How to Support your Favorite Indie Authors
A few hints from Betsy Graziani Fasbinder
(author of Fire & Water: a Novel)
Promoting a book is almost as hard as writing one. Publishers only promote their high-profile authors. Lesser known authors shoulder the expense themselves. You can help the cause of good books and authors you love, with little or no money and very little time. If you genuinely enjoy a book and want to support the author, here’s how:
- Friend and befriend: Check out and “like” fan pages on Facebook, author profiles on Goodreads, and Amazon and other online booksellers, as well as LinkedIn. The small task of “friending”, “liking”, “endorsing”, or “following” seems trivial, but it helps indie authors and their books become visible.
- It takes a village to promote a book: A book becomes a commercial success when people tell others about it. If you enjoy a book, tell friends. Use your own social media outlets to mention and link to the book or the author. Ask your local bookstores and libraries if they’d consider stocking the book because you know others will enjoy it. Invite your book club to read an indie. (Lots of authors will visit book clubs to chat about their book either live or via Skype). Giving indie books as gifts is another way to share the love.
- Help make connections: Authors will often have giveaway download periods or big discount days on Amazon and other sites. This is essentially free advertising. If you hear about these, tell friends and they can get a free or very discounted book. If you want to go the extra mile, download the freebie yourself (even if you have the book). If you are in the market for another book of a similar genre purchase that one at the same time. This couples the indie book with the established book. The two books become linked and automatically promoted by the engines that do such things on that site. Magic!
- Offer endorsements or reviews: Write an honest, positive review on Amazon, Goodreads, or other online retailers. This is how a book grows legs. A positive review or endorsement is more valuable to the author than a single sale because it makes the book visible. Even a sentence or two is a giant help. Tip: Don’t refer to the author by her first name in the review. Sounds like you’re her mom or dad!
- Subscribe to and interact with writers’ blogs and tweets: Blogs and tweets are another free (other than the labor) way for authors to gain visibility. Good blogs don’t just hawk books. They provide information, inspiration, or entertainment for the reader with occasional information about a book launch or event. (Bad blogs are just ads.) Follow, like, friend, endorse…you’re getting the theme here.
- Show up and bring friends: Attend book events for authors. Bring friends. The support means a lot. Readings and book events almost always free. They benefit the author, the bookstore or coffee house that’s hosting, and can actually be a fun way to spend an hour or so.