I wrote a post similiar to this in 2015, right when my first book came out. The internet changes constantly and I’ve learned a lot in four years, so it felt time to an update and some new suggestions. You can read the original post here.
When I published my first book, The Assassin, a month before I graduated from college, there was one big question I got constantly. Who is your publisher? Why college kids wanted to know this, I don’t know, but I suspect it was a test to see if I was legit. Could my peers and colleagues pick up my book at a bookstore like Barnes and Noble?
Nope and you still can’t, but that doesn’t make me any less legit, thank you very much. You see, I’m an indie author, short for an independent author. I’m the author, part-time editor, marketer, and publisher, all in one. There are a lot of reasons to publish yourself or to go after a publishing house and everyone’s needs are different, but I love the ability to experiment as an indie author.
That being said, though, there are a lot of uphill battles indie authors face and we need all the help we can get – especially during the launch of a book. It doesn’t take a lot to support an indie author, but a lot of times, if you aren’t familiar with what to do, it might not be something you want to do. There are a few ways to support us and I want to list just few that I always suggest.
5 Ways to Show You’re Supporting Indie Authors
1. Buy Their Books
Now this one seems obvious, but unless you work with an author to provide feedback or in exchange for a review, don’t ask for a free copy. Most indie books are going to be less than $10 on Amazon for years’ worth of work. Just buy the book and support them. At the end of the day, sales and revenue are a big part of being a successful indie author.
2. Review the Books on Amazon
There’s a long theory on selling indie books just on Amazon that I won’t get into, but Amazon is one of the biggest booksellers in the world (it might be the biggest now). Reviews look good on Amazon. The more you have, the more people have read your book. After a certain amount of reviews on a single book, Amazon will start including it in the “Also Bought” section of other books.
Reviews also help for marketing purposes, you can include them on social media, inside books, as testimonials on your website. A good review will be used many times over by an indie author, especially as they start out.
3. Share the News on Socials
On my social media, I always try to share when I’m reading a new book – because it supports authors and encourages reading as a whole. Sharing on social media is a way to bring visibility to the new indie author you’re loving. We share all sorts of things on social media – funny moments, GoFundMe fundraisers, big moments in our lives. Support an author, too.
4. Join their Email List
Like the theory that indie books are better just on Amazon, there’s a theory in indie publishing that an email list is the biggest marketing tool an indie author has. That’s a direct way for an author to let you know about new releases, upcoming events, or just to talk to you as a human and get to know you (if you respond to their email).
While following an author on social media is definitely great too, in the era of “pay-to-play” where you have to pay for Facebook to show your content to people who have already liked your page, an email list skips all the views and likes and engagement nonsense you have to appease social media platforms. It’s a more personal connection and by far it’s one of the best ways to support an author.
5. Realize They’re Chasing a Dream and Love Them
You know as a kid how we all wanted to be rock stars? Well, we all grow up and get new dreams, most of them not as crazy. For most indie authors, the idea of writing full time and living off of it is like being a rock star. Possible with luck but far away from where they’re at right now. Most indie authors are doing it all, from content to social media to writing books. I treat being an indie author like a business and no one in my life truly realizes how intricate it is to plan everything I do.
Even though no one totally understands every aspect of planning, I still get excited when someone asks, because they know how important it is to me. Because this is what my life’s work is – writing books that’ll last long after I’m gone. I might be only 25 but I don’t want to wait to make it. I hustle now knowing that at some point it’ll all pay off and I’ll really make it on my work.
Most indie authors will dream the same way. Support them, even if you don’t understand every aspect. They’re chasing a life dream.