Friday, October 21, 2011

Help the 99% Authors

I have to admit, I am not a political person. I do have strong feelings about certain subjects, but I find as I grow older that I do not enjoy debating and arguing with people. This doesn't mean I turn a blind eye to everything that is wrong and unjust and "la-la-la" my way through life with my ears covered, either. I worry a lot - I worry about paying for my girl's college, coming up with next month's rent, staying healthy.

I have only been following the Occupy Wall Street events marginally. Recently a similar rally took place near where I live, but the protesters didn't nearly number the group in New York City. Still, it only takes one to start a fire, and I imagine this one isn't going out anytime soon. I'm especially touched by some of the stories I'm hearing from people like me, who write and would like to do so for a living. We are all not rich people - we have bills and need them paid on time.

Well before these protests started, I listened to authors' financial woes. Digital piracy cuts into profits and sales. The royalties aren't enough to cover insurance payments. Should I publish with a traditional house and wait months for a release, or self-pub now for a chance at earning money immediately? Even if you do self-pub, you must wait for the retailers to pay you, and that could be a month or three.

Nonetheless, one way I know to help some of the 99% is to buy their books. Don't just stop there, though.
  • Buy their books from a legitimate retailer - direct from the publisher, All Romance, Smashwords, a brick and mortar store, etc.
  • Make a note of reading the book on your Goodreads and ARe Cafe accounts, or other book networks.
  • Review the book - on the above sites, Amazon,, anywhere you want people to know about the book. Even if you didn't like the book, review it. You don't have to tear it to shreds, but be honest. People take cues from honest reviews, and some do buy them even if the reviews are not all good. Tastes vary - I don't like everything you like, and vice versa. Give people the opportunity to see for themselves, though.
  • Tweet about reading the book, especially if you loved it.
  • Lastly, let the author know if you loved the book. A kind word goes a long way, and may even inspire an author to follow-up on the story if they hadn't previously planned on it.
If you consider yourself the 1% who reads 99% of books, we appreciate the help and hope to pay it forward.


jenniferlaurens said...

Great, needed post. I've had one - just one of my 9 books - downloaded over 5000 times in a day from a pirate site. These basic reminders to readers ( and how about our whole society in general ) to be honest and do unto another are timely.

Leigh Ellwood said...

YW, Jennifer. So sorry to hear about the book. I hope you can get a takedown done soon.