The Whys and Hows of Supporting Self-Published Authors
by Mariya Massey
Did you know that some of literature’s most beloved figures started off as self-published authors?
Margaret Atwood self-published her poetry collection Double Persephone.
The Martian, which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Bourne actor Matt Damon, was also self-published. The author, Andy Weir, believed that no traditional publishing agency would distribute his book, so he published The Martian in portions online. Eventually, it gained readership and the attention of established publishing agencies. (Hence why it is now available by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House).
Readers play a crucial role in the success of books. This is especially true for self-published authors with limited resources for marketing and distributing. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can help indie authors and read some amazing books in the process.
Here is how you can support self-published authors and why.
How do you find good self-published authors?
Self-published books are hard to come by in generic bookstores and platforms. This makes discovering indie books kind of difficult sometimes. But simply changing where and how you look for books can help you discover more self-published titles.
Fun fact: you are currently on a website that focuses solely on small press & self-published books! Independent Book Review has been promoting indies since 2018, and they’ve got a number of best book lists so you can find books that have been vetted (and loved) before making your book purchase.
Forums like Reddit are another great place to find and request recommendations for self-published authors. You can even ask in the thread where you can buy their books.
For buying physical copies, local bookstores sometimes sell books from local self-published authors. But if you really want to find more great indies, you may also want to consider switching to reading eBooks.
Kindle Unlimited is filled with indie (and non-indie books), and Scribd is another great way to discover and financially support self-published authors. Its subscription-based model means the reader can get recommendations easily without additional costs. With both subscription services, self-published authors will already earn as long as a reader goes through a percentage of the book.
Request their work at the library or bookstore
As mentioned earlier, self-published books are not available everywhere. If the book you like is available in neither your local bookstore nor library, then you can request the staff to purchase it. Doing so will expose the book to more readers.
For requests at libraries, you can simply inquire with your local librarian or fill out a form. In some cases, the library’s website would have a “Suggest a Title” option or form in the Contact Us section of its website. The process is quite similar for bookstores: you can inquire in-store or email them directly. Either way, requesting physical copies of self-published books in various locations widens its reach for potential readership.
Gift their book to a friend
You can also increase a book’s reach by gifting it. This is because the recipient is highly likely to read it out of curiosity as to why it was a gift. If you want to send a self-published book that aligns with their preferences, our previous post “Books to Look Out for in Early 2023” lists titles across various genres. Using this, you can choose the right gift/recommendation that can entice your friend to support self-publishing with you.
Engage with authors on social media
As mentioned previously, self-published authors often have limited resources, especially when it comes to marketing. But you can help them by engaging with them on social media.
The higher the engagement, the more visible the author’s account is to other users. You can do this by liking, commenting, saving, and sharing the author’s post.
If you want to take it further, you can even set up a Bookstagram. This will be your dedicated account for sharing self-published books and interacting with authors. By helping direct traffic to the self-published author’s post and account, you help boost their platform and, ultimately, their capacity to promote their books.
Not all self-published books will reach critical acclaim. However, by making the effort as a reader to support indie authors, you give them a chance.
Do you have any self-published authors you would recommend? Let me know in the comments!
About the Author
Mariya Massey is a freelance writer who prefers articles discussing art and literature. She is an avid reader of sci-fi and adventure novels. When she’s neither reading nor writing, she likes to sketch and crochet.
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