As well as services like Patreon and other direct pay/tip jar systems. Like John Scalzi, who gave a similar answer earlier in the year, Wendig’s argument against direct-to-author payments as “compensation” for pirated works is essentially that it misses out on everyone else in the production chain:
You give me donations, or tip me via Patreon, I’m not giving you what I really want to give you, which are the books that I’ve written. Further, it means my editors and cover artists and all the people who worked hard to help usher many of my books into the world gain nothing from it — you bypass them and put money into my pocket. That’s unfortunate.
Wendig also points out that, while sales are the “base metric” in publishing, there are still things fans can do outside of that if they really, really can’t afford (for whatever reason) to purchase their own copy of a title.
On my own tangent for a second: fans, never underestimate the value of work-of-mouth recommendations, or the benefit of being a “visible” fan, particularly in genre fiction. Things that “get big” get big because they have highly visible, highly mobile fanbases who do things together online or in public, from the flower crowns of Hannibal to flash mobs of Homestuck trolls to suddenly everyone on your Tumblr dash reblogging weird fanart of a guy with a radio mic and three eyes talking about angels. This is what discoverability–that all-purpose publishing buzzword–is really about. You can read all the blog posts about it that you like but, at the end of the day, true discoverability isn’t something that can be bought. It emerges when something in a work connects so strongly with an audience that they do the fanart and write the fanfic and reblog the meta and wear the makeup.
That’s also why discoverability is so scary. Because you can mass-follow every single person on Twitter but that still doesn’t guarantee you work will ever make that connection. And nothing scares authors more, I think, than the notion that their work just may not connect.
All this is why, at the end of the day, ten bucks in a tip jar is nothing compared to a single afternoon spent in cosplay at a convention.
Book sales are the metric, but fandom is the medium.