Friday, February 24, 2012

Supporting Indie Authors, Part 3: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

In part 3 of this blog series, Supporting Indie Authors, I'm going to address a big but touchy issue. If you want to truly help indie authors, you will at some point need to vote with your pocketbook, and give them some money. Yes, that's right. I said the magic word. Money.

Courtesy of Google Images
I'm going to confess here. I am just as guilty as anyone of looking for free books. It's not surprising... We're all on a budget to some degree. We're picking and choosing where we're going to invest our money. And we give our money to the things we believe in and value.

Now, authors... They publish their work in part to make money, and in part to earn recognition. (If they want neither, they get a nice little journal that they write in and then lock up somewhere.) For those who put their writing out there where you can see it, they're doing it to connect with you, the reader.

This is why I say: If you're going to support that author, you have to put your money where your mouth is. If they've entertained you, then they've earned it.

In some ways, I wonder if the model for paying writers could be broadened. Maybe we need virtual tip jars, so that if you get a free book or buy a 99 cent ebook and are pleasantly surprised by how much you enjoyed the read, you could go back and give the writer something extra. The same way you tip the house band at the bar. You know what I mean?

In the current system, that doesn't happen. We just pay our 99 cents (or get the free book), and mosey along our way. Still, there are a couple of simple things you can do to make it worthwhile for authors to offer their books for low prices or even for free sometimes online. It just takes mindfulness...thinking about make it happen.

Personally, when I get a free ebook, I usually review it on this blog or do an author interview. It may take me a while to get to it, but I do it, because at least it gives the author a little free advertising in return for the opportunity to read their book for no charge. A little quid pro quo is only fair.

My blog is a high priority for me. A review for another author on Amazon or Goodreads is less so. But I am trying to make time once every month or two to give a quick two-sentence review on those websites with a link back to my blog review, because reviews can help browsing readers make a decision to buy. And if someone else buys the book, then it helps the author, doesn't it? Easy enough.

Another way to help authors is to give their books as gifts at holidays and birthday time. Especially if you particularly like a book you've read. I may not need a copy of a book I've already read for free, but my mother might like a copy for her Kindle, and at 99 cents or 1.99 or 2.99, I can buy her several items, much cheaper than a trip to the bookstore. Gift-giving is a good way to justify spending money on  book you've already read.

I'd even bet that there are ways to support authors financially in ways that I haven't even thought of. I'll talk about one of those out-of-the-box approaches next week. But I'd love to hear from you about ways you think we can get money into the hands of the people who have entertained us with their written words.

(We'll leave supporting hard copy, paper books for another time and another series. I'm not sure how to make that happen in this brave new world of ebooks, but it's not a discussion for this blog post today.)

For part 1 of the series, go here.
For part 2 of the series, go here.

Copyright (c) 2012 by M.A. Chiappetta. All rights reserved.


  1. I'm with you on this one, of course. I have been reading indie authors exclusively this past year or so. When I love the book, I promote the heck out of it for the author, and thrilled to be doing it! Promoting one's own book is essential, but so boring! :)


  2. That's a good point. It's hard for the author to do all the work, and ideally, you'll end up with a crew of people who love your books and will promote for you. There's a term for this, actually, a marketing term, but it escapes me at the moment. Passionate readers sell books as much as hard-working writers, and that's a fact that indies especially have to exploit as best as they can.

  3. Who doesn't like free? But you make excellent points about how to still support indie authors. I think the same applies to those with small publishers.

  4. Kickstarter is another way to support entrepreneurial authors. Though it's a bit more expensive than buying ebooks, funding an author's project before completion is one of the best ways to demonstrate our vote of confidence.

  5. Yes, I agree, Isis. I'm using "indie" as shorthand, but these ideas apply also to authors at smaller pub houses, and even those at bigger houses but who are midlisters.

    ME, I hadn't thought about Kickstarter campaigns, but it's great that you brought it up. It's another good way to support the authors we love.


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