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Based in Northeastern, PA, Melissa Koberlein publishes novels that explore the worlds of tech, aliens, and space with humor and heart.

Keeping it Real: A 2020 Candidate for Indie Authors

Keeping it Real: A 2020 Candidate for Indie Authors

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Keeping it Real: How Andrew Yang’s Freedom Dividend could be a game-changer for indie authors

I don’t normally like to talk about politics. It’s something I often avoid. It’s not because I don’t have political views, but I’d rather allow people the freedom to maintain their own. I understand that debate is at the heart of our democracy, but, hey, to each their own. This one time, I can’t help but speak out. Especially because I believe a political candidate has a proposal that could be a game-changer for indie authors like myself. If you’re an indie too, read on my friend.

I first came to know who Andrew Yang was through my husband. He mentioned to me that a candidate was running for president that wants to give $1000 a month to every adult US citizen. He calls it the Freedom Dividend. This was back in April of 2019. My first thought was—is he crazy? My second thought was—how is he planning on paying for that? I’m happy to report I don’t think he’s crazy and he does have a plan to pay for it that’s feasible.

Universal Basic Income, or UBI for short, is not a new concept. As Yang has pointed out, Thomas Paine and Martin Luther King Jr. both supported UBI. In fact, in 1970 a bill for UBI passed through the House of Representatives but died in the Senate because senators wanted a higher guaranteed income (Yang2020.com). Why is UBI relevant now? Automation is taking away millions of jobs in the United States. As people lose their jobs, UBI could help them continue to pay for their everyday living expenses while looking for a new type of employment or allow people to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. 

Yang proposes to pay for his Freedom Dividend through a Value-Added Tax (VAT). Also, welfare and other assistance program recipients would be given a choice between their current program and the Freedom Dividend. Most would likely choose the Freedom Dividend because there are no strings attached, and typically would be more money per month for each household.

So, my initial questions were answered. He isn’t crazy. He appears very down-to-earth and is a fellow Gen-Xer (We’re only 13 days apart in age. I’m older.). He also has a plan to pay for his Freedom Dividend. Did I mention that MATH is his strong suit? That’s a bit of a joke. Maybe you’ve seen some of his campaign hats and t-shirts around? MATH stands for Make America Think Harder.

So, my next thought—what would I do with an extra thousand dollars a month?

Let’s get this one out of the way first—student loans (that I’m STILL paying at age 44!). I’m sure many of you can relate. Next, I thought about all the costs of being an indie author. ISBNs! It costs an indie author $250 for ten ISBN numbers. They’re numbers, right!?! Professional editing would be much more affordable. You know that dream editor that’s just out of your financial reach? You could afford them now. That book cover designer you can’t afford? No problem. Facebook ads, promo sites, Amazon ads, etc.? Done. Hire a publicist? Definitely possible. A social media assistant? Yep. I could even have some money left over to buy booth space at festivals! 

Then it dawned on me—I could be an author full-time. The thought had a profound effect on me, and I remember the moment perfectly. I was standing in the kitchen drying dishes that my husband had washed, our regular routine. My two school-aged daughters were finishing up their dinners, their voices drowned out, my mind awhirl. My heart pounded as a sense of financial hopefulness washed over me for the first time in my life.

Holy S**t, Andrew Yang could be a game-changer.

Let me be perfectly honest, I’ve never supported a political candidate in my life. Most political messages fall flat for me. I think that’s relatively normal. But, that’s all changed now. Today, I’m a contributor to Andrew Yang’s campaign. I donate monthly along with my husband. I never believed in a candidate as I do now. He’s the real deal. His Freedom Dividend could help indie authors in ways that weren’t possible before. Most of us work full-time jobs, raise a family, and somehow manage the expensive, and often difficult business of being an independent author. I’m telling you right now, if you haven’t already, go to Andrew Yang’s website (yang2020.com) and read about his policies. You won’t be disappointed. If you’re an indie author like me, he’s our candidate.

Join the Yang Gang.

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