How To Support Your Favorite Indie Authors

There's a misconception about published authors that continues to linger, that once a writer is published, they've made it; they must be rolling in money. It's a very weird misconception to me, but I can kind of understand it, since there's a lot of mystery surrounding books and what goes into publishing them.

Some authors make it big. They're the names you hear all the time: Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, just to name a very small few, but they're the exception to the rule. As much as a lot of us would like to, we can't yet quit our day jobs to write full time.

I had someone send me a message once, saying they were intimidated by me because I had a book published, and I sat there like, ...what? For me, publishing a book was no different than posting a piece of fanfiction online; it just took a little more time and effort, and a small amount of money, and I was charging for it.

I have three books out now, and I'm certainly not rolling in money. I make enough each month for what amounts to getting lunch at, say, Panda Express. Sometimes it's less, sometimes, if I'm lucky, it's more. While I understand that it takes time, and a significant backlist, to become even moderately successful, sometimes I wish I had a little more support in the interim. (Especially now, since it's going to be a very long time before Crimson Hollow is ready to publish.)

So here's a small list of ways you can support your favorite indie authors (not all of which require spending money, I promise).

  • First, and most obviously: buy their books. By and large, indie authors price their ebooks much cheaper than "traditional" publishers do, usually between 99 cents and $3.99, though occasionally they're higher. I personally don't believe that anybody should have to pay as much for a digital copy as they do for a print copy.
  • If you buy a paperback version, encourage people to buy their own copy, rather than constantly lending it out. I've lost a lot of sales because people buy a print copy of my book, and then loan it out to 20 of their friends. Print copies are more costly than ebooks, but usually don't cost any more than a paperback of a book that's been published by a traditional publisher.
  • Already bought their books? That's awesome! Leave reviews. Some authors don't read their reviews, but some do (myself, for example), and I personally thrive on feedback. It encourages me to keep going when I know what people like about my books, and sometimes what they don't like, so I know what to improve on for the next one. But reviews are also helpful for potential new readers. The more reviews something has, the more likely it is that someone else will want to buy it. Your review doesn't have to be an essay. Just point out what you liked about the book (and what you didn't like, if it's necessary, but please be kind), and try not to spoil major plot points for future readers.
  • You've bought all their books, and left reviews? Fantastic! Now tell people about the books. To me, this is the most important thing; word-of-mouth is the greatest promotional resource for an indie author. Talk about the book on Facebook. Recommend it to people who are looking for something in that genre. Share tweets and posts by the author. When people know about our books, that increases our sales potential exponentially.
  • Want to talk directly to the author? Go for it! Most have a Twitter or Facebook page, and most are more than happy to talk to readers. For me, it's always nice to engage with the people who enjoy my books, and it makes me feel like I have an actual connection with my readers.
  • Finally, if you can, support your favorite authors monetarily. I know money is tight for everyone these days, but even just a few extra bucks a month can go a long way. If the author has a Ko-fi page, or something similar, send them a little something when you can. If you want to provide ongoing support, see if the author has a Patreon.
Most indie authors are a one-person business. We are our own agent, publicist, marketer, and sometimes cover designer and editor. We wear a lot of hats, but at the end of the day, a lot of us have limited reach, and that's where you, the reader, come in. You can help us expand our reach, and get our name out there.

And if you've made it to the bottom of this post, here's a few links of my own for you to check out, if you're so inclined ;)


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