Salon.com has an interesting article that casts a spotlight on a rather old notion: should authors have patrons?
Back in Ye Olden Days of Yore, authors were commissioned by rich nobles and aristocrats to pen their works. Not so any more. Today, authors must eek a living from the few pennies per copy sold of their books, and most earn next to nothing in terms of the tens of thousands of hours of labor put into producing a novel or series from start to finish.
The majority of authors, of course, can’t make a living from book sales as it is. They teach or work for the phone company or scrape together enough grants and fellowships to keep a roof over their heads… The eight hours or more per day that your favorite authors will spend servicing air conditioners or drafting marketing reports is time they won’t have to devote to writing their next book, the one you’re so eager to read.
The solution, so the argument goes, is to garner support from fans and/or a very rich dude, to pay for the work in question. Thus, writers will spend more time writing and less time struggling to support themselves and their families.
I’m all for it! Please contact me if you have a few thousand dollars lying around and would like to sponsor a series of steam-age fantasy stories and books. Hey, it never hurts to ask.