How to Show an Author You Love Them

Have you ever read a book, or a series of books, and wished you could make the whole world read them? If you haven’t, you’re not reading the right kind of books.

Stumbling on to an author, especially one who isn’t a big name bestseller, is hard. Promotions cost money and the internet is awash with books, free, cheap and otherwise. When an author publishes something, it’s often luck, money or dedicated time spent that pushes it into the public eye- and even then, it can bypass a huge number of people who would love it, if only they knew it was there.

support authors

As a reader, one of the best ways to tell an author how much you love their work is to talk about them. As lovely as it is to receive fan mail, doing it publicly can expose the book to more readers who might love it as much as you do. By spreading the word,  you’re doing the only kind of marketing that really works: word of mouth.

How often have you read a book that a friend has raved about, compared to one you bought because of a vague facebook advert? I know I put great stock in my friends recommendations, and I’m always incredibly grateful to be put onto something I love.

You can:

  • Send a tweet with a link to the book and a few words on what you thought (use a tiny.url or bit.ly to leave you more space)
  • Write a review on facebook, again with a link to the book
  • Post a selfie of you reading it! Tag the author, we love to see who’s reading our stuff
  • Leave reviews- both on sales sites like Amazon, and reader sites like Goodreads.
  • If you’re an avid reader, consider joining communities like Goodreads. It’s a great place to share the books you love and to find more
  • Got a blog? Review your favourite books! Many indie authors are willing to do interviews or appearances in return for a little exposure, especially early in their career
  • Talk to people. Talk about the books and genres you love. Swap recommendations. Buy books for your kids and tell your friends with kids which ones yours liked.
  • Read.

Are you a reader? Tell me the best book you’ve read so far this year. (This is mine– a fast paced paranormal detective series, similar in feel to the Dresden books)

Are you a writer? What’s the best way your fans can support you?

Why Buy Indie?

It’s a crazy book-buying world we live in right now. Far from the days where we’d have to travel to a store and purchase a physical product, we now have access to millions of books at the tap of a finger. For those of us who still prefer paper and ink (let’s face it, most of us do even if we’ve moved on to a hybrid of physical and e-book), we can order from websites halfway across the universe and have them delivered in a week.

Just as our purchasing options have increased, so to have authors publishing options. No longer confined to submitting to the gatekeepers and restricted to tight criteria (those that add up to maximum sales) or prohibitively expensive self-publishing costs, authors can now easily create saleable products at no cost to them other than what they choose to spend on editing and cover design.

What does this mean for the consumer? Ultimately, more choice. That urban fantasy with an ‘unsaleable’ gay protagonist? The wheelchair-bound superhero who might only appeal to a narrow audience? You’ve now got a much higher chance of that book getting to print.

Costs are dropping too.  Because Indie publishers make a much higher percentage of each book sale (and maintain their own rights, along with other benefits), most charge a lot less per book than major publishing houses- who are now also starting to drop prices a little to stay competitive.

This sounds like god news for readers, right? Well, yeah. For the most part. It comes with a drawback though- by removing the gatekeepers, any author can now publish anything. Literally anything. A one-page ‘book’ consisting of incomprehensible words can be sold as a self-published e-book if you boil it down.

This means that readers are getting caught out. They’re buying books that… well, they’re not that good. They feel ripped off, and burned, and they stop giving indie authors a shot. In some ways, it’s just not fair- not on the authors and not on the readers. Rather than ditch self-published authors completely though, there are ways to seek out excellent quality books and reduce your risk.

  1. Read the preview. Seriously, read it! If it’s riddled with errors that suggest an editor hasn’t been used, if the style or flow don’t suit your taste, if you just plain don’t like it… don’t buy it. Save your money and support someone you’ll love. The upshot is that it’ll encourage that author to write more of the stuff you got so much enjoyment out of.
  2. Unsure about the preview or it’s unavailable? Read the reviews. Read them with a critical eye- if an author has only a handful of reviews and they’re all gushing, 5 star ratings it’s entirely possible that all those reviews are from friends and family. Though Amazon is trying to crack down on those gaming the system like this, try for a book that has a lot of reviews, or a balance of insightful, less-than-five-star write ups. If a book got 3 stars because it has too much prose and you LIKE a lot of prose, that can be more useful than the traditional ‘5 stars because it’s just really good’
  3. Check the authors website and social media. This can give you a clue as to their leanings, writing voice and personality. Though this doesn’t guarantee their fiction-writing voice will be the same, it does give you a feel for the person writing it. Someone who goes on a four page tirade because they got one less-than-stellar review? Yeah, that arrogance might come through in the book as well.
  4. Read Indie Review sites. There are so many out there, both on websites and as podcasts or youtube channels. Find a couple you like and follow them. It can be a bit of trial and error- some reviewers will only be out to support friends- others will give a 5-star review to anyone who pays for it. Make sure they have a balance of good and bad with each review and that the things they rate highly are the ones you care about.
  5. Buy from a site with a refund policy. Most major book retailers like Amazon will let you return a book within a certain time if you don’t like it. Easy as that. The other option is signing up for a subscription service like Amazon Prime or Overdrive (where I am, it’s available through my local library’ that allows you to ‘borrow’ e-books for free.

Authors decide to go down the self-publishing route for many reasons. Sure, sometimes it’s because they can’t get traditionally published; but other times, it’s so they have creative control over their work, or because they have an excellent book that only has a small target audience. Sometimes it’s about money- self-publishing is fast and a prolific writer can often make a lot more by pumping out novels a few times a year under a self-publishing setup than by waiting for publishers to release books annually. As long as they’ve done the work, sourced quality editors and beta readers, invested in quality art and formatting and produced a quality piece of writing, indie authors are well worth your support.

Go on, buy an indie book today.

Hi!

My name is Amy and this is my blog. It doesn’t have much on it yet, but that’ll change.

I’m a writer. I live and breath words. I love fantasy in all it’s iterations. I’m partial to SF, though not nearly as well-read as I should be. These are also the genres I write in (if you’re looking for my non-fiction book, try here).

Talented is an Urban Fantasy that blends open-world magic with modern technology. Set in an alternate London, where the magical Talented race rules, a time had finally come when the mortals, thanks to modern technology, are on even footing. The two factions are less than friendly and the half-bloods, those with both Talented and Mortal blood, are caught in the middle.

Enter Emily, our protagonist. She runs a tea shop, catering mostly to the Otherworld denizens- you know, hobgoblins, pixies, dwarves, gnomes, kobolds and the fae. Her quiet life is rudely interrupted when she is targetted by a serial killer out for half-blood… well, blood. However, what makes hey own blood so desirable may be the very thing to stop the muderous monster.

Untitled is a space western, set around two hundred years in the future. It’s only in its infancy but starts with a rogueish mechanic thrust into a future world. He’s hunted by the government and goes on the run to the Outer Rigs, lawless planets where he can lose himself in the crowd. His only ally is SAM, a sentient computer that is as hunted as he is. Together, they learn to run, fight and make some very interesting friends.

My books will, in all likelihood, be self-published. I adore the process of being an indie author and I love supporting others who are putting out high-quality work without the assistance of a big publishing house. I’ll be reviewing indie books, interviewing self-made authors in the genre, and keeping you abreast of the latest news in geek culture.

If you don’t want to miss a beat, make sure you drop your email in the box and I’ll have my droids hand-deliver your posts, every week!