I’m an indie writer. You might have heard of me. Thanks to Amazon’s recommendation engines, the first two books in my epic fantasy series, The Dragonprince Trilogy, have sold more than 100,000 copies in less than a year.
That self-publishing success has allowed me to quit my day job, found a publishing company, and offer advice and insight to the indie writer community.
I’ve accomplished all that without spending a dime on any kind of advertising. I’ve done it without much in the way of a social media presence. I’ve done it with a good story, some good sales copy…and good friends. Now I’d like to share a brief overview of the many ways my fans have contributed to my success.
A Marketing Team
I have to give credit where it’s due. I have the assistance of a fellow writer with professional experience in PR and marketing who helps with sales text on every book I release. He is my official Marketing Team.
But I’ve got an unofficial team, too. That’s my friends and family. It’s my fans. It’s everyone who took a chance on this indie writer, decided they liked my style, and recommended me to the world.
Today, I want to talk to the fans out there. Not just my fans; any fans. I want to tell you how you can support the writers you love.
Every writer will benefit from these things, but none more than the indie writers still trying to break in.
A Checklist: How to Support Your Favorite Writers…
All these things could benefit from additional explanation, and I’ll get to that in time. Many of these things require some initial work by the author or publisher. Trust me, I’m advising all the writers to get that going, too.
But for now, in brief, here are the things you can do to support your favorite writers:
1. With Your Appreciation
- Recommend their books to your friends. (This is the easiest, most obvious, and by far the most powerful thing you can do.)
- Write reviews of the stories you’ve read. (This is probably the second most powerful, thanks to the internet.) You can share your reviews:
- Write fanmail! Tell your favorite writers that they’re your favorite writers, and I guarantee you’ll make their day.
- Request Advance Reading Copies! I’ve just completed a limited offer of ARCs of The Dragonprince’s Heir at my author page, but if you’re willing to promise a public review, many writers will be happy to provide an ARC just for asking.
2. With Your Internet Presence
- Follow them on Twitter.
- Like or subscribe to their author/book pages on Facebook.
- Visit their websites frequently or, if you have a preferred method, subscribe to the RSS feed or email updates.
- Comment on their blog posts.
- Link to their website from yours.
- Share their best posts to your friends on Facebook or Twitter.
- Share their broadcast announcements (new releases, contests, events, etc.).
3. With Your Talents
- If you find you enjoy writing reviews, start a book review blog. Make a hobby of it.
- Create and share fan art. If you really want to support a writer, you might even let him use your fan art for promotional purposes.
- Share promotional text. Writers always have a hard time coming up with good sales copy for their own work. If you’ve got the knack, write sales pitches for the books you like best. Again, if you’re feeling extra generous, you might even let the writer use your sales pitch on the book’s product page.
4. With Your Money
- Buy the books. Buy the short stories. Download free editions. Every sale counts, both in royalties and in visibility.
- Gift the books. Print books have always been a popular gift items, but most e-book stores also make it easy to send a gift copy with just an email address. These count as sales and recommendations!
- Buy the swag, if it’s available. Bumper stickers and t-shirts and high-rez, poster-sized maps of the story worlds are yours for the asking!
- Leave a tip! Some writers have donation links on their websites. It’s a good way to keep them writing.
- If your favorite writer runs any kind of charity drive or donation campaign, get involved.
- Support the publisher. Many indie writers work within small publishing groups, and you can really help your favorite author by buying other books from within that group. (You might find some great new writers, too.)
- In the same sense, support the books your favorite writer recommends.
5. With Your Time
- Add their books to lists (Best Indie Writers, Books that Make You Go, “Wow!”, Most Interesting Magic System, etc). Some popular sites that feature these kinds of lists:
- Tag their books at Amazon with relevant search terms.
If you’re not sure how to do some of these things, focus on the ones you already know. If you don’t have time to do it all, do the things you’re best at or the ones that sound most fun–or just focus on the quickest and easiest. Every item on that list is worthwhile and supportive.
And to all the authors reading this: If your fans can’t do some of these things, help them out! Make it as easy as possible, and they’ll make you a bestselling author.
What Did I Miss?
I know that’s not a complete list. I’m hoping to find time to expand on these topics in dedicated posts soon, but if you help me expand them first, those posts will be even more valuable.
Share your favorite grassroots marketing techniques in the comments below. I’d love to get them all in one place.