But for the indie author, there are days when it just isn't so bright. We go it alone, wear an incredible amount of hats, and then... *crickets chirping*. It's hard, especially when you've worked tirelessly for something to come to fruition. Every single comment we get, every single good review or reader letting us know what they thought about our book is an amazing, super-duper awesome moment for us. It's encouragement, plain and simple, and it helps us more than I could say.
So today, I thought I'd do a post about what you can do to help and encourage indie authors! Whether you are published yourself, a developing writer, or a reader, you can definitely take some tips here. ;) Most of the things you can do to help out an indie author won't take but a minute of your time, but the benefits are so great.
Before I get into the tips for you all, though, I'd like to take a minute and spotlight another indie author Amanda Tero. You might have heard me talking about some of her books before, but she just recently released the second book in a series which I was privileged to read an ARC (advanced reader copy) of. The Secret Slipper is a five-star story in my opinion, and perfect for younger girls in particular. And guess what? I did a fun little book review vlog about it which you can watch!
Take a minute to hop on over to her blog too at With A Joyful Noise and give Amanda some love. :D If you're interested in a signed paperback copy, be sure to fill out the form for her to send them directly to you! And if you'd rather get from Amazon, here are the links: Secret Slipper and Befriending the Beast. Oh, and one more thing... if you like booktube channels, check out Amanda's YouTube, too. :)
So let's get into some tips.
- Purchase Books. Ok, this one is kind of a no-brainer. But seriously, do a nice turn and buy a copy of the author's books. I'm all for book sales and freebies, believe me, but at the same time, lets not forget the value of things. Not only did someone pour in hours of their time, lots of love (and probably tears), and some quantity of money so you could have in return a lovely book, but as an indie author the only payback we get in return is a percentage of the selling price. Money is definitely not everything, but when you buy an indie author's books, it can at least help provide them with the needed funds to publish the next one.
- Leave Reviews. Whether it's on Amazon or Goodreads or both (you deserve some chocolate if so, lol) Reviews can mean everything. Not only is it super great to read as an author, but it can really help potential readers know whether they should get the book or not. We all check reviews, and the more there are, the better. People trust readers like you to give them an honest opinion, and if you enjoyed a book, consider it sharing the love and write up a quick review. It's not hard. A simple star rating and stating what you liked about the book works. (And as a side note: Amazon rankings rely heavily on reviews...so if there are few reviews, there's hardly any visibility for the book in Amazon's huge marketplace. Reviews = not only more credibility to possible new readers, but also more visibility to help them find the book in the first place).
- Follow Blogs or Social Media. Your favorite indie author has a blog? Go sign up for their email list! YouTube channel? Subscribe! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter? If you're on the platform, go follow them, or like their page, or whatever. Basically when you do this you're saying "I support you", which is really encouraging. Besides that, though, you'll have a better chance of keeping up with them and their upcoming books, new releases, and maybe even lots of fun extras like behind the scenes or giveaways or free stories. You'll also get a chance to interact with the author, learn more about them and who knows...maybe y'all will become best buds. ;)
- Share with Friends. If you liked a book, tell your friends or share about it with someone you think would enjoy it too. We do it with movies, songs, articles, restaurants, businesses...so let's do it with books too. :D You might end up recommending someone their new favorite author, and they might forever be grateful to you! lol
- Let the Author Know You Liked the Book. In the days of the internet, there's really no excuse for not doing this. If you liked the book, tell them! You probably appreciate it when folks let you know they enjoyed something you created. "Hey Madge I loved your guitar playing" is so much better than Madge sitting at home strumming sadly and wondering if any of the fifty seven people who heard her play cared. Don't let down the Madge's of the world.
- Support Them. Ooh, the tricky part that involves shiny gold coins...or Paypal donations or whatever. I realize this is definitely a weird thing to talk about. It's just awkward. But take a deep breath and stay with me. ;) Remember back up at point one, where I talked a little bit about money not being everything, and if you buy the book you're essentially helping them with the funds for the next one to be published (in a direct or roundabout way)? Yep. Well, it's true...but also not. You see, the plain facts are that publishing can get really expensive. Even when you go as cheap as you possibly can, forgoing the hiring of outside help of any kind and attempting everything yourself (aka me with my first book), you're still going to have to pay for random pesky things like book ISBN numbers and Copyrights and stuff. And when you factor in cover design, interior and ebook formatting, editing, proofreading, marketing expenses, etc etc etc... it can get pretty steep for an indie even when he/she sticks to the lowest pricings on stuff and does as much as he/she can him/herself. Just being honest here...you tend to put in more money then you ever get out of it. And like I said, money isn't the biggest issue here--not at all. But if you want to keep getting books from your favorite indie authors, don't be afraid to pitch in and throw your pennies into the pile. Use their services, donate to their project funding, and if you can't do any of that--consider praying for them and sending encouraging moral support. :D
- Be Ready to Try New Indie Authors. Never heard of this person before? Don't be afraid to try them. Yes, there are (for sure) some unprofessional self-published books out there. I'm not saying get a novel blindly. But if you're hearing good things about an indie author from some reliable sources, or reviews on the book's Amazon page are looking pretty good-- go for it! We readers do it in bookstores all the time-- so go ahead and pick up a new indie author.
- If You See Mistakes... Tell them nicely, y'all. But tell them. We want to know so we can fix things if need be, but be nice about it. Indie authors don't have a huge team to look out for errors, so we're doing the best we can in various circumstances. After all that hard work, we certainly don't want typos or inconsistencies, but once it's released we're starting to take a breather again, so-- just remember common courtesy, and point out any mistakes with a kind heart.
That wraps up my tips for how to help indie authors!
Question of the Day: Do you have any tips you would add to this list? Are you an indie author? If so, what has really been a help or an encouragement to you?
Don't forget to check out Amanda's book The Secret Slipper! (link to Amazon) I recommend getting the first book Befriending the Beast (link) too so you can read them in order--it's nicer that way. ;) Plus both books are really sweet and well-written, with great themes throughout it.
Well that's all, folks! :P You all have a lovely day!