Happy Sunday Everyone! I hope you’re all safe and well during…well…*waves hand at everything* you know.
This is going to be a short (and, I confess, later than I’d like) post today since I am caught up in all of the awesomeness that is Virtual Balticon. The con is free to attend, and it wraps up this Monday the 25th. I’ve got a couple of panels left: “The Standalone Novel” and a Reading. Check out the Events page on my website for my schedule.
What I want to talk about today is Author credit. Now I don’t mean credits for books, nor am I talking about anything financially related. If you know me *at all* you know that numbers and I aren’t on the best of terms even on the best of days.
What I am talking about is the “Credit” that a reader gives you, the author, when they pick up your work.
Believe it or not, there is a bit of a transaction going on. Your reader is, essentially trading their time for yours – or more accurately the time you spent creating (Since this is a blog about writing, I’m going to focus on that).
Naturally there would appear to be an imbalance from the get go. It takes you, the author, much more time to write a story (or a book) than it does for a reader to consume it.
That doesn’t matter. This is only tangentially about you – the author.
The focus is the reader. You see they’ve only got a limited amount of time to read everything they want to read. Now I have already come to terms with the realization that I won’t live long enough to read everything I want to read – primarily because so much awesome stuff is coming out all the time. This is the primary reason why I will *Always* choose Immortality on those “Which superpower would you most like to have ” lists.
Without being too melodramatic, those are the stakes we’re talking about here.
And how does your reader know that you’re going to deliver a story worthy of that kind of investment?
Well…they don’t. Not initially. After you’ve had time enough to deliver a consistent body of work, a new reader has no idea whether or not they’re going to like what you do.
So they give you what I’m going to call “Author Credit.”
To make the math easy (See above about numbers), I’ll set that credit limit at $100.
Every time the reader sees a mistake – and that can be anything from a plot hole, to a typo – it will cost you, say $10. The amount is commensurate with the type of gaff.
The point is, that once you’ve paid $100, they’re done with that story and, likely, with you.
How do you keep that from happening?
Do you research. Get the little details right, so that when you ask your reader to swallow something a bit more outrageous, they’re more likely to roll with it.
Tell a good story. Honestly, the Death Star being able to hop from system to system as quickly as it does is like a $200 tab, but I barely blinked at it, because by that point in the story, I was *Hooked.*
But not irretrievably so. If Uncle George had decided that it would have been cool to have Luke fly a front-end loader, rather than an X-Wing, well that would have cost too much…
Now you’re not going to please all of the people all of the time – no one can, but the next time you’re tempted to let something slide in your story, remember that $100 and decide how much you’re willing to pay to let that go.
It may be more than you think…
Be safe out there. Be Excellent to each other.