Indie authors – 5 ways you can help them

Typewriter

Since e-publishing and print on demand have become available, indie authors and boutique publishing houses have blossomed. There’s a wealth of choice and diversity that simply wouldn’t be possible with traditional publishing. But how can independent authors and publishers ever hope to compete with the big five publishers? They need your help. Yes, reader, you.
Perhaps the author is a friend or family member. Perhaps they write books with that resonate with your interests or identity. Perhaps you just really like their book. Well here’s five simple things you can do to help them succeed.

Typewriter

5) Buy books from indie authors

Obvious, I know. But each time someone buys a book (whether physical or e-book) not only does the author get paid, but the book gets pushed slowly up the rankings. On Amazon in some categories the difference between the front page of the bestsellers list and not being in the top 100 can be a handful of sales. Most people only browse the bestsellers so anything that helps your favourite author get up there is a help.

4) Be social

Most authors (including me) now have a Facebook page and twitter. Follow them and share or retweet their updates. Chat to them. Comment on their blog. Not only will this cheer the up (it’s nice to know people are listening), but it will help others to find them.

3) Leave reviews

If you enjoyed a book, review it on Amazon and Goodreads. You don’t have to enter into serious literary analysis, just put a few words about what the book is about and what you liked about it. People are far more likely to buy books with several reviews than with none.

2) Request the book from your library

Although the amount an author gets when a book is borrowed from the library is tiny, it gives thousands of people access to that book. And using your local library helps to keep your local library open. Win-win! As the Manic Street Preachers say: Libraries gave us Power!

1) Tell your friends!

If you’ve read something you think a friend will enjoy, tell them! Post about it on Facebook and Twitter! Indie authors don’t have a big advertising budget but a sincere recommendation from a reader is worth much more than a Facebook ad campaign.

Kindle Romance Books – too much choice?

Book with flowers

Publishing on Kindle is easy. Getting people to find your kindle romance books is hard. With almost 375,000 titles on Amazon.co.uk most people never look beyond the top 100 bestsellers highlighted by Amazon.

Amazon are the top e-book seller because they make it so easy to publish, but also to buy. Books are sorted into categories and themes. This can make interesting reading in itself – amnesia and gambling are romantic themes; pirates and firefighters are romantic heroes (I suspect this doesn’t tell us what women want, just what they want to read about.)

Best sellers in romance

You can check out the top 100 best selling books on Amazon. There are separate lists for free and for paid for books. For many people (myself included) this is where they will browse for books. Here’s how I pick a book: I shamelessly judge by cover, then click on something that looks good. If the description sounds appealing I’ll buy it. I do use the categories (I like historical romance books) but I don’t spend enough time looking for things that might not make it onto the top 100. I intend to change that!

kindle romance books cover example - Mighty Like a Rose

Finding kindle romance books you want to read

Goodreads has a recommend feature which recommends based on what you have already read and rated. Twitter and Facebook are good places to reach out. If there’s a book you especially enjoyed you could ask for something similar. Many authors will tweet about rival books, especially if they have a theme or target a demographic similar to that author’s work. Tumblr has many blogs that promote books with positive representations of marginalised groups.

Helping others (including me) find kindle romance books they want to read!

If you have read something you enjoyed, tell people! I have found many great books through the recommendations of friends, tweeps, internet acquaintances and colleagues. Sharing a link of Facebook or Twitter means a lot – people pay much more attention to a personal recommendation than to an ad. Writing a review on Amazon or Goodreads helps others to find books. Don’t feel you have to write your own masterpiece, a brief description of the plot and what you liked about it is plenty.

Too much choice?

Of course not! It’s wonderful to live in a world with so many books, available with a click. It just means we have to work a little harder to find the perfect book for right now.

Please, share your recommendations in the comments.