If you look at the 2020 bestseller lists, there are no Latino writers to boast about. So what can we do to change this?
Best-selling authors can be very successful. However, to make the well-respected Wall Street Journal list, you need to sell around 3,000 copies the first week. The New York Times Bestseller isn’t much easier; it requires 9,000 copies initially sold.
If you think about the millions of books published each year, getting that many readers to invest their money in your book is about much more than your writing skills. Having a following, stable audience already in place is essential to increase your possibilities for sales these days.
We have a responsibility to support our Latino community in any way possible. There are endless ways to do so, giving our money to Latino-owned businesses, going to see movies that represent us, attending events that benefit the people living in these communities, creating jobs that will go to the people, and buying books written by authors that come from where we come from — writers that understand and reflect our experiences, putting out the stories that spotlight us.
Authors do not make millions; it is not a lucrative career. In fact, it probably equates to minimum wage or less when you look at the numbers.
Countless factors determine what you will make from book deals. Is it self-published or traditionally published? The advances are usually limited to the more established publishing houses. You can actually make better royalties off publishing yourself, but you also take one overhead to create and put out the book. Publishing houses may offer an advance, the bonus payment is wonderful. However, they also hold the marketing and creative reigns of your baby. Remember, this book is your formation. As much as you want it to be a successful seller, maintaining its essence is important.
In a nutshell, there is a lot to consider when it comes to the finances of an author — not much money to be made.
The idea of reading a book and passing it forward is a noble thought, in theory. But, can you remember the excitement of reading a book and being so overwhelmed by its takeaways that you could not wait to pass it on to a loved one in hopes it would benefit them the same way?
As an avid reader and writer, I must admit that I don’t lend out my books. I enjoy referring back to them at a later date. It is also nice to reflect on any given experience whenever I’d like.
The other aspect that we don’t often talk about is economics. Sharing books is wonderful. We learn or entertain ourselves without putting out a dime. How good is free? For us, incredibly so; it provides enjoyment without the price tag but let’s consider the authors for a minute.
Authors rely on the added income to supplement the high cost of living. We love that readers share our books, but we need you to buy books to increase our worth. If people don’t buy the books, publishers cannot justify the next book or deal to bring you new stories. Unfortunately, in most businesses, numbers tell the story and the bottom line that determines your career’s next phase.
Latino writers do not have the advantage of wide visibility. Therefore, if we can demonstrate our strength in the book market, then maybe it can help boost the interest worldwide. An author’s worth is greatly tied to demand. No matter how wonderful the writing is, if people are not buying the book, there is no career.
If you want to support your favorite Latino writers, there are some things you can do. If you find a book that you love, buy it for a friend. Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Friendship Day, Valentine’s Day, or holidays are all good days to give a book.
Being an advocate means following their social platforms, signing up for their newsletters, posting comments on social media, and writing book reviews that encourage others to read. These are all ways to contribute to an author’s ecosystem. Spread the word about how amazing the book was and promote it in some way. If you love the author or feel their writing has enriched your life, share the thoughts out loud. You want the book to gain traction, which will reflect in sales. This will be a critical way to raise the voices of the great writers of our Latino communities. Give a book today!