Your stance absolutely makes sense for companies and profit-driven enterprises. In standard marketing, keeping a list lean and specific and targeted is absolutely a good way to go.

I feel that there can be more nuance to the sort of thing I'm attempting with my writing, though. It's not a zero sum, all-or-nothing scenario. A reader who doesn't pay but still enjoys my work DOES still have value to me.

There's two aspects to this, I think:

1. I'm in a slightly privileged position which means I don't need to rely on income from my writing. I have a day job that enables me to actually live. I'm aware that not everyone is in that position, and so not everyone has the flexibility I'm talking about here. But, then, writing fiction isn't generally a good way to make a living.

2. On the flipside, I don't want to assume that all of my *readers* are in a position where they can afford to pay for my work. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of non-paying readers being described as 'freeloaders' (referring to another comment), or being in some way ungrateful. Some people simply cannot afford to pay, for a myriad of potential reasons. Does that mean I should actively prevent them from reading my work? Personally, I don't think so. I'm not interested in only writing for rich people. :) Besides, someone who can't afford to pay right now might be able to in the future - and if they're enjoying the work for free, I'd rather have them stick around until they maybe reach that theoretical future. And if they never do? Well, I think I'm OK with that, too.

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People need to understand that authors can not possibly afford to have hangers on in their mailing list as they could possibly be stopping a genuine book reader/buyer from having a place on their list. Whilst it's lively to receive a free book occasionally it's also lovely to pay it forward and start to buy books from the author. I don't blame you for doing a clear out of your mailing list and removing the free loaders.

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