Patronizing the Arts

As a young writer, I wanted a patron: someone who would pay my way in exchange for the creativity I would then offer up to bless the world.

Reality can be a pain.

I was horrified to learn there are so few patrons these days.

Great, classical authors had patrons. Painters had patrons. But there was no patron for me.

Reality is changing. In our modern world, anyone can be a patron of the arts. Many of us already are, without realizing it.

If you buy books, traditionally published books, you're paying the publishing industry. You're actually supporting a whole slew of jobs, but only a tiny fraction of the cost of the book actually makes it back to an author. That number is probably around 10%. (May be less, may be slightly more, but that's a good comparison number.)

If you buy a book from an independent author, that author will likely receive around 60% to 70% of what you pay. (The printer and distributor like Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc. will take their cut.) That's a huge difference.

In the modern indie publishing environment, that's the difference between a writer working as a plumber in order to live and being able to write full-time. More and more indie authors are able to support themselves off of the profit from their books. That means they can write more books, improve their craft, and provide you with a higher quality of entertainment.

As a bonus, these indie authors are able to explore a wider range of topics than traditionally published authors.

So, become a patron. Whenever possible, buy your books from indie authors.

How can you find them?

If you're using an e-reader, look in your marketplace for books priced $5 or less. There's no guarantee that these are indies, but most of them will be. Yes, that means you can read these books for less money than you can buy from a traditional publisher.

Any of the books I publish qualify as indie books. These authors receive 90% of the profits from each sale. I'm working on getting a good variety of books: poetry, fiction, memoirs.

Search for "Independent Authors" in your search-engine of choice. You may have to buy these books on-line. If you can buy them in a bookstore, consider asking your local independent bookstore to consider carrying your favorites. (Not all independent authors have set up the distributor relationship that allows this. Heart Ally Books authors have.) If you buy from your local bookstore, you'll be supporting them as well.

Become a patron. Enjoy the benefits: new voices, creative approaches, entertainment that you enjoy. If you buy a hard-copy, don't forget to request an autographed bookplate from the author. You will have shelf of books that you can look at and know you've helped support those writers.

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