and certainly didn't make the huge bucks right away. They had to prove themselves to their readers, and that requires time that a single release won't give you.

So, no, I would pass on the money and choose to release something that people would read. There's much more satisfaction in that; at least for me there is.

snoproblem said...

Give me a million readers, every time. Sometimes, all a good writer needs is enough people to give his work a chance.

Once that happens... a million bucks is pocket-change. Ask Stephen King.

Lara said...

I'm not much of a writer... just a few short stories on literotica (and perhaps not even good ones at that!) But in regard to my photography, I would rather it receive lots of views & comments than to win prizes. I've done both... and the money prizes are nice... but the feedback and knowing people enjoyed the pics... that's the real prize.

So if I WERE a writer, I'd want the readers. No doubt.