Thursday, February 20, 2014

Supporting Small Business aka your favorite author

Pursuing publishing as a career has made me acutely aware of small businesses and the way they operate.

Because, *cue big reveal* every author is a small business. Just like your local book store or indie coffee shop is a small business. Even your local doctor’s office, accountant's office, or attorney's office. All small businesses.

Recently, a traditionally published author who I love/follow posted a blog about why she can't give away free stuff. It started a bit of a sensation. In this post she revealed her actual advance and other real elements of her contract with a big publishing house. Of course, a few hours after the post went live she was forced to take it down (it apparently violated the non disclosure terms of her contract). I read it while it was live and understood the main objective to be this: Authors aren't rock stars. They don't get bags of money. They don't get tons of support in marketing their book. And they certainly don't get unlimited free copies of their books they can give away for free.

In other words, authors are small businesses.

Even if an author has a book published by a traditional publishing house they are still, first and foremost, in business for themselves. The big 5 publishing company is just their partner. And it definitely doesn’t mean said author is instantly rich and famous.

Small businesses fight daily to stay a float, to feed their families, and to continue providing their awesomeness to the public. If you can, you should support a local or small business. Because your business, no matter how small, makes a difference to them.

It's something of an oddity to think your single purchase makes a difference in our current global economy. Walmart will go on without you but the local coffee house/bookstore/doctor/lawyer/author needs you.

And you should definitely not steal or use pirated materials. I know, you’re thinking, ‘it’s only one download, or ‘it’s really no big deal,’ or even ‘If they didn’t jack their prices so high I could afford it. They’re really forcing me to steal it.’

Stop right there. Pricing is not a conspiracy against you. It’s business. And business is aiming to make a profit. But not all profit is evil. In fact, I’d argue that no profit is evil (but I digress). Profits are what keep your favorite actor working, or your favorite writer writing. Profits are what keep your favorite TV shows on the air and what drives movies to be made.

You wouldn’t work for free, and neither would your favorite small business person (aka author, actor, writer, artist, doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc.)

Everyone wants to be paid for their work. Be apart of the writing/bookselling economy. Support your favorite authors. #shopsmall


  1. Thanks for this! I actually had overlapping book contracts with 2 big publishers (one via a book development company) and the money I made working 60 hours a week to meet these deadlines was approximately 50% of the money I made working 36 hours a week as an RN in the Midwest.

    Now one of these contracts has gone away so I'm working 2 jobs plus writing to make ends meet. Because I can't give away a lot of books and expensive stuff, I try to give away a lot of my time in blog posts and being available to readers, but what this means for me is that 60 hour work weeks are the norm.

    I think because the 6-figure major deals are the ones getting all the publicity, that sometimes readers think that's the norm for authors they've "heard of." I'm super-grateful to bloggers for their promo efforts, but please know that if we can't give you a book, it isn't because we don't want to. For every "20 year old college student makes 500K for dystopian trilogy" announcement you see, there are at least 999 other authors making low five figures per book, and some making no advance at all.

    1. Thanks for sharing. And thank you for giving back what you can. That's very generous.

      I agree, it's easy to think all authors are getting six figure deals because those deals get the most press.

      Just like it's easy to forget artists, authors, dentists, and coffee shop owners have bills to pay.


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