How Do I Support Indie Authors?
These days, there are a lot of ways to publish a book. The hard work of indie publishers, combined with self-publishing sites, have cleared the road to publication for a lot of talented authors, including those in marginalized communities, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get the attention of the elite traditional publishers. But for every talented author who puts out a great book, there are a hundred other people using this opportunity to publish anything they want, good or not. Even the best books and indie authors can be lost in the sea of noise, never finding their audience, never getting the attention they deserve.
If you’ve ever met an indie author in person, odds are they are exhausted. They’ve probably been working on a whole suite of marketing efforts for months, using all their mental energy, their time, their money, their social connections, and their best ideas to get even just one more share, one more review, one more book order.
If you find a book or author you love, it’s important to do what you can to support them. In fact, if you want them to survive their marketing efforts long enough to publish more books, you have to support them.
Can’t afford to buy copies of their book to hand out to everyone you know? No problem. No matter what resources are available to you, there are lots of ways you can support indie authors.
Leave them a 5-star review (free)
This is one of the absolute best things you can do for an indie author, and it costs you zero dollars (and less than five minutes). Find their title on Amazon, Goodreads, Storygraph, etc., give them five stars, and leave a few words about why you like the book. Easy peasy.
Like/follow their social media accounts (free)
Every modern author should have a social media account, because it’s a stellar way to grow and communicate with their audience. Help them by liking, following, subscribing, and sharing that account they’ve worked so hard to create and maintain (even if it’s not a great account quite yet!).
Comment/share/save their social media posts (free)
Thanks to that little thing called the algorithm, the more interaction (likes and comments) a post gets on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., the more that post is shared to new audiences. Follow indie authors, but more than that, leave comments and likes on their posts! It makes a big difference.
Add their book to your TBR (free)
Pre- and post-publication book buzz from readers on the internet is one of the strongest forms of book marketing possible. Sites like Goodreads or—our favorite—Storygraph are specifically made for readers to track and share the books they’re most excited about. If you add a book to your “Want to Read” list or leave it a positive review, other readers will see and take note of that praise.
Post about their book on your own socials. (free)
You have friends on your social media accounts who don’t know the indie author you love so much. Posting about that author to your network is like free advertising to people they may have never been able to reach otherwise. The vast reading communities on Instagram and TikTok are proof that readers love to hear recommendations from other readers. Even if you have a small network, your post will reach at least one person, and that means everything to an indie author.
Lend their book to a friend. (free ish)
No matter how the times change, the strongest, most-trusted book recommendations is still a book loan from a friend. Share your copy of the book with other readers who will love it. And when they love it too, ask them to leave a 5-star review or do any of these other suggestions too! Again, if you want your favorite author to keep writing, you gotta help their audience grow!
Ask for their book for your birthday/holiday gift. (free to you)
If you can’t buy the book yourself, add it to your birthday or holiday wish list. That way you get a copy of the book you love, and the author gets another book sale. It’s a win-win!
Attend an author event (some are even virtual!). (often free)
When an indie author makes the effort to be a part of a book signing, talk, or reading, whether in person or virtually, it takes a lot of planning, investment, and nerves. Writers are often introverts who force themselves to be social for the sake of their book, so having a supportive fan like you in the audience means the world to them. Many events these days are virtual, and most are free, so the cost to you is minimal.
Recommend the book for your next book club read. (free ish)
Recommending a book to a friend is a great way to promote it, but recommending it to an entire group of friends who will literally purchase and read that book together? Now that’s supporting an indie author in a big way.
Write the author a nice message. (free)
Indie authors are tired and overwhelmed and constantly doubt their book’s worth. Send them a message of support and gratitude for making a piece of art that affected your life in some positive way. It will mean more to them than you can know.
Buy their books. (paid)
Authors often offer limited-time-only discounts on their book so more affordable people have the opportunity to purchase it. It can cost a lot of money to market their book, so of course they’d like to make that money back, but the most important thing is to get their book to those who will love and appreciate it.
If you can afford to buy their book, do it. Do it do it do it. Do it! And do your best to get it straight from them or their publisher, instead of through Amazon or other third-party sites. If you can afford to buy it from them at full price, girl, ya gotta. Whatever level of affordability makes sense to you, go for it. You can’t begin to imagine what a single book order means to an indie author (unless you’re an author yourself).
The point is to do what you can in whatever way you can. It may be easier these days to publish a book, but it is not easy to be an author. If someone sacrifices their time and money to write a book that makes your life better, repay them by doing at least three things to support them. You won’t regret it!
written by Mary-Peyton Crook
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