What does indie author mean?
When I’m talking with someone and they ask me, “What do you do now?”
I say “I’m an indie author.” Then there’s a moment of silence.
Finally, they ask, “What’s that?”
Generally, I say something like, “You know those big publishing houses, like McGraw-Hill or Simon and Schuster? Well, an indie author not only writes a book, but they do all that stuff the big houses do, too.”
One of the reasons I’ve been blogging My Weird Indie Publishing Project is to educate readers as well as to share the process with beginning authors. A kind of “from the trenches” perspective by one who’s doing it. But this quote from the Indie Book Collective’s web page says it better:
Just as the movie industry was revolutionized by the ‘Indie’ movement, filmmakers with passion and a unique vision, the publishing industry is seeing the same move towards authors creating, publishing, and marketing their own work. Publishing houses are not buying new authors like they used to. Developing new talent simply isn’t profitable for them so new voices aren’t being ‘heard.’
The most difficult part of being an author is the issue of discoverability — how to get your book in front of readers. Once upon a time… big houses used to do all the marketing. Now they don’t. (We’ll talk about that another time.)
This post is intended to educate readers so they can participate in the process and get more of the books they like to read. If you read a book and like it, then here’s what you can do to get the author to write more books like it!
1. Buy their books!
Well, of course! But did you know that because “indie” authors are independent from traditional big publishing houses, they can control the prices of their eBooks? Moreover, while big-house publishers have a large corporation to support, the indie author, who essentially becomes his own publisher, is free to offer amazing deals like indie group “blowouts” where all authors books have been reduced to $.99!
2. Spread the word!
If you like something, you want to tell others, right? It’s one of our favorite things to talk about–the “good deal,” great product, something that actually does what it’s supposed to do, and the entertaining film or book we just experienced. Because my sister used to talk about what she read, I was introduced to authors I might never have read before–and they were big-house authors!
Imagine the indie author’s struggle to get noticed in the flood of more than 291,900 books published annually (Bowker.com, 2011), or the more than one million books now on Amazon! Would you like competing in those odds? Pro football has less competition than an indie author!
But telling friends isn’t the only way you can help.
3. Share your opinion!
In the far right column of the product page on Amazon.com, there are different ways to share the book — by email, on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. What a clever way to help both readers and authors! How many times have you wanted to share a title with someone and didn’t actually get it “spot on?” By sharing your new book through those channels, the recipient sees exactly which book you’re talking about!
4. Rate the book!
Whether you bought it on amazon.com or some other venue, there is probably a star system for rating. For some of us, rating anything is “even more terrifying” than writing a review (slick reference to Night Sounds there, Pam). If that is what’s holding you back, then you could either develop your own definitions for ratings 1-5, or you could use this guideline Goodreads:
- 1=didn’t like it
- 2=it was OK
- 3=liked it
- 4=really liked it
- 5=it was amazing
5. Write a review!
You can either be the star of your own video or you can do a written review on amazon.com. Some people say, “but I’m not a writer.” It’s true that many of the reviews are really long, really well-written and therefore scary as hell (even to me!). They are most likely done by “pro reviewers.” The good news is that a review can be as short as 20 words–the kinds of short reviews you might have seen inside a paperback. Surely you can write 20 words! “What I especially liked about the book…” is already 7 words!
Just say what you liked about it. What’s cool about doing that is that you, too, could be published if the author picks up your comments to include in the “front matter” of their paperback version. Here’s how: scroll to the top of that book page where the title is. If the book has reviews, click on that line, e.g., “1 review,” or if there are no reviews yet, “Create your own review.” You’ll be asked for a Title and Review Type (video or written), and then be given a place to add yours. Nothing to it! Easy!
Just as we recognize and promote Indie films by attending Indie Film Festivals, we can honor these Indie authors in all the ways listed above. I once paid $120 to attend a 3-day film festival where I watched 10 films. You can buy 10 indie eBooks for a lot less.
Well, it’s finally snowing and my holiday has begun. No more Weird Publishing Project til after New Year’s. (Hint: there’s more to say about “the launch”.) Meanwhile, I’ll be Skating Thru the offerings in my email newsletters for indie books, loading my new Kindle FIRE for the months to come. How about you?
Til then, please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi
This is the story of my struggle with God and extreme burnout that occurred almost 27 years ago!
CLICK HERE to get your copy now.