ReadWave And The Debate On Freebies

A couple of months ago I went to the “launch” of a new web site… ReadWave which has been set up in association with Circalit

It’s a place to upload your short stories, extracts from novels etc, and is read by agents and publishers. ReadWave are very proud of the fact that they have had examples of contributors being contacted by industry professionals because of work placed on the site.

I joined up the day after the launch party, but it was only a couple of days ago (prompted by a comment one if my friends made on FaceBook and the fact that there isn’t much of my stuff online) that I decided to upload a story. It’s one I’ve had knocking about for a while so I’ll be interested to see the feedback I receive…..which has been very positive so far 🙂

Here’s my story “Eating Out” on their page:


And if you want to go have a read you’ll find it HERE 🙂 Please leave a comment if you liked it.

This does beg that age old question…should a writer make their work available for free? Personally, I think the odd short story or extract is fine, because it’s promotion and many writers have found that its led to a publishing deal. But what do you think? Do you make any of your work available free online? Or are you anti freebies?

36 thoughts on “ReadWave And The Debate On Freebies

  1. And what about copyrights? I was almost going to submit some writing to that site and then I thought no, it’s not safe. I once had a short magazine article hijacked like this and it made me a little more careful (and paranoid). But maybe I’m making too much of it.


    • Readwave has specific policies with regard to copyrights. Specifically, that they don’t own it, you do. You are giving them the right to use it in very limited conditions, that’s it. Below is from their website. You can also find terms at

      Does ReadWave protect the copyright of my work?
      Yes. By uploading your story onto ReadWave you are claiming copyright ownership of that story, so please make sure you only upload your own original work onto the site. If someone is found uploading work that isn’t theirs onto ReadWave, they will immediately be removed from the site and we will do everything we can to assist the copyright owner in prosecuting the offender.

      What rights do I give up by posting my story on ReadWave?
      None. By uploading your story onto ReadWave you grant us a license to display your story on the ReadWave website, via our Facebook App and via our Reading Widget, but that’s it. You retain all the rights of your story and you can continue to submit your manuscript to publishers and agents by other methods. Please see the next point for more details.

      When I upload a story I can see different license types. What do they mean?
      All Rights Reserved
      This is the recommended option. It means that you retain all the rights to your story and give nothing away. This is the license type that most traditional published authors use.

      NoDerivs (CC-BY-NC-ND)
      This Creative Commons license allows other people to copy, distribute, display and perform your work, providing that they fully credit you with creating it, that they do not do it for commercial reasons, and that they do not alter it in anyway. This license is suitable for those who want to give away their stories for free in as many places as they can online. Visit this creative commons page for more info.

      Sharealike (CC-BY-NC-SA)
      This Creative Commons license means that other people can add to your stories, borrow your characters and share and display your work online, providing that they full credit you with being the original creator. This license is suitable for those who want to work collaboratively with other writers. Visit this creative commons page for more information.

      Does posting on ReadWave stop me from getting a traditional publishing deal?
      No, in fact, it’s the opposite. Writers with a proven readership are more valuable to publishers, not less. Lots of books have become successful online before being bought by a traditional publisher. It’s also a good idea to prove to agents and publishers that you have the enthusiasm and skills to make your project a success.


    • Thanks honey 🙂

      I know what you mean but I think there’s a risk even if you publish an eBook. I’ve heard of LOADS of authors who have found their published eBooks available to download free on rogue sites, or worse still, passed off as someone else’s work 😦



  2. I think it’s a great idea to post excerpts or short stories for free. However, I draw the line at putting up full-length fiction for free; you’ve spent unimaginable hours on that. If someone likes the excerpt enough, they’ll buy the whole book.


    • That’s a good point Christi 🙂

      I’m not sure I would ever offer a whole novel free either. But, saying that, I know a lot of authors who do and say that offering their novel free for a few days actually improves sales in the long run.

      Thanks honey xx


  3. Thanks for sharing. I’ve signed up as I’m always open to new methods of promotion. In the promo context I’m not anti-freebie…but it has to be time limited and for a specific reason. Work of any kind never equates to a zero dollar value. Again, thanks for sharing.


