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What Else Are You Reading? > What's the best way to pay my favorite authors?

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael | 9 comments I'm shopping this question around to a few different places where I hope authors will read it and provide me some feedback:

I've had a question that has been bothering me for some time now: what is the best way to pay my favorite authors?
I recently rediscovered my love of reading and have been reading a little less than one book per week. The vast majority of my books have come from the library, which satisfies me because I get to enjoy the content without being responsible for storing the book between now and the next reading with will be at least years if ever. I worry that my favorite authors aren't getting paid because of this. Should I buy a copy of the book so they see some money? Is there another alternative, I'd send a check to each one personally if it was what they want and there's a feasible way to do so. From an author's perspective, what's the etiquette expected of a respectful and thankful reader towards an author?


message 2: by Walter (last edited Oct 15, 2012 11:13PM) (new)

Walter Spence (WalterSpence) | 707 comments From an author's perspective, what's the etiquette expected of a respectful and thankful reader towards an author?

Speaking as an author, I personally cannot imagine expecting anything of my readers in the fashion you describe. And while libraries do allow one to read a given work for free, most of us are well aware that the services libraries provide are oftentimes utilized by those who could not otherwise afford them. And writers do benefit from libraries, even financially. The more often a book is checked out, the greater the odds that other libraries not currently carrying said book will do so in the future, or purchase more books by the same author. There are any number of other benefits a writer receives from having his or her work made available to the reading public via libraries, but a list of such would make some of my previous posts in these forums seem positively Hemingwayish by comparison.

But if you want to specifically reward an author whom you feel is so deserving, the first thing that comes to my mind would be to recommend said book to your fellow book-lovers.

Second thing? Rate and/or review it. There are any number of places you can review a book where it could help the author:

(1) The web sites of retail outlets like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, where books are actually purchased.
(2) Other web sites like Goodreads and LibraryThings, where folks are constantly looking for recommendations for what to read next.
(3) Book blogs. See above.

And there are other things one can do. Tagging a book on Amazon, for example, or liking it. Or liking its reviews which you happen to agree with. Putting the book on a Goodreads list you feel it deserves to be on, or voting for it if it's already on said list. Or voting for it via poll for those Goodreads groups who are looking for next month's group read.

I'm certain other folks can think of even more ways to show support for one's favorite authors.


message 3: by Andy (new)

Andy (Andy_M) | 311 comments Walter summed up the question nicely. The only thing I will add is to buy a copy of a favorite book and give it to a friend or family member who you think will enjoy it. You are sending the author money and potentially creating a new fan. Recommendations are great, taking the step to buy the book as a gift has a greater effect in my experience.

I get a lot of books from the library and I am always recommending them to friends. Now that the holidays are coming up, the book store will be my first stop.


message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael | 9 comments Thanks to you both Walter and Andy. I'll definitely take your advice and see what else rolls in. I've been reviewing on Shelfari and Goodreads but I'll be certain to place my positive reviews on Amazon as well.
I've got a nice community of book friends where we exchange recommendations often, I'm glad that is supporting my favorites as well.


message 5: by Mohrravvian (new)

Mohrravvian | 99 comments Related to this, I have a question: does an author typically make more from an ebook/Kindle edition or a paper copy?


message 6: by Walter (new)

Walter Spence (WalterSpence) | 707 comments Related to this, I have a question: does an author typically make more from an ebook/Kindle edition or a paper copy?

It depends. In my own experience as a self-published author, one can expect the following. Royalty rates from Amazon vary from 35% to 70%, depending on multiple factors, but most often on price. Ebooks listed at retail from $2.99 to $9.99 pay royalties typically around 70% (in some foreign countries Amazon deals with, royalties may be 35%). Below $2.99, the royalty rate drops to 35%, as does the rate above $9.99 retail. Other sellers have their own pricing and royalty structures, but rates will oftentimes be similar to Amazon's due to competition.

Note that these are the rates for self-published authors. Ebook versions of books originating from traditional publishers have their own rates, but oftentimes hover around 15-20% of cover price for physical books (not sure about ebooks from traditional publishers, perhaps another author can share their own experiences.)

For 'dead tree editions' which are self-published (i.e., hard copy books printed by an outfit such as Createspace) , the author pays a given price, and then decides how much to charge. This means that, in such cases, self-published authors tend to control their own royalty rates.

So there are no hard-and-fast rules, but based on my own experiences, writers of self-published works typically earn more in actual dollars from hard copies of their work. One reason for this is that, due to competition, most self-published authors price their ebooks from $2.99 to $3.99. Fewer self-published authors can afford to have a hard copy version of their work done, which means that barriers to entry are higher, and prices correspondingly reflect this.

I'm sorry, Mohrravvian, that I cannot give you a more definitive answer to your questions other than the long version of 'it depends', as there are many factors in play on this issue. But I hope I've cleared the waters a bit for you.


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