Kermit the Frog would have you believe that being green is the hardest thing to be, but I’m guessing he hasn’t tried going it alone as an indie author. He just might change his tune if he did.
There are many perks to self-publishing—You can write the story of your heart without trying to make it fit into what a publisher is currently buying or into a certain set of rules. You don’t have to follow trends. You can publish books at any speed you wish. You can work in multiple genres, set your prices, and decide when your books will go on sale so they can be used to bolster your new releases.
Being an indie author has so many positives, but it has its many downsides as well. Probably the most difficult one to overcome is the lack of marketing power behind your book (other than you and your one author revolution) which makes discoverability sometimes almost impossible—or at least some days it feels that way.
Discoverability is how people find your book. Within the traditional publishing industry discoverability can come through books on bookstore shelves, tours the author is sent on (be it virtual tours or physical ones), the book will appear in catalogues, and copies (usually a lot) will be given away to reviewers at the expense of the publishing house. The word-of-mouth that comes from these reviewers is priceless and that’s what has been found to drive most book sales.
For an indie author to provide enough review copies to make enough buzz to sell big, the author would probably have to go into debt or take out a large loan just to purchase all the books and then pay to mail them all out. It’s just not feasible for most of us. There is the financial aspect, as well as simply tracking down bloggers and reviewers with influence who will agree to read our work. Even if you can give out books for people to review, it’s an uphill battle. Know what the percentage is of people who actually go on to review a book they’ve promised to review? Twenty percent. That’s it (Ouch! Right?).
This is where you can step in and become an indie author’s hero. If you read a book and decide you liked it there are five easy things that don’t take a lot of time that could make a huge impact for that writer’s career.
- Write a review for the book and put it on Amazon and GoodReads. I say those two, because they are the key places book lovers are mostly going to look for their book recommendations. Reviews are gold to authors. And remember, a review doesn’t have to be a long, elegantly written book report. Most of the best ones are 2-3 lines. Short and sweet—just state why you liked it (if you want to write a long one, that’s great! just don’t let the fear that it must be long and scholarly or else it’s not of worth stop you from writing one).
- Share a link to the book on your social media outlets. Again, short and sweet always wins here. Tell people you read the book and liked it and share the Amazon link. If you know the author, make sure to tag them in your post.
- Tell your friends. Research has proven that this is the number one way that books get sold. If you know someone who might like the book you read, tell them.
- Subscribe to the author's newsletter. If you really enjoyed the book, go to the author’s website and sign up to receive their newsletter. Most indie authors have one and they usually share exclusive contests and build street teams through their subscribers. Many of us give advance copies of our books that way.
- Ask your librarian to order a copy for your library so others can read it and discover that author.
How do you discover most of the books that you read? Do you usually write reviews or talk books with your friends, why or why not? What other ways can we share the love about a book that we liked?
5 easy ways to become an indie author's best friend - via @AuthorKeller #selfpub #publishing #bookreview (Click to Tweet)
How readers can be superheroes and help books get discovered #selfpub #publishing #amreading with @AuthorKeller (Click to Tweet)
Jessica Keller holds degrees in both Communications and Biblical Studies. She is multi-published in both Young Adult Fiction and Inspirational Romance and has 100+ magazine and newspaper articles to her name. Her latest Indie release is a Young Adult Fantasy - Saving Yesterday. You can find her at www.JessicaKellerBooks.com, on Twitter @AuthorKeller, or on her Facebook Author Page. She lives in the Midwest with her amazing husband and very giggly daughter.