Many of us love to read. I know I do! But what keeps that writer glued to their keyboard, oftentimes missing out on social outings or even getting to see the outside of the house—this is my life at most times—so that they keep producing the stories we most enjoy reading? Money? That isn’t what does it for me. Between my giveaways and the few trips I take to events, I make about six times less than I earn from my books. I believe most of us do it simply because we love the craft. I can’t imagine going for a terribly long span without creating my fictional worlds for my readers. I took a year off to try and build my editing business, but with the loss of my greatest passion, I found myself depressed and feeling much like a failure. That isn’t to say I don’t love helping my fellow authors to put their works out into the world; I’m just saying I was throwing myself waaaay out of balance. I’ve taken the last five months of my life and written in every spare moment available to me so that I could publish Riptide, the third book in my Maura DeLuca YA vampire trilogy. It did so much for my mental well-being, and I love writing for myself…but I still need the help of my readers, much in the same way I need to breathe or eat!
So, what can you do to help ensure your favorite authors keep writing? Here are just a few things:
- Buy Their Books!
An article on The Guardian’s website states that the median income for any author is $5,000. Wow. How is anyone supposed to survive on that? I know mine is much less than that number, hence my need to keep my day job. You can help by supporting the author and buying their book. Don’t download from pirating websites…you’re taking food out of an author’s mouth, essentially. It’s really no different than walking into a bookstore and putting a book under your coat before walking out without paying for it. Think $4.99 or even $5.99 is too much for an Ebook? Consider that five months I put into Riptide, and the span was nine months for Undertow. What would you expect to be paid for working eight to ten hours four days out of seven for five months? Additionally, many would gladly hand over $5 to Starbucks—sometimes even daily—for a latte that takes three minutes to make. (I know I have!) That Ebook, which costs roughly the same, will provide you with enjoyment multiplied by several more of the minutes you spent downing that coffee! And the author put so much more time and money for things like a cover and editing into creating the book.
- Leave a Review
For God’s sake, leave a review! Okay, I’ll stop being so heavy-handed, but a review is the best way to thank an author. It doesn’t have to be long-winded, either. A couple of sentences about what you enjoyed about the book, or even what you didn’t enjoy, will definitely suffice. I never realized myself how important reviews were to an author, but now that I do, I try to leave a review for every book I read. Most authors know about the magic number. In an article on The Huffington Post, point number three discusses the importance of fifty reviews on Amazon. Once a book hits fifty reviews, Amazon takes notice and will start making the book more visible on their site. Believe me when I say they are our lifeblood!
And just a note about book blogger reviews. Book bloggers, please, please, please stop excluding Indie Authors from your reviews, if you are one of the bloggers who do so. You are missing out on an avalanche of great books when you employ this rule. If you want the book to have a certain number of reviews on Amazon, so be it. But to refuse Indies entirely is blatantly unfair.
- Buy Print Books on Createspace instead of Amazon
Createspace is basically Amazon. They provide the print copies of Indie Authors’ books to both the authors and to Amazon for distribution. If you buy the book on Amazon, the author makes about half the royalties they would had you bought the book from the Createspace store. Either way, you’re getting the same book at the same price, but you’re helping the author make more money. Click here to visit the store where you can search for the title or author you’re looking for. See the snapshot below. That is a comparison of what I make in royalties on Createspace vs. Amazon:
- Help Authors Spread the Word and Engage
You may have seen authors posting about their books on Facebook and Twitter. You can help them out by engaging with them on social media too. Facebook will make posts more visible according to the likes, comments and shares a particular post gets. So, take that second as you’re scrolling down to like their picture, or even better, share it on your wall. Believe me, we appreciate it. Retweet their tweets on Twitter. Share posts on LinkedIn and plus one them on Google Plus. Like their Facebook pages and follow them on Twitter. Sign up for their newsletters so that you can help support them when they put out a new release or need a contest vote. So many of my readers have done this and I appreciate it so much!! Follow their Amazon Author Page. You can do this by clicking on their name at the top of any book’s page on Amazon. There is a rumor that Amazon offers you more visibility once you hit a certain number of follows, but I’m unsure as to whether that is true. And do you know about Goodreads? It is a site made for authors and readers. If you don’t have an account yet, sign up here. And one last mention—Facebook events. Make sure you attend the authors’ launches, cover reveals and parties. It’s all online, so can come in your jammies. They always give away awesome prizes, and I can promise you, the games are so much fun!
Thank you for reading and for supporting your favorite authors!