Tag Archives: PayPal

The difference between demand and suggestion–what “paying the piper” actually means….

Hi, folks!  This is another non-literary day, which I have singled out as a writer’s day for making better contact with potential readers than I evidently have heretofore.  When I first set up my website, I based it somewhat on my former site, which wasn’t through WordPress.com, and which had an obligatory “Buy now” PayPal button on it for the long works of fiction and poetry which I had or planned to have on it.  That meant that if people wanted to read something from that site, they had to pay in advance.

On WordPress.com, however, I have a “Donate” PayPal button.  While this at first seemed like a disadvantage for financial reasons, and while I did encourage people to pay for what they read, I think the time has come for a bit of clarification.  In short, despite everything I said about wanting people to feel fine about reading the long works for free if they felt they couldn’t pay, probably only about 30 or so folks have done so since the week I put the works on my site, and that’s a generous estimate.  So here’s a guideline:

In the category section of the PayPal post, I have a category called “Time to pay the piper.”  I must confess, I was thinking of this in a sort of traditional cultural way, following the ages-long historical method of the piper who first plays a tune or tunes and at intervals passes around the hat to collect contributions.  It didn’t at first occur to me that this would seem like a preemptive strike for money:  that’s not what pipers do.  It’s after they play for the audience and please them, one hopes, that the hat is passed around.  My suggestion of a $5 bottom limit is to eliminate the problem resulting from a donation which is too small (less than $2) to count on PayPal’s system.

So, you see, I’m not a money-grubber, just a person who would like to receive some real-life recognition for work which I hope will amuse and inspire you; but the first step of this is absolutely being read, and if all you feel like contributing is a comment about what you’ve read, know that comments too are very welcome, and will let me know what you like about the fiction or find wanting in it.

Another point a person brough up who viewed my site from my computer was that the cover art page of each book and the size of the pages of the fiction are too large; I don’t know how it looks on your site, but on my site, it’s simply a function of the zoom level needing to be adjusted (when I added the .jpeg cover art to the text and .pdfed it, it automatically increased the size).  Just find your zoom level on your computer and adjust it to 100% or 75%, or whatever size is best for your own eyes.  The zoom level usually appears on a computer text in .pdf at the top of the Adobe Reader page, and it’s easy to adjust.

That’s all I really wanted to say today.  I recently finished (in August) putting the poetry I’ve written to date on this site, and a little later my fourth novel in what I hope to finish as a loosely connected series of 8 novels (but they aren’t connected as to plot and aren’t serials, so you can read them in any order you want.  The connection, slight as it is, comes in because I have chosen to try to link them loosely to the 8 family signs of the I Ching, which you will see in the upper right-hand corner of the cover page.  These signs are connected to a mother, a father, three daughters and three sons, and each novel is related in a marginal way to some of the symbolism associated with the signs, that’s really the size of it).

I hope that whether you can or want to pay or not, you will find something which you like in the novel(s) you read or the poetry, and that you will feel free to write in and discuss it with me.  Even negative criticism can be instructive to both parties because it shows human involvement, and may generate a dialogue, though of course one hopes most people will like one’s work.  In any case, I’ve made my argument for you, and I really should sign off on this post.  Until I hear from you, then, happy reading, whether you cover the posts or the longer works–I’m always happy to discuss writing and literature, my own or someone else’s.

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Filed under Full of literary ambitions!, Other than literary days...., Time to pay the piper....

“Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.”–Sylvia Plath

I wish I had managed to track down the exact reference for this quote from Sylvia Plath, so that I would know under exactly what circumstances she said it.  Did she, for example, mean that the writing was lousy and that that’s why it had never been published?  Or did she mean that it would stop stinking once the impulse to publish it had been answered?  I took this latter meaning as my own yesterday and today, in getting my poetry–of which very few poems have seen the light of day–online with the U. S. Copyright Office and then here to you.

Mostly, I wouldn’t say the poems actually were stinky, though they were dusty and dog-eared (even the more recent ones) from being carried around in an equally ratty notebook.  I typed them up yesterday and this morning, and then got online with the U. S. Copyright Office formally to “seal the deal.”  You can file online for $35, provided that all their conditions are met and you are only publishing online (publishing in print form costs more, takes longer, and has more conditions).  So, since I just wanted to publish right now for the sake of my website (maybe some kind editor of print books will come along and discover me eventually, should I prove worthy), I went ahead and went through the process.  It can be done in a very short amount of time, and the instructions are generally quite clear, once you get used to the format.  I had a little trouble at first, because I haven’t been online to copyright since my last novel was completed in 2010, but the system is made for people who simply want to follow instructions without too much who-hah.

The best part is, that although your case may be pending for a day or two (in this case, over the weekend), once you’ve (1) applied (2) paid and (3) uploaded your files successfully (in that order), your work is officially copyrighted and registered.  The copyright office even sends you several e-mails during the process to let you know when each part is complete.  So, you don’t have to cool your heels wondering why, oh why, you didn’t start an hour earlier in the morning, or take less time for lunch, or why you were so muddle-headed about the process when it told  you (fairly clearly) what to do.  They will send you a paper copy of your registration in about 6 months (they say less, but face it, there are lots of people publishing out there).

So, now–my poems are up on this site, and though I would like to get rich off them and off my other writings too, I’m realistic enough to recognize that I should probably just point once more to my PayPal button, silently, and let it go at that.  Like Shakespeare said, “Sell when you can, you are not for all markets.”  I hope you will read my poems at your own pace, and enjoy them, and tell me what you like or were perhaps left cold by (I love getting comments and replies, and haven’t had nearly enough of them so far).  And now you know what I was doing instead of putting up a post a day at the end of this week!  I was suffering (read typing and proofreading) for my art!

A word about the poems themselves:  they go from my days as an undergraduate (when I won an honorable mention in a contest for about 3-4 of them) to the recent poems I wrote for the characters in my first published novel to exchange and read to each other.  Had I been able to remember exactly which poems had placed in the contest, I would have noted it down, but it’s too long ago now, and those are old moments of near-glory.  What’s more important now is how the poems hold up under the burden of time.  Suffice it to say that though I no longer liked all of the poems in this collection, I still felt that all of them had some merit which made them worth retaining.  So, without more stuff and nonsense about it, here they are for your–I hope–reading pleasure.  Someday, I hope to write poetry again, and I hope to get to it long before I have to call the volume Old Age!

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Filed under Full of literary ambitions!