If you want to learn more ways to support your favorite indie writers, keep reading!
Being an indie or non-traditional writer is a tough path. We are a tenacious group of people who are determined to get our work out there, with or without the traditional means of assistance - but actually being able to support ourselves with our work can be a huge challenge.
If you want to help, first of all, thank you so much. We wouldn't be here without our devoted readers. Secondly, take a look at the following suggestions. You'd be surprised how easy it is to help your favorite indie and non-traditional writers.
1. Buy our books. If you like our work, support it with your dollars. Buy them new direct from the main distributors. Remember that buying used copies and buying new copies from subsidiary book sellers on Amazon means the author doesn’t get any royalties!
2. Buy our other offerings. Many indie writers have secondary offerings. Perhaps they are selling their artwork on Etsy, or are offering online classes or educational subscription services. Sometimes, these purchases can be even more impactful than the purchase of our books. It helps sustain us in between projects.
3. Check if your favorite author has a Patreon account. Again, this kind of support is so important. It helps us pay the mortgage and keep the pantry stocked with bread and Earl Grey tea. Seriously.
1. Share everything. Let your friends know about the amazing book you just read. Share our posts on Facebook. Recommend our work to others. Forward our newsletter emails to your friends. Remember that indie authors are working without the expertise and contact lists of a marketing expert at a big publishing house. We're on our own. So every fan who speaks up for us, every word-of-mouth recommendation is essential to our success. It's like having our own, personalized patchwork quilt version of a PR manager (which, in my opinion, is the best kind!).
2. Leave reviews everywhere. Oftentimes, book reviews make or break a book purchase. Reviews are even more important to indie authors because self-published and independent press books have to fight against the cultural assumption that they weren't good enough to be picked up by a real publishing house. (Not at all true.) We indie authors need all the help we can get to combat this negative assumption. Remember that you aren't limited to leaving a review of a book only at the place where you purchased it. Don't forget Goodreads and other book-centric websites. See if other shops allow you to log in and leave a review, as well. If you have a blog, write a review there. Or share your reviews on social media. And guess what? It's okay if you didn't like the book and don't have a good review to offer. Believe it or not, we want honest reviews! A book with eighty-nine 5-star ratings looks pretty hinky, right? No one has a perfect rating. So go ahead - if you didn't like it, feel free to say so.
3. Email your favorite indie author and ask if you can help them promote their latest project. Offer to review it on your blog or to lend them a space for a blog book tour. Invite them onto your podcast. Authors are so grateful for this kind of support. And you might even get a free digital or audio copy out of the deal!
4. Subscribe to your favorite indie author's free newsletter. You'll get the scoop on all the upcoming projects, and it helps authors maintain a relationship with their loyal fans. (And don't forget to forward the emails to friends who might enjoy it!)
5. Attend local events. It can be challenging for indie authors to put themselves out there. Give them a boost – fill up the room when they promote a reading/signing or other event. Bring some friends and smile a lot from the audience. And buy a book on your way out.
6. Post pictures of yourself reading the author's book on social media and make sure to hashtag the book title and tag the author. It is such a thrill for us to see our books out in the world, making an impact on other people's lives!
Things to keep in mind:
1. Remember not to make assumptions about the quality of an indie author's work just because they are self-published or using an independent press. Some of us are more interested in distributing our work to the world than we are in getting a publishing deal. Some of us are making a deliberate choice not to work with big publishing houses, for any number of reasons. Others want to keep a more intimate relationship between themselves and their readers. And let's not forget that all too often, high-quality projects are passed over by big publishers because they are so overwhelmed with their current workload and author list. There are countless reasons why indie authors might end up self-publishing and/or using an independent press. Give them a chance before you judge them, and make sure you remind others of this, as well.
2. If you review books on your blog or website, remember that indie authors often cannot afford to send you a printed copy of their book, especially in exchange for a potential book review. Even with our author discounts, sending 10 books out (with shipping costs) for 10 potential reviews (reviews are never guaranteed) can cost us upwards of $70. Many indie authors aren't even able to pay their bills from the money they earn off their books, let alone put large chunks of change toward promotional outlets that might not even end up reviewing our books. If you're a book reviewer who has these requirements, please reconsider allowing indie authors to send in a digital copy. A review on your website might not even allow the author to break even on the cost of the book and shipping. By allowing them to send a digital copy, they at least won't incur a loss if you choose not to review the book, at all.
3. Most indie authors really, truly want to connect with their readers. Don't be afraid to contact us!