Our field frequently (almost constantly) talks about pay. “Pay the writer” as Harlan Ellison admonished. “Disney Must Pay” as SFWA has recently been promoting (along with just about every other author’s organization in the western hemisphere). Exposure is not compensation is a refrain that we hear regularly from virtually every corner.
And that is a sentiment we wholeheartedly agree with. Author’s should be paid for their work.
But one aspect of that equation that is frequently overlooked or misunderstood is that choosing what to accept as compensation for their work is entirely up to the author. Publishers and editors and outlets may make offers, may cajole, beg, plead (even threaten), but it is the author’s prerogative to decide what they will accept.
And sometimes “you can have it at no cost” is their desire.
Going into individual reasons as to why would require an examination of each and every case, as each is a unique circumstance. I’ve heard everything from “just want to see it in print” to “I have a message that needs to get out” as well as “I like what you’re doing and want to help”.
The reasons are not the point. The point is that a work of fiction by an author is their property to dispose of as they will and sometimes that means that readers get to benefit.
As in these fine examples of works that have been provided to Amazing Stories in ways that are outside the normal and customary. Some were purchased specifically for publication on the website, some were offered gratis and we accepted, some were provided in pursuit of greater exposure (and based on their sales and Number 1 Best Seller status at the time, apparently justifiably) and some were requested and received on a “do what you want with it basis”.
Here then are multiple examples of Free Fiction, ranging from excerpts to full-on novels, by authors famous and not-so-famous, for your enjoyment. Check them out – you might have missed one or two of these over the years!
The Great Milo by David Gerrold
His (Beloved) Revolutionary Sweetheart by Arthur Byron Cover
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe & Duncan Long
The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe & Duncan Long
Eleanor by Edgar Allan Poe & Duncan Long
The Galapagos Incident by Felix R. Savage
The Islamic Moonbase Conspiracy by Tom Easton
Fly on the Wall by Taral Wayne
Altered by Dianne Lynne Gardner
Witches and Fish by Duncan Long