Wednesday 26 March 2014

How Can You Help Indie Authors?

The advent of the e-book and the various online services has empowered authors, especially indie authors to put their work out for public consumption. Being an author has never been an easy task (although it is a rewarding and enjoyable one), but releasing as an indie author requires more than the ability to write a good story, you also have to fill all the other roles normally provided by the publishing house. There's a lot to be said for the responsibilities for indie authors when they release their work and that's a topic I'll cover in a future post, for today I want to look at the power of readers in supporting an indie author's books.

The new formats may have empowered authors, but they have also given readers a lot of power as well. An author can market their book, however my own experience is that word of mouth and direct interaction with readers provides the bulk of my sales. I was a reader long before I became a writer and there is a joy in reading a good book, a joy that many others share. By sharing your discovery of a fine read, you not only pass on what you've found, you also help the author as well - a win for all involved.

So you've just read a good book what can you do? I'm quite fortunate in that I have a few fans who help make others aware of my books - one in particular (thanks Frenchie!) go above and beyond in this regard. I've put together some quick and easy suggestions for how they have helped me and also what I do when I've read a good book.

Tell your friends

It seems obvious but as I've mentioned already this is how I received most of my sales and gained some wonderful readers. So when you've finished a good book then tell your friends, tell your family, post about it on your blog, or on Facebook, twitter or other social media.

Post a review

This is the biggie, all authors rely on good reviews, indie authors are especially reliant on reviews to help get the word out that their book is worth reading. There's a ton of places to post reviews, the most important being on the channel you've bought the book from (such as Amazon, Smashwords, Nook etc). There's also dedicated sites like Goodreads and LibraryThing that support reviews and most forums have a thread for books that people have just read.

Some people are put off leaving reviews as they think it takes too much time, this shouldn't be the case though. You don't have to write an essay, just a few sentences about what you liked and didn't like (a review should be honest and sometimes leaving some constructive critisism can be helpful). We authors also enjoy reading a good review, and it also gives us a bit of news that we can shout out about.

Reviews can also make great content for your blog, Facebook page or whatever.

Like other reviews

When you're adding a review take a quick look at reviews that other readers have posted, if you agree with them then give the review a like, or mark them as helpful. This lets other readers know that their opinions are valued and helps reinforce your own review, or opinion.

Social Media

I've already mentioned social media when telling your friends, there are other ways of course as well. You can follow your favourite authors and help them spread any good news by blogging, liking and sharing. Why not drop them a friend request or a direct follow and get to know them a bit better?

So there we have four simple ways that readers can help writers, but the most important thing as a reader is finding people with similar tastes so you can share the books you love and if that helps an author out as well then everyone's a winner!


  1. Very true, Michael. Hugh Howey's book, Wool, came from nowhere to be one of 2013's best selling SFF books, all because fans spread the word.

    There's a kickback for the readers, too. A well-reviewed writer... is a happy writer... is productive writer. If fans want to see sequels, series, and new adventures then supporting their favourite writers is the best way to do it. We feel encouraged, motivated, and re-enthused about what we write about.

  2. Thank you Michael, for the nice comment. It is a pleasure to be a self appointed PR to someone who writes as beautifully as you do. Kind regards.

    1. No problem, hearing people enjoy your work is music to an author's ears :-)