introducing readers to writers since 1995

October 29, 2004

If You Haven't Downloaded Eastern Standard Tribe Yet,
Do It Now(Even if You "Don't Like Science Fiction")

by Ron Hogan

Cory Doctorow, one of my favorite contemporary novelists, talks to English Matters, the newspaper for George Mason U.'s English department, about why he puts his books out under Creative Commons licenses, making them freely distributable to just about anyone, anywhere. To those who say such a move would bankrupt authors by taking away their royalties, he raises this point well worth considering:

[I]t's important to recognize that writers who have careers as writers, middle-class or better income as writers, are sui generis; each one makes his or her living in a way that is totally distinctive from all the others, and is only passingly associated with getting royalties for every copy of their book sold. They consult, they speak, they write magazine articles, they are given writers-in-residencies, and so on. All of those things follow from having wildly successful books, but even very wildly successful books tend not be the things that pay the royalties and make the full middle-class living. Even for writers who have substantial royalties, like Stephen King, they pale, I suspect, beside things like their film revenues and their licensing revenues.
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