There are a lot of risks associated with being an independent author, but here’s the main one: all of your support comes from your readers, your fans, your community.
If you’re fortunate you might be able to hire other people to help you, and create a team much like in traditional publishing. But for most indie authors, this isn’t a reality. You, the readers, are all of our support. So, how can you support your favourite independent authors?
Today, let’s go over five categories of support that you can show your beloved authors.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way straight out of the gate, shall we?
Buy their books. Read their books.
Okay, now that’s done, remember that these authors you love probably aren’t just producing major publications like books. Do they publish articles? Run a blog? Submit poetry to places? There’s almost certainly more content of theirs out there.
If you love their writing, don’t miss out on a bit of it.
Outside of buying an author’s publications, there are a few more ways to make your support financial if you are able and willing to do so. I want to emphasise that last point: there is not an author out there who would want you to support them at the expense of your own wellbeing, including financial.
Your author might have a Patreon, or a donation link (like a Paypal.me). They may at times seek to crowdfund aspects of their work – it’s not uncommon now for authors to crowdfund entire books. In fact, there are some websites – like Unbound – that are specially designed for crowdfunding books.
It’s a harsh reality of being an author publisher that things are expensive. Your money will help them publish more books, and it will help them make a living out of what they do.
Word of Mouth
The most powerful form of recommendation, and the most difficult to control as a content creator. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have a love-hate relationship with word of mouth. It’s incredibly effective and beyond continuing to make things, there’s not much you can do about it.
So this is a really good way for you to show your support. But word of mouth doesn’t just mean telling your friends that you just read this amazing book.
It can also be sharing or retweeting their posts, leaving reviews on Amazon or other websites, or buying friends and family their book as gifts. Doing this thoughtfully and generously makes a huge difference to them, because it’s all something they cannot produce themselves.
Earlier this week I touched on the isolation that indie authors, and other self-employed people often suffer. This is something that you can help them fight: with a reminder that you are present.
Following authors on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, anywhere they are present is the first step. Then, don’t be afraid to be present! Like their posts, comment on their posts, just be there with them as often as you can.
The important thing with this is to be constant. It’s easy to see things and enjoy them, but scroll on past. Don’t let them forget for a second that you exist and are there and love them.
Following on from that, a related way to help: engage.
Show your support by making art, writing fanfiction (assuming they are pro-fanfiction), being a present and active part of their community. There are so many ways to do this, and I’m sure you can think of a lot more than I’ve mentioned here!
All support is putting effort in, but engagement is about making it clear that you’ve gone above and beyond to celebrate your authors and their work. I bet you even the most prolific and successful authors remember the first time someone made art of their characters.
Whatever you decide to do to support your favourite indie authors, remember the most important thing about it: everything you do, whether it’s a like on a post or a monthly donation, will bring them joy. Because there is nothing they are more afraid of than not being recognised.
If you’re feeling inspired by this and want to show your support for my own work, you can check out this list of links to the various places where you can follow and support me.