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4 Ways to Help Writers Make More Money

January 14, 2016
The struggling author inally received his payment. (image via Wikimedia)

The struggling author finally received his payment. (image via Wikimedia)

It’s tough to make a living just by writing.  Authors have been saying for years that it’s getting more and more difficult to make a living wage with the written word.  The latest complaint has been from the  Authors Guild, which shows that even award-winning literary authors have a tough time scraping by from their writing alone.

Some might react by thinking: “Suck it, writers!  Everybody’s struggling.”

I’m not the type to say “Suck it!” to somebody, but I kind of understand.  I’m in a profession which has nothing to do with writing, and I’m doing okay, but my family has had to cut a bunch of spending.  Still, I’d like to help out professional writers.

And I’ve thought of several ways that regular people like me (and maybe you, unless you’re already a professional writer) can help out struggling authors:

  1. QUIT WRITING BLOGS

If we’re writing blogs, we’re hurting professional writers in a bunch of different ways.  All this time that we’re writing is taking away from all the books and magazines we should be reading instead.  Every word I type is a word I’m not reading.

Plus, we bloggers are providing free content.  When we read each other’s blogs, it keeps us from reading books and articles that authors get paid to write.  We are inadvertently hurting the professionals by writing in our spare time.  It would be better for the professionals if we just quit.

The thing is, I like writing blogs.  Maybe I’m being selfish, but I don’t want to quit reading and writing blogs.

      2.  BUY NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES

With the internet, I don’t have to buy newspapers and magazines anymore.  Why would I?  They clutter the house, and they’re overpriced.  In the old days, I didn’t have a choice.  I liked to read, and magazines always had the information/entertainment I wanted to read about.  They were nice when they were necessary, but we don’t need them anymore.

I know that professional writers who worked for those magazines have taken a hit because those magazines now have to provide free content on their websites in order to compete with schmucks like me who write for free.  I feel bad because my habit change has negatively impacted writers who are trying to make a living off of writing.  I feel kind of bad about that.

The thing is, I like not having to buy newspapers and magazines anymore.  Maybe I’m being selfish, but I probably won’t start buying magazines and newspapers again.

      3.  BUY MORE NEW BOOKS

When I go to the bookstore, I head straight for the bargain sections and the paperbacks.  I’m a cheapskate.  I want to support my local bookstore, but I can’t afford to spend $15.00 to $30.00 for new books.   I know that writers don’t make much money off the bargain books and paperbacks, but at least they’re getting something.

When I’m on Amazon, I sometimes buy books from unpublished authors who are selling their e-books for $.99 up to $4.99.  Some of the e-books are pretty good and are worth the time and money that I spend.  Whenever I buy an e-book from an unpublished author, it means that I’m not spending money on something a professional writer wrote.

If everybody stopped buying e-books from unpublished writers, then maybe real professional authors would make more money.

The thing is, I’m on a budget and don’t want to buy new books at full cost.  Maybe I’m selfish, but I probably won’t start buying new books at the book store.

     4.  STOP USING THE LIBRARY

When we go to the library, we borrow books at no personal cost (if you don’t count the taxes which fund the libraries).  But if we read a book from the library, that’s less money going to the author who wrote the book (or the publishing company that published it).  True, libraries purchase the books, but they only do it once, so when a bunch of people read one library book, the author gets screwed.

The thing is, I like libraries.  Maybe I’m being selfish, but I probably won’t stop using libraries.

*****

I’d like to help professional writers.  I’m certain you would too.  But I don’t want to do what it takes to help them out, and I feel bad about it.  Maybe somebody else could help out struggling professional writers, such as their publishing companies.  Maybe the publishers could cut the writers some bigger checks.  Maybe they could, but the publishers probably have their own reasons not to help out writers too.

*****

What do you think?  What ways would you help or NOT help writers to make more money?

*****

Yeah, I know I won’t make much money off my e-book, yet I still try.

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25 Comments
  1. Judy permalink

    When I was a kid, going to the library was a weekly family affair. We didn’t have a car, and walked 8 blocks each way. Pleasant memories. Thanks.

    • The library once a week? That’s a lot of good reading (if you finished all the books you checked out). Eight blocks is a nice walk too (unless you’re carrying too many books with you).

  2. I don’t think not frequenting the library is of any use her. As long as libraries are buying books then I have job security helping people to find where those books are in the library. If people stop going to the library, then I’m out of work, so yeah, I’m selfish.

    • Then I’ll definitely keep going to the library. I was thinking of stopping, but you and another person leaving a comment have convinced me not to stop. And I’m glad because I really like going to the library.

  3. You see the irony here, right?

  4. It’s too bad. Paid writers had a good run. They’ll have to put out their pipes, take off their tweed sport coats, and pick up a shovel, or some such.

  5. If they are good, they are going to make it (somehow) Look at J.K Rowling and (sorry fans) I don’t even consider her that good (but that is not the point isn’t it? It’s the money that counts) Not to mention Fifty Shades Of Gray. I think these days, marketing is everything.

  6. Yeah. That’s why I still have a (well-paying) day job. People are buying luxury goods; they’re not buying books. Another thing people can stop doing is illegally downloading books. It’s incredibly common and it makes me angry.

  7. You realize that by asking us to support professional writers you’re asking us to support, first of all, James Patterson, because he probably has more books out than anyone else?

  8. Lusekelo Munene permalink

    Hahaha how sad a reality that trying to help authors make money is at our own cost. I hope that one day I can be an author but I blog, frequent the library, download e-books cheaply- sometimes for free- and I most definitely buy a novel twice a year maybe- ever since my father left me to fend for myself on that one #LaughOutLoud… But there must be a way to help writers make more money! *sigh*

  9. Great post, although I don’t agree with you for two reasons.
    Firstly, I am professional author and I also write a blog for free. So do lots of other authors and in fact, a lot of the content on WordPress is by professionals. The thing is that you can’t always write about what you really want to write about if you are a professional in a particular field so a blog gives you freedom to experiment.
    Secondly, renting library books does not mean an author only gets paid once (at least in the UK). In fact, every time you borrow a book, a record is kept and a small fee is payable to the author. It’s called Public Lending Right in the UK and for many authors, it makes up a substantial part of their earnings. Authors also believe in books and are fighting to protect our libraries in the UK from government cuts – they need more of our support, not less!

  10. Guilty as charged on the blogging front!
    The irony is, of course, that I began my blog as a platform from which to find an audience … For when I (hopefully) become a professional writer. Does that mean I’m putting myself out of a job?

    Don’t use libraries (an issue here in itself, as so many are having their funding cut and closing down) and have begun a policy of not buying from discount book outlets – and not from Amazon either. And this is for the very reason you’ve stated – because I suddenly realised that I want to be a writer, yet buying discounted books harms the income of writers (doh!)
    This policy will continue … As long as I can afford it.

    Free content is a big issue for all the arts. My husband works in film/TV and we have some good friends who have a regular habit of downloading programmes illegally for free. He’s mentioned (politely) before how much this harms his industry – but we try to keep off the subject because we don’t want to lose good friends!

  11. it’s complicated..

  12. All legit points. I haven’t though about the blogging perspective before. I guess, in a way, it’s true that we are taking time from reading, but it’s also a different kind of relaxation for me. I doubt I would fill up that time with more reading, since I already read so much.
    Great post!

  13. um, I really hope this was meant to be totally tongue and cheek because I consider myself a published author, and I did not “traditionally” publish. If you have an ebook that can be bought, you’re published. Just saying.
    But if you’re serious, I’ll return my copy of Crap is not a bad word right now. I wouldn’t want to hurt any real professional authors with that sort of unpublished work. 😛

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