Friday, October 9, 2015

An author is a small business

© 2015 Christy K Robinson

 I know a handful of authors who make a (middle class) living at writing books. The rest of us do our research and writing after working at some other profession, commuting, taking care of our families and homes, and other everyday-people sorts of activities. The royalties each month can be $25 or $200, depending on the season; if we're lucky enough to have bestsellers, the royalties are higher, of course, but still uneven. We can't budget on them.

Our society is suffering because of the imbalance of trade with countries that supply cheap (even slave) labor, making toxic products like wood flooring that emits formaldehyde fumes, baby formula that kills babies, pet food and treats that kill pets, plastic toys that are dangerous for children, etc. Those products are sold by companies that pay their employees such a low wage that the employees must rely on government benefits to survive from month to month, and who line up at food banks for boxes of staples.

You can do your part to help your country (US, UK, Canada, Australia) by buying domestic goods--items that were manufactured and sold in your country. Patronize the mom-and-pop retailer or farmers' market in your community. If you order online, try to find the source of the goods, not necessarily the lowest price.

My suggestion for gift-giving is to purchase  BOOKS. That's right. Those paper things (Kindle if you must) that last forever, that impress people with your intellect when you leave them on your coffee table or sticking out of your bag, that stimulate discussion in the airport or the breakroom at work, that take you to another world and time and state of mind. If you buy books, please remember to buy new instead of used, because authors make no royalties on used books. Not a penny. If the price is not in your budget at this moment, put the book on your wishlist and watch the price until a discount or sale is applied, or if you have a gift card to spend.

Every author, whether traditionally published or self-published, is a small business. We work alone, late at night, using personal computers and the internet. We write, rewrite, edit, and submit our nearly-finished manuscript to agents, editors, designers, and printers. We decide on graphic design. We study the markets we're writing to, and decide how we'll market our books when the publishers have had their way with us and forgotten our books (generally in about a month). We send advance copies to reviewers and hope for good results, but some reviewers never get around to writing a paragraph. We schedule our own launch parties, talks and book signings, and carry our cartons of books to weekend festivals and flea markets. It's not a hobby or a literary gift to society--it's a business.

Please consider supporting the work of authors whose books are printed in your country. You get a book and all the fabulous benefits that come from between its covers, you support your own economy, and the author gets moral and financial support to continue the research, writing, and tilting at windmills.

You can help the struggling artiste! Year-around, you can purchase my books for yourself, of course, but also for your partner, your co-worker, your child's teachers, your pastor or teacher at church, your relatives, your jogging buddies, your BFF, your reading group... Click here:

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