With my book coming out soon, I thought I'd take this as a chance to answer a very tough question:
What's the Best Way to Support an Indie Author? Where should you buy their books? 🤔💵
Big post incoming!
Before we start talking about the wild, wild world of 👑royalties👑, I want to make this crystal clear:
The best way to support an indie author* is to BUY OUR BOOKS. Straight up. Paying for our hard work is good enough.
You want to support me? Easy. Buy my book.
*Now, let’s say you don’t care where you get the book from or your goal is to make sure most of your hard-earned money actually goes to the indie author rather than some corporation… then, in that case, read on!
So… what the heck are book royalties anyway?
When you purchase an indie eBook the money you spend is split between the author and the retailer. Depending on the split, more or less of your money will actually end up on the hands of the author you’re trying to support.
This differs from traditional publishing, where the author receives a lump sum as an advance from the publisher (which is then split between author and agent).
The publisher then sells this book on other storefronts, which further splits where the money actually goes.
PS: It is not until the book has actually generated as much revenue as the advance that said author begins to *actually* earn royalties on books sold, which may be as little as cents per book to a percentage of each sale.
To further confuse matters, different retailers offer different royalty rates! 😵
Where should you purchase books from if you want to super-duper support an indie author?
Well, let me give you a tier list—beginning from the TOP!
S TIER: Author's Personal Shop
Buying a book directly from an author's shop is by far the best way support 'em. Outside of a small % that goes to cover for credit card fees (~5% in my case), pretty much all of your money goes to the author.
If the author has a shop—buy it from there!!
A TIER: Itch.io
It's not just for games, you know! Its royalty rate is one of the most generous with a default 90/10. This is crazy-good compared to most other retailers.
Seriously, more authors should start selling their books on Itch.io!!
B TIER: Most Retailers
Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Google Play Books, and Kobo all offer a 70/30 split. It didn't use to be like this, tho!
If you like to have all of your books on the same platform, buying an indie author’s book through these platforms is honestly A-OK! 👍
C TIER: Amazon
Amazon has a default 35/65 rate (ouch) and has the option for a 70/30—but it's not easy. The latter option is not available in all territories and has many prerequisites.
Also, one way to get the 70/30 split is to *exclusively* sell your title on Amazon (ooof).
As if Amazon’s system wasn’t already confusing enough—there’s also *delivery fees*. Yes, you read that right. Amazon charges the author for the delivery of the digital item based on the file size, nickle-and-diming you like it's 2004 and you went over your text message limit.
I don’t want anyone to feel bad for buying books through Amazon. Like I said before, the best way to support us is to buy our books—no matter where you get them.
A sale is better than no sale at all. 🤞
The reason I set out to write this is because the average person has no clue that where you buy a book from actually matters.
You spend your hard-earned money wanting to support an indie author and the bulk of that Hamilton doesn’t even go to them.
And now you know. 🧵🔚
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I’m wondering, how do I come up with good ideas to write a sub-plot that actually fits into the story and won’t make the reader lose the connection with the main plot?
How to Write A Sub Plot
If you look back on every single bestselling book ever printed, the chances are that most, if not all of them, contain sub-plots.
A sub-plot is part of a book that develops separately from the main story, and it can serve as a tool that extends the word count and adds interest and depth into the narrative.
Sub-plots are key to making your novel a success, and, although they aren’t necessary for shorter works, are an essential aspect of story writing in general.
However, sub-plots can be difficult to weave into the main plot, so here are a few tips on how to incorporate sub-plots into your writing.
1. Know Your Kinds of Sub-Plots and Figure Out Which is Best For Your Story
Sub-plots are more common than you think, and not all of them extend for many chapters at a time.
A sub-plot doesn’t have to be one of the side characters completely venturing off from the main group to struggle with their own demons or a side quest that takes up a quarter of the book. Small things can make a big difference, and there are many of these small things that exist in literature that we completely skip over when it comes to searching for sub-plots.
Character arcs are the most common sub-plot.
They show a change in a dynamic character’s physical, mental, emotional, social, or spiritual outlook, and this evolution is a subtle thing that should definitely be incorporated so that the readers can watch their favorite characters grow and develop as people.
For example, let’s say that this guy named Bob doesn’t like his partner Jerry, but the two of them had to team up to defeat the big bad.
While the main plot involves the two of them brainstorming and executing their plans to take the big bad down, the sub-plot could involve the two getting to know each other and becoming friends, perhaps even something more than that.
