What’s the best way to support a Writer?

The short answer to this is simple : Buy their books & recommend them to other people, post reviews and contact them in some way to tell them you enjoyed their work, spread the word about them in general any way you can. But, I have a more in-depth question in mind.

I have recently bought a few books written by Authors that i have gotten to know on Twitter. Because, I like them as people and would like to support them in their creative efforts (who says  a social media presence doesn’t sell books) and their books looked interesting to me. I do this because I am first and foremost, a reader. I am also a writer working towards becoming published myself and as such I want to support the industry that i am trying to become a part of. I saw that sentiment in a quote somewhere a while ago, but cannot recall for the life of me who it was.

While I was engaging in this process I started thinking about which way of buying their book would actually result in the most amount of  money making its way to the author and I confess that I have no idea of the answer. There are so many different avenues now. Aside from e-books vs physical books from a bookstore there are also many online discount book retailers that you can buy a new copy of a book for a lower price than most bricks and mortar stores.

The only similar experience that I have is from the world of music where I am aware that if you buy a CD directly from a musician (either from their website or their merchandise stand at a show) then they will receive a greater portion of the profits than if you bought it from a retailer of some sort.

I am making the assumption that there is an equivalent process somewhere in the publishing world. I don’t know what it is at this point, but I would like to find out.

With no actual evidence to speak of, the basic assumptions i have to begin are these:

  • Ordering either an e-book copy or physical copy from someone like amazon would possibly be the same net result for the Author. I assume the price difference for a physical book is basically the production cost added onto the e-book price. Though i may well be wrong, it occurs to me that in general people are less comfortable paying as much for an electronic copy as they are for something solid so the price difference may be higher.
  • Buying from a discount retailer of physical books like the Book Depository is possibly less for the author than buying from a standard retailer.
  • Buying from a bookstore may not get more back to the Author than buying online despite the higher sticker price as there are more people between the sale and the Author to take their cut on the way through.

None of these of course covers the fact that there are also things like individual contracts for Authors who are traditionally published and other variables. But I am looking for a general kind of answer to how I can best ensure that the most amount of my money actually gets to the person who wrote the damn book.

I am at a point with my writing where I am about to start looking into the various ways that one can become published and get your material out there, so hopefully in my research I will discover at least some kind of answer to this. If I do, I will share it in a new post at some point.

In the meantime, maybe some helpful soul that has already done the research will reach out to me and provide them.

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7 comments on “What’s the best way to support a Writer?

  1. Ebooks make me about a dollar more. I only make a few bucks anyways though! So I am most thrilled when someone wants a signed copy, even if that means trekking to the post office. It reminds me I just sold my work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JA Allen says:

    This is a really interesting post. I haven’t considered a lot of these points… And have saved a link of this blog for later. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The answer is, it depends.

    The author selling a $2.99 eBook on Amazon makes about $2 as described. If they send you a PDF and you sent them the $2.99, they’d make 50% more money but miss out on some marketing potential by Ammy. Plus, a review that was for a purchased book caries a little more weight than one that wasn’t. On my paperbacks, I make $2-$3 because after shipping they’re expensive! So, asking the author is a great idea, especially if you met them through social media.

    I like paper for books I love and have loved. Mark Twain is just as funny on paper as in pixels. I have friends who can’t wait to get rid of bookshelves and put all their valued books onto a computer were they can access them any time.

    So, if you asked me? I’d say what do you like? If paper, we have that; if not, we have eBooks. What I value more than any one sale is making you laugh or cry (intentionally, mind you) and scared and swooning and falling in love and mesmerized by magic and whatever else, but mostly having you as a fan that tells the world about me. THAT is worth more than the royalty of any one book.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I don’t know the answer, but it’s a great question and I applaud you for caring about this. If you’re buying books by authors you’ve met on Twitter, perhaps you could ask them directly which place you should buy from? They might know how much money comes from what place. (Maybe not, maybe it’s their agent who keeps track, but worth an ask!)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. If an author is not trade published, the greatest percentage of profits is usually off of ebooks. I read advice to price your paperbacks on Amazon to make $2 per copy, and even at $2.99, the profit on an ebook is slightly higher.

    But I’d say read in whatever format you’re most comfortable with. I’m going to get my books bound in hardcover, just because I really love reading from a hardback book. Any book bought is a wonderful gesture of support for the author.

    As long as an author is not on Kindle select, where you give Amazon the right to sell your books exclusively (And I personally am NOT planning on this), authors make more money if they sell from their own site. An ebook sold from the author’s site is all revenue–nobody takes a cut. Again, this is assuming the author is self-published or has started their own small indie imprint.

    I find all this stuff by reading blogs on Twitter. So the same, and soon you’ll know as much as I do. I’ll likely be of more help when I actually start publishing next year. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awesome, thanks 🙂
      I tend to buy books that i particularly like as physical copies because i don’t entirely trust electronic media as a preserver of things for posterity.
      You are right of course that any book bought is a gesture of support, its mostly that as i move toward the idea of becoming published my self that I’ve started looking at the business side of things and wondering.
      I am not likely to do Kindle select myself, exclusivity arrangements are rarely a good idea unless you are well known enough that you are getting an amazing deal for exclusive rights.
      If i end up self publishing i want the freedom to be able to have my work up for sale on as many different platforms as possible.

      Liked by 2 people

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