How To Support Your Favorite Indie Authors
Independent (or "indie") authors are authors whose books are published by a small press, or even self-published. Because their work is not distributed and marketed by one of the "Big 5" U.S. publishers, many talented indie authors struggle to bring their wonderful books out of obscurity and into the public eye, where they belong.
If you've read a noteworthy, independently published book, don't just keep it to yourself! You, as an honest and objective reader, have the power to spread the word - or at the very least, make that author's day. The following is a list of easy ways you can support your favorite indie authors, today.
1. Leave an Honest Amazon Customer Review
If you own a Kindle e-reader or app, chances are, you've been prompted to review every e-book you finish.
Amazon customer reviews are oh-so-important to independently published authors. The more honest, balanced reviews a book has by unbiased and insightful readers, the higher the chances of that book being seen by potential new readers who conduct Amazon searches. It not only helps the author collect feedback on their work and gain visibility, but assists other readers in deciding whether to read the book. Sometimes one enthusiastic four- or five-star review is all it takes to motivate another reader to check it out.
Your Amazon review doesn't have to be long and extensive. If you're not sure what to include, consider adding some details, such as how you found the book, why you decided to read it, what it was about (in a nutshell), how it made you feel, and what types of readers you'd recommend it to.
2. Cross-Post Your Review onto Other Reading Sites
While Amazon reviews are the best kind for indie authors whose predominant market is the Kindle Store, don't stop there! It is perfectly acceptable - and extremely helpful to your favorite authors and small publishers - to copy the review you left on Amazon and paste it elsewhere, such as on your blog, Goodreads, and/or Barnes & Noble's website. This is called "cross-posting." Bloggers commonly cross-post not just for the authors' benefits, but to gain visibility for their blogs. While most review sites do not permit external links embedded in the reviews, you are allowed to cite the name of your blog, in plain text, as the source.
If you decide to use Goodreads, be sure to check if the author is a certified "Goodreads Author," and Follow them on the site! It's a great way to connect. You can see what they're reading, ask a question on their profile page, or even send them a message.
3. "Like" the Author on Facebook
See if the author has a Facebook page, and if he or she does, "Like" it. It's a two-way win! I think I can safely speak for every indie author when I say it's a joy to login to new "Likes" and find that readers are discovering me. As for readers, they benefit by being privy to the author's latest news, including new releases, cover reveals, and fun giveaways. Who knows - you can even win a free copy of their next book! I know my publisher and I hold giveaways on our Facebook pages all the time.
And speaking of small publishers, while you're at it, "Like" the author's publisher (if they have one) on Facebook, too. Your chances of winning free stuff increases, so why not? :-)
4. Tweet About It!
Twitter is full of passionate readers, writers, publishers and bloggers. You won't find a more widespread community in which to discover book sales, news, reviews, and interesting articles about literature. If you have an account, why not send a tweet about the book you've just read?
You can add a link to your review (if you wrote one), send a brief word of 'bravo' to the author, or simply share with the world what you've read. Remember to @-reply the author's Twitter handle. You may need to visit their website, blog or Facebook page to find out what it is. You can even include an @-reply to the small press they write for, too - but that's optional.
Popular hashtags include #amreading, #bookreviews, and #indieauthor. Better yet, if you post on a Friday, be sure to mark it #FridayReads! Your tweet might even get favorited and Retweeted by the author. If you're interested in more from the author, be sure to Follow them and their publisher.
5. Subscribe to Their Blog or Newsletter
If you visit your favorite author's blog or website, you'll probably come across the option to "subscribe." Enter your email address and click that subscribe button! If you aren't hot on social media, and maybe don't have accounts on Facebook or Twitter, then email subscriptions are a wonderful way of ensuring you don't miss out on that author's new book releases and announcements.
Subscribers help indie authors ascertain that folks are reading and finding them. It also allows them to reach readers who might not have social media accounts. With an email subscription, you can receive the author's new blog posts or newsletters directly in your email inbox, without having to browse the Internet or check bookmarked sites in search of news. Any emails you receive as a subscriber will likely provide convenient links for you to check out or pre-order their upcoming titles. You can even forward the email to friends and relatives, to help spread the word.
It ought to be noted that legitimate subscription services will never share or sell your email address. Most likely, the author won't even be able to see any data you enter. In addition, every email you receive should give you the clear and visible option to unsubscribe. So, subscribing is generally safe. But, if you have questions or concerns about joining an email list, you can always contact the author or webmaster.
6. Send Fan Mail
Maybe aside from a glowing public review, nothing beats sending the author a good, ol'-fashioned personal email! Whenever I read a book I love, I make it a point to send the author fan mail. Sometimes I hear back; sometimes I don't.
If you email an indie author to express how much you enjoyed their book, chances are, you'll receive a thrilled reply. All authors deeply appreciate thoughtful readers taking the time to tell them how their work has been effective. Really - it's what keeps us going. One positive email from a complete stranger is motivation enough for me to write a whole new book. So, pass along the good karma! If a writer provided you several hours or days of enlightenment or entertainment, be sure to drop them a line and let them know.
7. Tell Your Friends
If you're passionate about the indie books you're reading, recommend them to your bookworm buddies. Choose them for your book club, suggest them at your local library, and tell your friends, teachers and family members. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth!
As readers, you hold the key to unlocking new worlds of literature for those who might otherwise have never heard of the book, because it wasn't released by one of the few mainstream names in publishing. Ensure your friends don't miss out on a great new discovery in reading. There are literally thousands of small presses out there, with books that are just as exciting, intriguing and original as the rest.
Thanks for being a supportive reader, and for making a difference in your literary community!
Indie Authors: Be sure to share this Hub with your readers!
How do you discover indie books?
© 2015 CK Brooke