This brings me to the second most common sub-plot:
Romance can bolster the reader’s interest; not only do they want to know if the hero beats the big bad guy, they also want to know if she ends up with her love interest in the end or if the warfare and strife will keep them apart.
How to Write Falling in Love
How to Write a Healthy Relationship
How to Write a Romance
Like character arcs, romance occurs simultaneously with the main plot and sometimes even influences it.
There are two types of side-quest sub-plots, the hurtles and the detours.
Hurdle sub-plots are usually complex and can take a few chapters to resolve. Their main purpose is to put a barrier, or hurdle, between the hero and the resolution of the main plot. They boost word count, so be careful when using hurdle sub-plots in excess.
Think of it like a video game.
You have to get into the tower of a fortress to defeat the boss monster.
However, there’s no direct way to get there; the main door is locked and needs to have three power sources to open it, so you have to travel through a monster-infested maze and complete all of these puzzles to get each power source and unlock the main door.
Only, when you open the main door, you realize that the bridge is up and you have to find a way to lower it down and so forth.
Detour sub-plots are a complete break away from the main plot. They involve characters steering away from their main goal to do something else, and they, too, boost word count, so be careful not too use these too much.
Taking the video game example again.
You have to get to that previously mentioned fortress and are on your way when you realize there is an old woman who has lost her cattle and doesn’t know what to do.
Deciding the fortress can wait, you spend harrowing hours rounding up all of the cows and steering them back into their pen for the woman.
Overjoyed, the woman reveals herself to be a witch and gives you a magical potion that will help you win the fight against the big bad later.
**ONLY USE DETOUR SUB-PLOTS IF THE OUTCOME HELPS AID THE PROTAGONISTS IN THE MAIN PLOT**
If they’d just herded all of the cows for no reason and nothing in return, sure it would be nice of them but it would be a complete waste of their and the readers’ time!
2. Make Sure Not to Introduce or Resolve Your Sub-Plots Too Abruptly
This goes for all sub-plots. Just like main plots, they can’t be introduced and resolved with a snap of your fingers; they’re a tool that can easily be misused if placed into inexperienced hands.
Each sub-plot needs their own arc and should be outlined just like how you outlined your main plot.
How to Outline Your Plot
You could use my methods suggested in the linked post, or you could use the classic witch’s hat model if you feel that’s easier for something that’s less important than your main storyline.
3. Don’t Push It
If you don’t think your story needs a sub-plot, don’t add a sub-plot! Unneeded sub-plots can clutter up your narrative and make it unnecessarily winding and long.
You don’t have to take what I’m saying to heart ever!
It’s your story, you write it how you think it should be written, and no one can tell you otherwise!
Hope this Helped!
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How NOT to Start Your Novel
Morning routine that is mundane TO THE READER. Nobody cares how long your main character showers or what their favorite kind of cereal is. Only start your novel with your main character’s morning routine if it is something that isn’t routine to your reader. Does your MC have to steal their breakfast? Include that! Does your MC feed their dragon at the crack of dawn? That’s interesting! Do they spend way to long deciding what to wear? Nobody cares. That’s boring.
A dream. Readers will feel cheated when they read a bunch of interesting stuff only to find out none of it was real.
Excessive world building. Fantasy novels are especially prone to falling into this trap. Little bits of world building that are naturally woven into the narrative are fine. Info dumps are not. Remember, the purpose of the first chapter is to introduce the MC and get the reader invested in what will happen to them, not to give the reader a history lesson about a world they have no reason to care about yet.
Too long before the main conflict. While you don’t necessarily need to dive straight into the main conflict, you shouldn’t keep the reader waiting for it to start for too long. I suggest laying the groundwork for the main conflict in the first chapter and maybe hinting at it directly. That will help the plot get going at a good pace.
Without anything to ground the reader in what’s going on. The reader needs some time to get invested in the main character. While starting in medias res can work, you need to help your reader why they should care about what’s happening to the MC. Otherwise, you might as well be jingling keys in the reader’s face. Be especially careful about starting your novel with a chase scene or a battle since those can be disorienting and might not make it clear why the reader should be rooting for your MC specifically.
Without showing why your reader should care about the MC. Your MC should be one of the main things that keeps your reader hooked throughout the novel. If your reader doesn’t feel invested in them by the end of the first chapter, then there’s a good chance they won’t keep reading.
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