Updated: Aug 30, 2020
Hi Readers! Recently, several people have messaged me asking how they can help support me with my upcoming book release, which I greatly appreciate. I’m so thankful I have friends, family, and readers who want to support my author career and help me become a full-time author. Since the release day for my debut psychological thriller book The Long Shadow on the Stage is less than 2 weeks away, it seems like a fitting time to write this blog post. There are many ways you can help indie authors, but these are a few of the most influential things you can do.
1. Buy books written by indie authors!
This may be the most obvious way to help indie authors (and most expensive), but if you want to support indie authors, buying their books is a great way to do it because it has a direct impact. Buying indie authors’ books helps support them financially. Plus, the more book sales authors have, the better chance they have of making bestseller lists and becoming discovered by more readers.
2. Leave reviews.
If you read and purchase indie books that you enjoyed, then consider posting a review. It doesn’t have to be a particularly long or insightful review. Even just saying you liked the book or that it was good will help other readers decide if they want to buy the book. The best sites to post reviews on are Amazon, Goodreads, and any social media sites.
3. Engage with social media posts.
If you don’t have extra money but want to help indie authors, this is one of the best ways to show your support. Sharing, liking, and commenting on social media posts helps other readers discover your favorite indie authors, which could result in those authors gaining followers and potentially new readers.
4. Spread the news about indie books.
This goes along with #3, but other than sharing social media posts, you can also share a review, excerpts from the book, links to the author’s website, and post reviews on your book blog if you have one. Besides letting people know about indie authors’ books online, you can also talk about their books in person with friends, family, or anyone else you know who enjoys the genre they write.
5. Utilize the features of Goodreads.
The best thing to do on Goodreads is add reviews of books you have read. If you haven’t read any of an author’s books or they wrote a book that hasn’t been released yet, then you can add those books to your “Want to Read” or TBR shelf on Goodreads. You can also update your progress on Goodreads as you read more pages. After you have finished reading a book, you can add it to a list on Goodreads, like “Top Thrillers of 2020” if you think their book belongs on the list. Many readers, book bloggers, and Bookstagrammers use Goodreads to discover new authors and decide which books they’re going to purchase, read, and review, so doing any of these things on Goodreads could have a great influence on an indie author's success.
6. Take photos of the book.
Most people are on social media multiple times a day and love looking at other people’s photos online. With newer cellphones being produced with high-quality cameras, it’s easier than ever to take a quick photo that looks decent and there’s an entire online community obsessed with books. If you purchase a physical copy of a book, take a picture and post it on social media, especially if you have photo-loving friends, friends who love to read, or even if you just have a lot of followers. Plus, if you tag the author in your post, they will appreciate your support and may even share your photo!
7. Request the book at libraries.
If a library gets a request for a book they think their readers will enjoy, they might agree to purchase a copy for readers to check out. This is something you can do for free to support indie authors. If books by indie authors are available for check out at libraries, then this opens up the opportunity for new readers to read their books. Readers who otherwise may not have access to many books or can’t afford to buy a lot of books will be able to read it for free, which is one of the best parts of having your book available at libraries.
8. Ask for the book at indie bookstores.
Many self-published authors dream of having their books in physical bookstores. If you contact your local indie bookstore and they think the book will sell, they may agree to order it and stock it in their store, especially if multiple people have requested the book. Some people only purchase books from indie bookstores ( or it's at least their preference over Amazon), so this is another way for new readers to discover indie authors.
9. Go to their events.
This one doesn’t apply as much with the pandemic still going on, but when it’s safer to have in-person events again, going to author events is a great way to help. You can attend book launch parties, book signings, speaking engagements, and any other events indie authors host. Prior to the event, if you post about it on social media and let other people know about it, you might help draw a bigger crowd.
10. Subscribe to their newsletter.
This is such a simple thing to do, yet I think a lot of readers don’t consider the impact it could have. Authors have full control over their newsletter and their contacts, yet they don’t have complete control over social media platforms. On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., there are times when the platform will limit who sees posts or it won’t be shown to all their followers for reasons like their engagement being low. This could mean that even if someone has thousands of followers, not all of them are seeing the posts. However, if an author’s faithful readers subscribe to their newsletter, they will receive every email and every update. Most indie authors also host giveaways, send exclusive content, and might also provide freebies specifically for their newsletter subscribers, so it’s a win-win situation.
11. Reach out to the author.
Message the author or email them if you can find their contact information to let them know you enjoyed their book. Ask them follow-up questions about the plot, tell them about your favorite character, a scene you thought was written particularly well, or a great plot twist that shocked you. Authors love hearing from their readers, so this is a nice way to make their day. On the other hand, please don’t message authors or tag them in any posts with a bad review if you didn’t like their book. This is just rude and uncalled for.
These are just a few of the ways you can support indie authors. If you have other suggestions, let me know. I would love to hear them. Try out a few things on the list to support your favorite indie authors!