4 Free Things Writers Pay For

I cannot tell you how many writers I’ve spoken to who have spent hundreds and even THOUSANDS 🤢of dollars on items and services that they could have gotten without ever pulling out their wallet. ere are just a few.


1. Book Publishing 🖨️

You knew this would be #1, didn’t you? My heart shattered when a fellow author told me that they’d spent nearly $3,000 publishing only about 500 copies of their book through a vanity publisher. For such a critical part of beginning to build your audience as an independent author, you don’t want to waste money like this right out of the gate. Especially when there are so many free, cheap, simple options that give you a high level of control over the project. And when you buy in bulk like this, you have to be responsible for storing, protecting (fires, thieves, rodents, insects, water, etc.) and transporting all these books. Whereas, having books printed only when a purchase is made–and without you having to store them–can save you a lot of risk, time, effort, and money.

2. Web Site Setup 💻

Again: easy and free. You can even go for ‘affordable’ and get a website with features like this one for around $10 a month. I could understand paying for a tutorial or some IT help once in a while if you’re super-uncomfortable with technology, but paying someone hundreds of dollars just for clicking a few buttons for you seems absurd, generally speaking.

3. Social Media Setup 👍

Social media profiles are generally free and can be set up within minutes. Once you become a world-famous author, maybe these profiles will get a little overwhelming and you’ll want someone to help you manage them (though that’s still not really necessary in most cases). But please, please, please do not pay anyone big money to do something so simple as merely setting up the profiles for you.

4. Mobile Credit Card Readers 💳

These are free. Please don’t ever pay for these. It makes me sad. One author told me they purchased a PayPal Here reader to use at a book fair, even though they didn’t even know how to use it. They hadn’t even set up a PayPal account yet, let alone a PayPal Business account! Yes, it was only about $20, but that’s $20 that could have gone towards book promotions, literary contest entry fees, a decent dinner, or–most lavishly–a brand new book! I understand that the new mobile readers with chip-compatible technology are available, and they can be relatively expensive, but there are still cheaper ways to get those than paying full price.



If any of this information is shocking to you, or if you have paid for some of these things yourself, I’m available for consultation as needed. As independent authors, we need to learn to reserve our resources (especially liquid cash), by not paying for things we don’t have to. If there’s a YouTube video, blog post, or pod cast that can teach you how to do something, learn and go do it for yourself for free!

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