  4. I meant to tell you before that I was very impressed by your Eating Out story Vikki. It’s the first example of your fiction I’ve ever read. As for Freebies, well I guess I do provide them via pieces on my website but I would never put my books up as freebies.


    • Thanks Pauline, I haven’t put any fiction up on this blog for ages! But only because I’m so aware that if I do I can’t then publish it traditionally.

      That’s fair enough honey, I can totally understand that 🙂



  5. Using free work occasionally as a promotion is one thing, but the danger of giving your work for free is that free becomes the perceived value. I always use the analogy of calling out a plumber to repair a leak. If you were to tell him that you didn’t intend to pay but his work would be seen by everyone who used your bathroom then it is not very likely he would turn out for you. The pressure on writers to give their work for free is all well and good but it does start to colour the public perception of what your story is worth, We have been running a ‘Justice for Writers’ campaign to get readers to understand the value of writing and to get writers to believe in the value of their work.


  6. Hi Vikki. I have a few things on Readwave but they are ALL previously published work. This is the most important factor, in my opinion, not whether it is free. What people don’t seem to realise when they post work up is that they are PUBLISHING it. This means that many markets will not want it in the future. Having said that, a story of mine (already published) was picked up from Circalit by a production company for a short feature film, which is now nearing completion. If your work isn’t out there, it can’t be seen. Just be aware that you may be denying yourself a paying market.


    • Thanks Sue 🙂

      Yes, I was told VERY early on that if I put work online the chances are that I wouldn’t then be able to sell it later, which is one of the reasons why you won’t find much of my stuff online 😉

      Oh, excellent honey! You are proof that it actually works then!

      Good advice honey, thanks xx


  7. I think you’re right. Snippets and first chapters are teasers. Having tried the freebie route as a reader as well as an author, I have to wonder. Of all the freebies I’ve sampled as a reader, very few have inspired me to add the author to my “I’ll read anything this person writes” list. On the other hand, offering book 1 of a series free is brilliant advertising. I’ve recently seen authors giving away a book of first chapters on Amazon. I’m considering that for when my back list is larger. Enjoyed the post. It’s wonderful your experience with Readwave is going well. Something to think about!


    • Ahhhhh, now that’s a good point Rose. I often wonder how many ‘readers’ will actually search out work by a writer just because they’ve had a freebie.

      Thanks honey, you’re right, it makes you think doesn’t it 😉



  8. I do believe in posting some work for free. It’s a form of self-promotion and marketing. A store might give out free soap samples, or a new cake store might give out free bite-sized samples. I see it as the same thing.


  9. Enjoyed the story – I wonder what happened next? Someone will have kindly loaded her into a taxi for him, LOL! Hub and I were in a restaurant once and there was this poor man in his early fifties and a mother in her eighties who WOULD NOT SHUT UP in this querulous high voice, criticising and talking about the ‘good old days of the raj’ or some such. Reminded me of that!
    As for freebies – I don’t mind an excerpt but I’d feel that if I put a whole story someone might pinch it, tweak it and manage to sell it where I hadn’t, so I prefer to keep them for tweaking myself! Might upload something to ReadWave, though – hadn’t heard of it, so thank you!


    • Thanks Linda 🙂

      That is a worry Linda, I totally agree! But did you hear about that woman who did that with novels? She was a well respected author, with a fan base, and it was then discovered that ALL her novels had been stolen from other writers, she’d just changed names and locations….SHOCKING 😦

      You’re welcome honey, let me know if you do.



  10. Interesting concept. I’m not sure I’d put up the novel I’m querying right now, but that’s because I’m always lukewarm to new ideas. It’ll be interesting to see if it continues to take off.


    • It is isn’t it Kate 🙂

      It will be interesting to see how many members end up with publishing deals from it.

      Nooooo, I wouldn’t recommend you do that either….and good luck by the way 🙂



  11. Pingback: Say Hello to Readwave! | The Claire Violet Thorpe Express

  12. A nice post! I’ve personally worked together with both Rob and Raoul doing an internship at the company. I hope they succeed with ReadWave, it’s a great idea!

    Please check out my short post on ReadWave and comment! 🙂

    Also if you have time, would you take a look at my blog NyNyOnline and tell me what I can improve of my blog?


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