Note: these same methods can absolutely be used to support your favorite traditionally published authors as well.
But I’d like to focus on indie authors for a moment because in many cases, a self-published (aka indie) author is usually running the show on their own. They don’t have an agent or publishing house backing their marketing efforts. Sometimes indie authors have a strong network of friends, family, and fans to help, but more often than not, a self-published author is trying to juggle everything with their own two hands, oftentimes while working a full-time job as well.
That means the author is responsible for writing the book; hiring an editor and, if necessary, a graphic designer and formatter (unless they’re also doing that themselves); registering the book with the Library of Congress, getting an ISBN set up; promoting preorders; inputting all of the book’s info and uploading it through the printing/distributing service; contacting book reviewers; reaching out to bookstores and libraries; setting up signing events; and basically managing every aspect of the creation and marketing process.
That’s A LOT of work!
And that’s exactly why indie authors can use all the help they can get when it comes to promoting their books.
Here are five ways you can show your support without having to spend a single penny.
1. Write a Book Review
Readers don’t often realize just how important their book reviews are. 89% of consumers worldwide will read product reviews before making a purchase. Books are no different.
Reviews help readers, bookstores, and libraries determine whether or not a book is worth the investment. When books have 0 or a small handful of reviews, that’s a red flag that tells readers it isn’t getting much engagement from its audience and probably won’t be worth their time.
On the other hand, books that have a healthy amount of good reviews are perceived more positively, just like any other ecommerce product. Your review may not seem like much, but it can actually help to drive sales, not to mention provide validation and excitement for the author.
2. Share on Social Media
Chances are, the author will be posting updates and reviews on social media. It takes you less than a minute to like and share a post, and by doing so, you’re broadening the author’s reach to your own network of friends who may be interested.
It also helps if you encourage your friends to share, too! Posting about a book and saying, “Please share” drastically increases the chances of your network stepping up and sharing. Seriously, you’d be surprised how beneficial this kind of organic cascade effect can have!
3. Recommend the Book to a Friend
Just as organic social media marketing can act as a springboard to increase an indie author’s exposure, you’d be surprised how far word-of-mouth marketing can reach.
You mention the book to a friend, who buys a copy and reads it, then loans it to another friend, who enjoys it enough to buy a copy for her son, who reads it in class where other students see it and ask what he’s reading, and the ripple continues to expand outward and reach more and more potential readers.
One recommendation to the right person has the potential to spark a domino effect.
4. Reserve a Copy at Your Library
There’s a good chance an indie book won’t be at the library. HOWEVER, by requesting the book, you’re prompting the library to order a copy.
Libraries order books that are in demand. Having you, an average local reader, reach out and ask for the book is so much more impactful than the author walking in, setting the book on the counter, and saying, “Please order a copy of my book.”
Seriously, it doesn’t cost you anything except a phone call, email, or trip to the library. You can ask a friend or two to also reach out and ask for the book. The higher the demand, the more likely the library is to order one or more copies for their shelf.
5. Ask Your Local Bookstore(s) to Carry the Book
The same principle applies to bookstores. You walking in and saying, “I’m looking for this book, can you help me?” carries much more weight than the author approaching the bookstore and going through a sales pitch on why the store should carry their book.
It’s all about demand. Indie authors spend so much time juggling the writing, editing, publishing, and marketing of their books (usually on top of “day job” responsibilities as well) that they simply don’t have time to approach bookstores individually, and even when they do, it’s hard to convince a bookstore to carry a book that doesn’t seem to have much demand outside of the author’s request.
You as a regular reader and book enthusiast have so much more power than you realize!
As noted at the beginning, these methods are effective to support any author, whether they’re independently or traditionally published. Show your favorite authors some love! 🖤
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