About Us

  • Who: Free-Fiction.com is headed by Mary Ellen Knox, a writer with a long time interest in the struggles of e-publishing to fulfill its potential, and her son Christopher Ruff, an Microsoft Certified System Engineer with double degrees in business and computer science.  Both believe that hard-won progress in epublishing has been slow, primarily because publishers and authors fail to recognize and utilize a simple fact:  the net is more than a virtual bookstore.  More an advertising medium like TV and radio, it should bring together audience, advertiser and artist into a win-win environment.  A new paradigm for online publishing is needed.
      
  • What:  Free-Fiction.com is that new model for success.   Everyone wins!

    Audience:   our readers get complete, original, free fiction powered
    KeeBoo's easy to use, html-based, portable e-book program that has the look and feel of a real book.  Readers receive great stories in exchange for their willingness to view embedded ads for a wide range of advertisers: useful, often free products and services they may have been unaware of before.

    Advertisers:   through unobtrusive links incorporated into each book, online companies have the opportunity to bring their product to the attention of our readers. The potential to reach new customers increases each time a visitor shares a book through email or word of mouth.  And, as any net marketer will tell you, "viral" advertising yields the best results.

    Artists:     authors can now receive money for "giving their books away for free,"  something many online writers have done in frustration with no hope of return.  Now,
    Free-Fiction.com offers them a share in 30% of the revenue generated by the affiliate programs we use.  

  • Where & When:  here and now!

  • Why & How: 

    Until
    now, the model for e-publishing has been based on traditional book marketing.   The environment may be different, the product format new, but the method has basically been the same: create the book, present it as a purchasable product to the customer and ask for payment.

    The web has been thought of simply as a new "place" to transact these sales, with websites the new "bookstores" and e-book programs the new vehicle for reading.  Sample chapters are generally offered free with the hope that readers will pay to download or unlock the rest of the e-book.  The reading can be done online, offline, or in a portable reading device, depending on the programs format.  This doesn't seem to have been effective and can even frustrate and alienate the reader.   Few people pay to download the rest.   Recently the push has been towards digital storage of books that can be printed on request.  A quick survey (or an extended one) shows that virtually all e-publishers and authors use this model--book for sale on website.

    While e-book sales are improving as technology grows and more people become acclimated to a computer environment for reading, the results, unfortunately, have not been what authors and publishers originally anticipated.  The brave, new world of online novel sales never quite materialized.  Why?

    Free-Fiction.com
    recognizes three things that others have either overlooked or under-prioritized so far:

    1.  Readers must be acclimated to a new reading environment before sales catch up to the potential.  Reading from a computer screen must become as natural as reading a paper book.  

    2.  The net lacks the editorial filter of the traditional publishing world.  Readers must wade through an online 'slushpile" to find worthwhile reading material, discouraging many from trying new ebook formats.  

    3.  The internet has evolved into an advertising medium.  Booksellers are trying to impose a static blueprint for sales on a fluid medium that originated for the free exchange of information--and wondering why it doesn't work..  

    Viewers and listeners do not pay to see or hear TV and radio  programs.  They receive them free in exchange for viewing ads that support the shows by leading customers to the advertisers' products.   Script writers and show producers sell to advertisers, not directly to the viewing audience. 

    No one would expect to pay before viewing the next installation of their favorite soap opera or talk show; no one would call a radio show and give them their credit info to hear the rest of a song.  Why do authors and publishers presume that online readers--our audience--would pay to read the next chapter, no matter how good the book is?

    By reversing the old model and using the book to sell the product instead,
    Free-Fiction.com recognizes (and takes full advantage of the fact) that the internet is the medium, not the method, for presenting new work and new authors.  Payment comes not from book sales, but from the advertisers to whom we introduce our readers.     

    Free-Fiction.com advertisers, in turn, will support the writers showcased on our site.  If we are correct in our analogy of the net to TV and radio, then "free fiction" will pay off for everyone. 

    Because we focus on acclimating readers to ebooks, we benefit other epublishing sites as well.  Readers who have had a pleasant reading experience on our site will be more apt to buy ebooks in other formats elsewhere.  In time we may offer for sale other works by our authors in conjunction with their free novels and stories.  Having an editorial filter in place assures our visitors that they will always enjoy the work we present, whether free or for sale.  

    Being very aware of the above three facts, Free-Fiction.com does its best to make this site the place that people equate with reading online.  We believe that, in the future, our concern for both our readers and our authors will benefit everyone involved. 



    A Word From The Editor: 

    "As Editor of Free-fiction.com I am committed, not just to acclimating readers to a new style of reading, but also to creating a new source of revenue for writers and developing a new prestige and pride in being published electronically.   While most agree that epublishing should be as viable an option as traditional publication, advances, royalties and sales are usually the yardsticks that determine the "value" of author and book.  To date, epublishing has failed to generate lucrative returns.  The fiction is no less valuable, but electronic books are still viewed as second-best, poor country cousins to their paper counterparts. 

    Unfortunately, most writers subscribe to and enforce the same prejudice, offering only work they believe can be "wasted" electronically after years of traditional marketing, or complaining when a traditional publisher considers their work published when it was "just on a website."

    Free-Fiction.com hopes to change that. 

    While we will insist on well-written and well-constructed work, we are primarily looking for writers who believe in and take pride in their work . . . writers who want to reach readers with an engaging story . . . writers who do not feel their work has been cheapened by producing it electronically or view this as a temporary fix until they can get a "real" contract, agent or publisher.  In short, we want writers who will actively work to change the face of epublishing by offering their very best.

    Like Anne Frank, I believe that people are basically good at heart.  I cannot help but believe that readers will respond to such writers by visiting our sponsors.  The more they visit advertisers, the more we will be able to pay our authors, increasing that sense of  pride and prestige which, unfortunately, too often rests on the amount a book earns.  However, such is real life.  At Free-Fiction.com readers will be the judges of a book's "worth" and this, imo, is how it should be.

 

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Free-Fiction.com 2000, 2001
1318 S 2nd St, Leavenworth, KS 66048
(913) 682-0294
Owners: Mary Ellen Knox and Christopher Ruff
Contact Info
Last Updated: 31 Oct 2002
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