I'm about to drop a bombshell. Writing isn't exactly a lucrative business. Maybe if you're Tom Clancy, but there's only enough room for so many New York Times Best Selling Authors on the bookshelves at Wal-Mart. I only know a handful of writers who live off of what they do and a majority of them collaborate with small publishers to help them promote. A lot of us do it as a side-hustle on top of parenting or making fake Facebook accounts to see what Stacey's been doing since she blocked me.
So, here's the good news. This isn't always a bad thing. Plenty of history's best writers didn't live off of their writing. Below is the first Google result. You're welcome. One of the most interesting things I've ever heard was from my high school German teacher when asked about teaching wages. She said that the plus side is that you won't have people crowding the market to get easy money. That's how I feel about writing. Sure, it'd be cool if you can make money off you're writing (and many can), but there is something pure about keeping finances out of it, doing it for the love of the craft.
So, here's the bad news. This also means that many authors will never reach their full potential. Think about our minds being like a phone batter that depletes with usage, and the more apps running, the faster it drains. If you're writing at the end of your day after an eight-plus hour shift, household duties, and going through pictures of Stacey's ex-boyfriends to find which stock photo male model looks the most like her type, it can be hard to focus. Stephen King said some bologna about not being a true writer unless your read four hours a day and write four hours a day. I'm lucky if I make room to read and write that much a week out of the year. I fear that a lot of magnum opuses collect dust in the heads of their originators and the world might be a lamer place for that.
Anyhow, here's how you can help. Just be there. If someone you're interested in puts a book out, pay for it. Read it, talk to them about it, write a review. It may not seem like much (and I'd beg to disagree, because reading one book can be a heck of a lot sometimes), but it makes a huge difference. Every single purchase counts. Every review helps. If you share a blog post or give just a star rating on Goodreads, it goes a long way. We're starving out in the desert here and we'd kill for just one drop of water. Now, I will say that if an author ever charges $20+ for a chapbook, then they're likely a bullshit artist. I do not see how the means of production justify the cost and have seen many examples of this. (If you have any information on what goes into a twenty page book that isn't printed on gold, please let me know. I've been confounded on that for years.) The thing is, most people I've met aren't that way. They're out printing their own chapbooks, organizing their own events, helping promote and support other authors. I think for the most part, you can tell if someone is being genuine. Most people can be read like a book. I should end this, there.
Anyhow, that's that. This shit is basic, but essential.