As a lady who has gone with both independent and traditional publishing routes I have definitely learned the pros and cons of each side. One of the "cons" (or opportunities as I like to think of it *smiles*) of independent publishing is that you, as the author, have to do all of the marketing yourself. Many times my friends have asked me how they can help me and so today I wanted to share with y'all "10 Ways to Support Your Friends Who have Independently Published Books"! I hope this sparks some great ideas for support!!
1. Buy Their Book. This might be silly to even suggest but the reality is that many of the independent author's closest contacts won't think to purchase the book. This might be because they have heard about every word of the book before it has even gone to print (*smiles*) but the reality is that for whatever reason many close family members and friends won't actually purchase a copy. Take the time to complete this simple step and this will be a huge support to your friend! (Interested in buying one or all of my books? Click HERE!)
2. Think Outside the Box and Share Connections Chances are, you know someone who could use the book that your friend has published even if it doesn't directly relate to you. Maybe you are happily married (so my book for singles wouldn't apply directly to you) but maybe you know someone it could encourage. Purchase and send them a copy! Maybe you could gift a copy of a book to your church library? Maybe you could gift a copy of a book to your doctor's office (if the book relates to medical information like my Lyme Disease books) or to the local hospital library. Perhaps you have a connection at a coffeehouse and you could bring in your friends' book and see if it could be displayed for sale or if your friend could try and sell some copies there at the store? Think outside the box and think of the people in your life that you know that you could connect your author friend with.
3. Write a Review. Just purchasing the book and reading it is a wonderful gift to your friend but what would help them even more is if you would take the time to write a review of the book (especially if it is available on Amazon)! Because your friend has independently published their book they do not have a huge marketing campaign for their books. Due to this they are doing all of the marketing themselves. Your words and testimony about their book will speak volumes to many people who aren't familiar with your friends' work! One of the largest pieces of help for me in selling my book, "Praying through Lyme Disease" has been the generous and gracious reviews that I have gotten. I have received several emails from people saying that the whole reason they purchased the book was because of the reviews! So take the time to write a review! I can guarantee that your friend has a goal of at least 20 reviews per book so pass the word to your friends and ask them to write reviews for your friend also! It will only take you a few minutes but will be of lasting help to your friend!
4. Share Their Business Card. Most authors, including myself, have a variety of business cards that are specific to the projects that they have completed. For example, in addition to my general business card, I have a specific business card for each of my books. This gives the opportunity to "get the word out" a little bit more. If you don't feel comfortable passing on the book to a variety of places perhaps you would feel comfortable with passing out your friends business card? Contact them and ask them for a bunch of business cards that you can have on hand to help spread the word about their projects! Live in a different city, state, or country then your friend? EVEN BETTER!! You will be helping them with marketing even more!! (Side note- if you are interested in helping market any of my books I would love to chat with you and send you some business cards! You can email me HERE! Thanks!!)
5. Talk About Their Book on Social Media. Share, share, and share some more about your friends projects on various social media forums. It will be such a blessing to them!! Tag your friends social media to all of your correspondence (example: if you post a picture on instagram tag them in it so they connect directly with people!). Volunteer to "social media love" your friends work! They will be so grateful!
6. Word of Mouth Recommendation. Talk about your friends book to people you know. Many people purchase books solely based on a friends recommendation.
7. Invite Your Friend To Share About Their Book (or their story). Work at a school? Ask your friend to come in and share about their book. Maybe the book doesn't fit into the topic that you teach or the school age kiddos but your friend could share about the writing process or about publishing a book or maybe their personal story or a variety of other things. Work at an office? Maybe your office is looking for a once a month lunch speaker. Suggest your friend! Invite your friend to your Bible study to have them share their story or to your church for a ladies luncheon. Work at a bookstore? Have them in for a book signing! Again, the topic might not exactly fit but your friend would love the opportunity to get their name out there and to share a little bit about writing or their heart!
8. Share Your Connections for Where They Are Traveling. Perhaps your friend is traveling for business, pleasure, or personal reasons. Do you have connections in the area that they are traveling? Share their information and the resources with them! I know that I am always looking to connect with people in upstate NY/Vermont and the south (both places where I spend 1/2 of the year) and in San Francisco (where my medical team is at). I am always looking for contacts in any of these areas to connect with. Talk with your friends and share your connections.
9. Host a Book Party. Similar to the various parties that exist (i.e. makeup, jewelry, etc.) consider hosting a "book signing party" and have your friend as the key star. This will encourage people to purchase your friends book, interact with them, and get to know more people!
10. Give the Gift of a New ISBN Number. Want to gather a few friends and take up a collection to bless the socks off of your friend? Gather the money to cover the ISBN number of their book that they have published (or for their upcoming book)! ISBN numbers are an investment and cost $125 which is a lot of money for independent publishers. This gift would be such a blessing to them!
What are some ways that you would suggest supporting a friend who has independently published a book? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Along with this topic is a request that I have from my heart. I am desperately trying to get the word out, market my books, and make connections. As I am dealing with health issues it is not always the easiest for me to make these connections and I would appreciate any and all help. If you know anyone who might be helped by my books or if you have any connections that you would feel comfortable sharing I would be most grateful. I would also be grateful for any social media love regarding my books and any workshops that you might suggest that are looking for additional speakers. If you would like to check out my personal website for writing and speaking you can find it HERE. Thank you so much for your help with this journey! I appreciate your help!!