If you like a book...
I know I write a bit about leaving reviews, but I can't stress enough how much it means to authors. I was browsing books (and blogs) recently and found this awesome post from best selling author, Matthew Mather. He needs no push on his books as I do, but he makes great points.
Unfortunately, this author didn't write much on this blog, either because he switched to a different blog platform or stopped blogging altogether. I'm not sure which, but I could relate to a couple of the posts.
The other post that caught my attention was, http://phuturenews.blogspot.com/2012/10/in-defense-of-my-indie-brothers-and.html where he writes about the tough journey for all of us who indie publish. He says in this post:
" In a CNN article this week on indie publishing, they did a survey of 1007 indie writers randomly and found they made, on average, $10,000 a year, with the majority (more than half) making less than $500 a year. To get a full, professional edit of a book the size of Atopia would cost about $14,000 (about $3 a page)...so we have to cut corners. For Atopia, I hired two just-graduated (and unemployed) English lit majors to review mine at a cost of $1500...and I edited it at least two dozen times myself, but it is almost impossible to catch small errors in review when you write yourself, they become invisible somehow :) on top of that, I invested at least another few thousand in marketing. Even then, Atopia still has some mistakes in it, which bothers me, but at a certain point we need to move on to the next project. My point in all this is that the average indie can't afford professional-grade editing, and on average they are already losing huge amounts of money...
With Atopia, my expectation was that this was going to be a money-losing venture. I mean, I had my hopes, but I am also realistic. In the end, Atopia has exceeded my wildest hopes and been in the top 5 of sci-fi on Amazon for 8 weeks, but it certainly hasn't made me rich :) Even with Atopia being a big home run (for an indie), exceeding my wildest expectations, I estimate I have earned about $8 an hour for all my efforts. Not a great way to make money, so this is very much a labor of love. (BTW It took me two years of nights and weekends (and almost my relationship!) to write Atopia, and in fact an average 100,000 word novel takes about one year of full-time work for an author to write - Atopia was 150,000, so about 1.5 years of full-time work)
So, when you're picking up a full length novel for $1 or $3, and not the $10-$15 range, I would argue that you need to set your expectation that there will be some editing mistakes and errors, and accept a certain baseline expectation as part-and-parcel of reading indie work. If it is obvious that they just weren't careful or put in effort at all, then point this out in a review. But, be gentle. This is a labor of love, and if you find something you like for $1 or $3, give them some praise and write a review. "
Now, for someone like me, I can't afford thousands to spend on my books. I can't even afford hundreds. I have asked for aid on Go Fund Me, but unfortunately, did not make my goal. Hence, I can't send my book out into the world for all to see, which is the only way to get a book seen by new readers all the time and eventually make money at writing.
One thing I have definitely learned in this journey of publishing is that you need money! It's a bit like an old Steve Martin comedy routine 'How to Become a Millionaire' - he says, "First, get a million dollars."
That's about it. You need money to make money.
I figure that dooms me, as I'm on disability. No, I'm not feeling sorry for myself or attending a pity party. I love writing. I've been doing it since I was a little kid. I can't do much else. And I do believe I am pretty good at it. But, it's not an easy path unless you're one of the lucky few who hit it huge right off... or you already have a lot of money to market everywhere.
But, the main reason I liked the above post by Matthew Mathers is that he states in a very elegant way how important it is to not always expect free books, and to leave reviews. I will leave you with this cute meme: