The Why & the How
Why help authors today?
The answer is really quite simple: because we definitely can't pay our own bills through writing most of the time and because it's often the only way we can reach more people with stories you enjoy. Which leads me to my next question: How can you help authors today?
The story which took me the longest to write so far was Rienspel. That one took me a decade to finish and publish. - And while most of the other stories took about half that amount of time or less, that's still months and months of bills. I'm talking basic living stuff like rent or a mortgage, utilities... (God forbid I mention student loans too!). To write, we need an electronic way to create our art. That means some sort of computer and the ability to access the internet. We need food and something to drink, a roof over our heads, and something to ward off winter's chill and summer's heat. Freelancing also means we more likely than not can't afford insurance for our health, not to mention our vehicle(s).
Look, living can suck sometimes. Too often, the financial culture we live in dictates what we can and cannot create in a timely fashion. So, without belaboring the point anymore here are some ways you can help:
Most of this is fairly simple stuff. I mean, I know life is busy and you have your own bills and whatnot to cover. All I'm suggesting here is to help how you can. For example, we go through maybe 3 gas tanks a month. Forgoing the ups and downs of fuel costs these days, if you were to make regular donations of $20 a month that's one less tank of gas to worry about. And it's often gas that prevents authors from being able to travel for writing conventions, book signings, and special releases.
Buying author merch is not just cool, it helps us to let others know about our stories. Super simple stuff. One of my favorite shirts is one featuring Neil Gaiman's book American Gods. Now, while I'm sure Mr. Gaiman (if you're ever reading this, Hi! Big fan!) appreciates his fans as much as the next writer, he's got his bills paid up. Helping authors in need, especially independent authors, literally puts food on the table and heat in the furnace.
Hey, don't look at me that way. I promise I'm not trying to preach another tithing sermon or give another morality speech. Regular donations to indie authors help with bills of course, but it also helps us keep writing. An often little-known fact about authors is that our craft is a lonely one. It's super easy to just give up and never write another book again simply because we aren't making it and from our end, it feels like no one actually believes in us. I can still remember when I received my first piece of fan mail - from a girl in Washington state who did her book report on Rienspel. That simple gift has helped keep me writing for years. Still does, as a matter of fact. If you're reading this and can help, please let me know which bill you can help me with - whether that's gas tanks ($60/mo), utilities (around $500/mo), my mortgage ($800/mo, my trash service ($45/mo), or my internet ($100/mo).
Here's my Paypal: https://paypal.me/ryanpfreeman.
If you have questions about this, I'm all ears too. Just move your mouse over to the Contact Me tab on my website.
Even partial amounts, like that humble $20 seriously helps right now.
Like and follow all our social media, find and follow us on Goodreads and wherever you buy your books online. Write reviews (those are the things that help our reach go even further). Plus, it's fun. You are often privy to more intimate parts of an author's life when you do so. For me, just search for Ryan P Freeman (believe you me, I'm EVERYWHERE on the ol' internet. I've made a specific point to do so. Sign up for these emails and share them with friends if you wouldn't mind too.
Spreading the word about a favorite book ought to be second nature for most of us, you know. Most of the books I received as gifts for birthdays, holidays, spring and summer breaks, etc. are ones I still proudly treasure and display on my shelves to this very day. They seed my imagination. They inspire me to be more. They call forth my true ME deep down inside. Indelible, each of them. And, the fun part is, since all my fantasies take place in the same world, beginning with any book can easily lead you on to the rest.
Ah, Author Services. One of the things I love so much besides writing is helping other writers (and yes, you're a writer too. How many texts and emails have you crafted in your lifetime already, huh?). So whether you're brand new to writing your own book, or already have a few out there in the world, I'd love to help! Just message or email me for more :) .
Finally, be creative.
Hey, I don't live inside your brain. All of us have inherent unique abilities we can use to help contribute to our favorite author's works. You have access to resources and connections that you may not realize are incredible. Unleash your own personal power, even if you yourself don't think much of it. Likely, these talents and powers would never enter into an author's sphere of living otherwise.
How can you help Ryan, you ask?
First off, I have 17 different works published - did you know that? Pop on Amazon or Smashwords, snag some copies and get lost in one of my tales. Then leave a written review once you're finished before telling everyone else about it.
Second, ask me about my Author Services. I'd love to help you write your first book or your next book. I'd love to help you professionally navigate the publishing process with your own finely polished story! Even if it's just marketing advice for a story or even a business etc., I'm your connection. Just reach out to me.
Thirdly, pick a bill, any bill, and pledge to support me monthly with either the whole or partial amount. I'll write you in as a character if you'd like (I won't even Game-of-Thrones-Style kill you off, either. Unless that's your thing...). Those bills again are gas, utilities, mortgage, trash pick up, and internet. Anything whole bill covered or partially donated at over $100 a month will give you a character - you can even pick your own name.
Here's my Paypal again: https://paypal.me/ryanpfreeman.
The final bit is an anecdote that still chills me today.
To get ideas, I often enjoy reading about near-death experiences. In one of them, a person was being guided around a massive library. In it were all the books ever written. Aisles upon aisles, rows upon rows, shelves upon shelves of books - amazing, right?
Finally, the duo turned a corner and looked over to the largest wing yet. The person asked what sorts of books were down there. Their guide answered All the books that were never written.
If you're not getting literary goosebumps from that, you can borrow some of mine.
Help me not to have a book in that wing. Help me not to have a single story remain locked in stasis in my imagination or hard drive. Help me share the same delight you've received from me with as many others as we possibly can.
That's all I'm asking, ok?