Indie April Guest post:
The Care and Feeding of Authors while Practising Social Distancing.
(or How to support your favourite Creators during the Dark Times.)
By Karen J Carlisle
“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon, we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” – Dumbledore, Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire
A faint rumble filled the air. The wind swirled, catching the edges of the clouds. Pinpoints of sunlight peeked through the chinks in the darkness. The clouds twisted and retreated back over the hills.
There was a murmur from inside the beehive.
Enid patted the top of the hive. “Thank you, my darlings,” she whispered.
– Aunt Enid: Protector Extraordinaire, Karen J Carlisle
It’s hard enough for authors, particularly Indie authors, at the best of times – and especially those of us with writing as our only income. It can take 6-12 months (or more!) to write one book, and we don’t get any income from it until it sells.
We’ve already seen people flock to Netflix and video streaming to combat isolation and boredom. (Yay for creators!) Now is the perfect time to access all those books you were going to read one day.
Read those books!
Reading is a win-win. It’s good for your mental health. You can transport yourself safely to anywhere, any time, any reality – without without risk of infecting anything other than your imagination.
‘Yes!’ you say. ‘I want to support my favourite indie author! But I’m in isolation, how can I support my favourite authors (or creators)?’
I’m glad you asked. Here are a few ideas how to start:
You can borrow from your library (if they are still open).
Some are providing delivery to doorstep, or pickup at front door.
Authors in Australia (you’ll need to check for other countries) get PLR – Public Lending Rights. Each time a book is borrowed, they get a small fee (to offset the lost sales income). It’s not much, and we don’t get paid until it accrues to a minimum of $100 per year (resetting each year L ). This means about 400+ people need to borrow our books a year. So tell your friends to borrow my books! 😉
If the library is closed for the duration, then…
Buy Books: They make a great Quarantine Present for your friends or family!
Buy books from local indie book stores. If they don’t have a book, they can usually order them in for you. This pays the author a little bit, AND keeps people employed and small businesses viable in these uncertain times.
If your local bookstore has closed (or they can’t order in at the moment), then buy online.
Buy eBooks online:
This is the easiest way to get books while in isolation or quarantine. Most of you are aware of Amazon; also try Smashwords (which give a higher royalty rate to authors), Apple Books, Kobo.
Buy Paperbacks online:
Not everyone reads eBooks. My largest sales are in paperback, especially at events. So far this year, I’ve had two events cancelled (and rightly so) to reduce the potential spread of Coronavirus, or Covid19. And I’m not the only one. Writers’ festivals, publishing and book events have also been cancelled. Check out author websites to see if you can buy direct from them, otherwise there are many online bookstores you can use. (https://www.karenjcarlisle.com/shop/#wheretobuy/ )
Again, this could help keep jobs (picking, packing and posting) and that of your local postie as well. Smile and wave at them (from at least 1.5m distance). They may well become a valuable link to the outside world.
Be aware there could be delays via Amazon (at least until April). It’s been reported books will receive a low priority until at least April 5. (https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/82713-amazon-deprioritizes-book-sales-amid-coronavirus-crisis.html?utm_source=Publishers+Weekly&utm_campaign=2a2f1b01ed-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_10_18_05_06_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0bb2959cbb-2a2f1b01ed-305049973)
Buy the whole series
Every little bit helps put food on the table. You also get to enjoy your favourite characters and worlds for longer!
Support your favourite creator on Patreon
Just $1 or $3 or $5 a month, can get food on our table and help us produce more worlds and characters for you to enjoy. Plus you get rewards (exclusives, early spoilers, bonus extras, freebies – all sorts of things). If your personal or financial situation changes, then you can suspend or cancel your pledge at any time. https://www.patreon.com/KarenJCarlisle
Pre-order upcoming/new books
Then you have something to look forward to! You can find out about this by:
Sign up for an Author newsletter
Find the ‘sign up’ link on your author’s webpage or social media page. Many give a freebie on signup (and we all need a present at the moment!). I give a short story collection eBook when you sign up to my monthly newsletter. You can find out about new books, books on the go, events – both cancelled, rescheduled or online. And sometimes you get spoilers. https://karenjcarlisle.com/sign-up-email-list/
Follow and Connect with Authors on Social Media
Authors may be a little more used to isolation than many of you, but we still get lonely. Check out our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. Your author usually will list their social media links. Find them. Follow them. And comment. Tell them how much you loved their book. Ask us questions. (My links below)
Share with your Friends
Love a book? Share it. Recommend it. Buy them a copy.
Add it to your GOODREADS Recommend on Goodreads.
Write a Review
If you like a book, write an honest and helpful review on Goodreads, Smashwords, Amazon – anywhere and everywhere. If you’re keen, write a blog post, review it on someone else’s blog (and don’t forget to add links to the author’s webpage.) Plus it lets us know what we’re doing right, and we’re not alone.
Suggest a book for your local book club
If you don’t have one, create an online club! Many authors (me included, if time zones allow) are happy to Skype visit to answer questions and chat.
Things to do on Social Media that would be really appreciated:
- Take a book selfie, post it on social media. Tag the author and link where to buy, if possible. #buybooks
- Post photos of an indie author’s book(s) on Instagram. (use the hashtag #bookstagram #buybooks #booksofinstagram and tag the author. (@karenjcarlisle)
- Share upcoming virtual events, book launches, webpages, links
- Host a virtual book party
- Host an author talk via Skype.
Support the Arts
Write, phone or email your local MP, Senator, Congressperson (whatever is applicable in your country) and demand more support for the Arts and creators. They keep us all sane!
These are just a few things you can do to help. Not only does it keep food on our (authors’ and creators’) tables, but it provides entertainment and social interaction – something we will all need a lot of in the coming months. Together we will muddle through. Relax. Be kind. And be safe.
Karen J Carlisle is a writer and illustrator of steampunk, Victorian mysteries and fantasy. She was short-listed in Australian Literature Review’s 2013 Murder/Mystery Short Story Competition. She is currently writing a cosy fantasy mystery set in Adelaide. Her short stories have featured in the 2016 Adelaide Fringe exhibition, ‘A Trail of Tales’, and the ‘Where’s Holmes’ and ‘Deadsteam’ anthologies.
Karen lives in Adelaide with her family and the ghost of her ancient Devon Rex cat.
She’s always loved dark chocolate and rarely refuses a cup of tea.