Hey Buddy, Got a Dime (Novel)?
As you might guess from the title of this blog post, I'm going to be talking about both money and books. I run a small business (two, in fact), and business people talk about money. However, some people aren't comfortable with "money talk in public," so if that includes you, then this blog post is probably one for you to skip.
There have been countless observations about money throughout the thousands of years that we humans have abstracted value into some form of currency. One observation is that the less you have of it, the more you think about it. This isn't just a matter of jealousy of those who have more. Many everyday needs such as food and shelter are typically met by spending money. If you don't have it, your options are very limited. When you can't afford those basic needs (and assuming you're not in a position to "live off the land"), thinking about money to pay for them is inevitable.
What does this have to do with books? Well, naturally, despite giving away some books like Wolf Block and (on some platforms) No Fanfare, I also have books that I sell. I would like to make book sales my primary income and one that covers at least a frugal cost of living, but I am very far away from that.
My writing and publishing is one of my two businesses. The other business provides multimedia production services to other companies, which includes book production for other authors. That business is also not currently meeting my basic needs — a long story not worth telling here.
Occasionally I post polls on Google+, mostly for entertainment since my sample size is usually too low to draw meaningful conclusions from results. I recently posted one that was about how people might help someone in need. This is a very personal question and I'm not surprised I didn't get many responses.
In the poll, I asked how people would prefer to help someone in need. Would they rather just donate? Would they want to get something in return for their money? Would they consider both? Neither? Personally I've done both, although not necessarily for the same person. I have donated to various GoFundMe-type campaigns, but I have also bought things from people I wanted to help support. I also use the Amazon Smile program to help support a local non-profit with my purchases, and I also don't hesitate to use an affiliate link to Amazon to help individuals and organizations with my purchases there.
I've had at least one friend run a GoFundMe campaign when they were facing homelessness, and I donated even though I wasn't really in a financial position to do so. If they had something I could have bought from them at the time, I probably would have done that too if I could.
Without getting into the ugly personal details that got me to this point, I'm now facing homelessness myself. By the end of this month, I will not have a place of my own. My pared-down belongings, and my future time, will be split among the homes of various family members until I can get back on my feet — if that ever happens. Some people recover from being homeless, others do not. This has me thinking a lot about money. More than once, I have pondered whether or not I should try a GoFundMe campaign.
At this point, my decision has been to not go that route. Although I am in both the "donate" and "get something for my money" camps when it comes to helping others, on the receiving end I'm vastly in favor of giving people something for their money.
An earlier post in this blog talked about how a $2.99 novel these days is, after inflation, about the cost of a "dime novel" when that term was first used. A 99-cent book today is an even cheaper bargain.
If you'd like to help me climb back up from this incredibly low point in my life, buying one of my "dime novels" would be a great way to do that. You'll get something (entertainment) for your money; added sales (especially on Amazon) will help make my books visible to other shoppers; and, the royalty income will go toward covering my cost of everyday needs.
If you would like something short, inexpensive, and appealing to a fairly general audience, my short-story collection Journey to Yandol, and other stories is only 99 cents. KINRU offers a longer story and is also only 99 cents; better yet, you can read it at no extra cost via Kindle Unlimited if you subscribe to that service. If you would like an even longer story or don't read e-books, the Kindle editions of the first two novels of the Dan Starney series are 99 cents and $2.99 and both are available in print. My not-very-secret pen name Aden Cabro has a couple 99-cent novellas available. And, naturally, it costs nothing to introduce any of my works to other people!
If you would rather just donate something, my Virtual Tip Jar offers some options. Going shopping on Amazon via the links on this page also might send some funds my way. Any support at all right now is appreciated, even if it's just kind words!
My greatest hope, though, is that I will find many more new readers who enjoy my writing, and who enjoy my work enough to buy and read books I release in the future. Making a decent living just from my writings, that's the dream! :) For now, though, I'd be happy to be able to just buy my own groceries, pay some bills, and avoid defaulting on my debts.
Photo credit: dhester on morgueFile.com. Used under license.