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Friday, May 31, 2019

Supporting Indie Authors: How to Help

As an Indie author, one of the questions I hear most often is "How can I help support Indie Authors?" Without the backing of a publisher, being an author can be super stressful. Everything falls on the shoulders of the author, which means we spend as much time on things like creating ads and arranging marketing as we do actually writing or engaging with our readers. It can be a LOT to take on, so Indie Authors are always so grateful when readers want to help.

Personally speaking, some of my greatest friendships are with readers. Without their help and friendship, I'd probably still be floundering along, trying to figure it all out myself. They're some of my biggest cheerleaders, and are always the first to jump in when I'm overwhelmed with things to do. And let's be honest…I work 12 hour shifts in a 911 Dispatch Center as a Supervisor, and have been doing mandatory overtime since December (yeah…save me!). That doesn't leave a lot of time for writing related tasks. Heck, it doesn't leave a lot of time for life related tasks.

Like me, most Indie Authors have a full-time job, a family, and a never-ending to-do list. We're writing on a budget and trying to make the most of an ever-changing, ever-confusing industry. And we are always grateful for every little bit of help and support that comes our way.

Here are a few ways you can help your favorite Indie Authors. And don't fret. Most of these don't require spending money!

    Read and Review – Reviews are a big deal. On Amazon, for instance, in order for books to go out in Amazon's marketing emails, the title has to have so many reviews. Books also have to have so many reviews in order for the author to advertise on services like BookBub. Most readers don't leave reviews, even if they loved a book. Taking a few minutes to write a quick review on sites like Amazon can be such a huge help. Reviews don't have to be long or profound, either.

    Share their Work – Do you like a book or an author? Share their work with your friends and family. Post about it on your social media accounts. Heck, donate a copy of the book to your local library or suggest it for your Book Club. Word of mouth goes a long way when you're operating on a shoestring budget!

    Buy the Book – Most Indie Authors make less than 10k a year. Releasing a new book or doing a sale can be a huge expense. Purchase a copy of their book on release day or during promotional sales. Rankings really do matter when it comes to getting books in front of readers. Grabbing a copy on release day helps give the book a boost, helping to put it in front of other readers. Grabbing a copy for a friend during a promotional sale is also a big help.

    Ask to Help – A lot of authors aren't great at asking for help. We're introverts by nature and feel bad when we ask for assistance, even when it's really needed. Ask your favorite authors how you can help them. Maybe they need members for their Book Launch Team. Maybe they need Reviewers. Heck, maybe they just need someone to distract them from setting their next book on fire. Let your favorite authors know that you're ready and willing to help, and then follow through on the tasks you took on.

    Join their Reader Groups – Reader groups are really popular right now. Ask your favorite authors about theirs and join in. Authors often post new book information, sales information, bonus content, and a ton of other stuff to these groups. They also turn to their groups when they need help with various tasks.

    Join their Mailing Lists – If your favorite author has a Mailing List, join it! Like reader groups, Mailing Lists often get all the goods! They're also a great way to keep up with new releases, sales, and events. I personally use mine to send out deals, exclusive content, freebies, sale information, and giveaways.

    Engage on Social Media – With Facebook Pages having made the turn into "pay to play", you miss most of the content authors post on their pages unless you regularly engage or they pay to "boost" their post. Even if you like their page, if you don't regularly engage, you don't see the majority of their content unless they pay to boost it. Crazy, right? Like and share their posts, leave comments, drop by and say hello…stay engaged so you see new content without your favorite authors having to shell out even more money to reach you.

    Say Hello – We love our readers and we love chatting with you, but we're not always the best at engaging. Like I mentioned earlier, we're introverts by nature, which means we sometimes need others to come to us first. Otherwise, we feel like we're bothering you. Tag us on social media, drop us an email, or send us a message. We promise we don't bite!

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