Instead of doing a question from the list today I wanted to discuss my opinions on a new writing platform called Channillo (channillo.com) which is where I currently house my serialized novel, Dark World.
When I search Channillo on google, I run across a few discouraging posts basically complaining about it and asking, “Why would people pay for a subscription when there are so many sites (such as wattpad, etc) that house serialized lit for free?” I would like to take the time to discuss that.
Writing is not only a talent, but an artistic journey that requires indescribable amounts of time and effort and also, your heart and soul. A writing phrase that I believe in wholeheartedly is “Writing is sitting in front of a piece of paper (or a computer screen) and bleeding.”
Fifteen years ago, an amazing new music sharing program hit the Internet like wildfire. It was called Napster. Z’OMG! It was the coolest thing EVER! Suddenly I could download pretty much any song I wanted FOR FREE and my music library went through the roof! For years prior I would be spending fifteen, twenty dollars on a CD; the purchasing of music ate up a lot of my childhood money. I thought NAPSTER was hitting the jackpot and my mentality at the time was, “Well, these bands are banking and have way more money than I will ever see in my lifetime, so I am not hurting anyone.” The people who complained and called it stealing made me roll my eyes.
But, as the years went by and the Internet provided more and more exposure opportunities for smaller/indie artists, I began to see music-sharing in a different light. I began to realize that the percentage of bands we are exposed to in the mainstream – bands and artists who BANK IT financially and get radio play on a regular basis and sell out stadiums for their concerts – are the vast minority in the world of music. 99.9% percent of the music world is indie bands and artists just trying to get their tunes heard because they put everything they have, finances, heart and soul, time etc into their music and they just want to share it with the world. These people struggle on a daily basis to find the time, the funds, and the audience no matter how small, in order to have the opportunity to make their music. They work extremely hard to share their personal and wonderful art with us and they deserve the support of anyone who takes the time to listen to their music. Part of that support is paying for said music, compensating them so they can continue to MAKE said music. If we take the time to enjoy their art, we should show our appreciation by paying for it.
Eventually the law caught up with music-sharing and has majorly frowned upon all of the sharing applications (not that it stops people from music-sharing in any way there are still countless avenues in which to steal music) but it has not caught up with writers yet. There are still plenty of completely legal writing-sharing sites out there where people simply write without compensation and readers read without having to pay. On one hand, I understand that writers view it as exposure, but it doesn’t really work the way we wish it would. I have 80,000 reads on a serial fiction on Wattpad and that does not guarantee that a single reader would pay the price to purchase said story if it were only available to read through purchase. If I were to charge say $0.99 for every one of those 80,000 reads and say the platform or publisher gets… say approximately 20% that would still be $63,360.00 IN MY POCKET from that story. Mind blowing!!
The concept of channillo.com is to respect that what we do as writers is a talent, a craft, and our personal art we are sharing with the world and it is showing that respect by asking readers to contribute a small fee in order to have access to these talented writers. (A fee which is returned to the writers as royalties.) Unlike sites like Wattpad, (Who make a FORTUNE off of ads but the writers don’t see a dime of it) skill is actually considered. Not anyone can just sign up for an account and post on channillo, your concept and writing has to be approved. So as a reader, you know if you spent a few dollars for an account, A. You have access to quality writing, B. You are SUPPORTING and RESPECTING those writers and their craft by paying to read what they wrote.
The question and challenges for sites like channillo is the same as the question indie artists are asking; HOW do you get people to purchase (a subscription, a musicians songs, a kindle book, etc) when they CAN get music or books for free? I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know how to magically make channillo blow up with millions of subscriptions any more than an indie artist knows how to make people buy their album.
What I do know, is that while I may not be in line to win a Pulitzer, writing is my talent, my passion, and when I write my heart and soul bleed onto the pages. It is my art, my creation, and I do think it is fair to ask for compensation for people to experience it. To be honest, I am more proud and appreciative of the number of subscriptions I have on channillo for Dark World than I am of the 80,000 reads I have on a Wattpad story because those channillo subscriptions, although far less than 80,000, are from people that respect and appreciate my craft enough to be willing to pay me for it.
I want to make it clear that I do not write FOR compensation, I write because I have to, because its a part of me, because its how I express everything inside of me, because its who I am. I will write no matter what happens in my life. I would still write even if for some unknown reason I could never share anything I have written with anyone ever again. But, again, it is nice for people to respect your decision to share your craft by compensating you for their ability to enjoy it, too.
In short, although there ARE other sites out there that allow you to read things for free (sites that get rich off of your ad clicks while the writers get nothing) …. check out channillo. Honestly. I have my own subscription even though I am a contributing author and I am so hooked on some of the really amazing, creative series being published there. Channillo offers you quality authors in a number of different styles and genres, and you are directly supporting the AUTHORS and not just lining the site-masters pockets. Serialized lit is making a comeback, be a part of making that a really positive thing!