Why it’s Important to Support Independent Authors

You may have noticed on Twitter and other social media sites that there is a growing breed of independent authors and publishers (or Indies as we’re affectionately known). You can spot an Indie author as they’ll usually be doing all their own book promotion and will often accompany their promotional tweet with ‘#indie’. You can also check their books on Amazon or other book websites to see who is listed as the publisher; you’ll find that many are listed as both the publisher and the author.Book

Even if the name of the publisher is different from that of author, it may still be an independent especially if it’s a publisher you’ve never heard of. This is because many authors that self-publish choose a different name for the publisher when they list their books. For example, I publish my books under the name ‘DM Writing Services’.

As the number of independent authors continues to grow it’s important to support us for the following reasons:

–       It is harder than Ever to Publish through Traditional Channels – You may have heard the stories about bestsellers (and resulting blockbuster movies) in the past that were initially turned down by the major publishers. This is increasingly the case and it deprives the book-reading public of some excellent books. Traditional publishers rarely take a chance on an unknown author no matter how good the book is. This is because they have to finance the publishing and promotion, and they want guaranteed returns.

Sadly, this means that talentless celebrities are far more likely to get published than talented authors just because they already have a following. Ironically, once an independent author proves that they can sell shedloads of books, publishers then vie for their attention. Time for the two finger salute I think.

Pulling a Tongue –       We’re not Pigeon Holed – Most traditional publishers want books to fit into specific genres, which stifles creativity. Generally they don’t like to take a gamble and often prefer something that has been tried and tested. However, not all books are mainstream and some can spread across a number of different genres. For example, my forthcoming novel could probably be described as ‘crime thriller meets 1980s chick lit’.

–       We’re Raising Standards – We’re now combatting concerns over poor standards in indie books through organisations such as IndiePENdents and Awesome Indies. These organisations have volunteer readers who review books so that the organisations can give the books their seal of approval if they reach certain professional standards.

Just because a book is self-published doesn’t necessarily mean that it is of poor quality in terms of spelling, grammar, flow, plotting and all the other essentials. In fact, I seem to be finding a higher incidence of grammatical errors with traditionally published books and even some by major well-known publishers. I wonder if other people have also noticed this. Could it be that they are cutting corners to enable them to compete with the rising poweMoneyrs of the Indie army?

–       We Don’t Have Big Marketing Budgets – Most of us do all our own promotion. We contact magazines, newspapers, radio, websites etc. in the hope of having our work featured, and we ‘shout’ about our books using social media and blogs. Word of mouth is vital for our success.

–       We’re the Future – More and more writers are choosing to self-publish their books and there are several reasons for this:

a)    Digital media makes it easier.

b)    We don’t want our creativity to be stifled because of restrictions imposed by the traditional book publishing industry.

c)    It’s now cheaper to print books due to the availability of platforms like CreateSpace.

d)    We’re disillusioned with the traditional publishing industry.

e)    Certain promotional tactics can make it possible to compete with big publishing companies and, consequently, a few independents are making a good living from their writing.

How you can Support Independent Authors

Here are a few quick and easy ways that you can lend your support:

Supporting Authors

1)    If you have read and enjoyed a book by an independent author, be sure to leave good reviews on websites such as Amazon and Goodreads.

2)    Help us to spread the word by sharing any promotional comments that we post on social media.

3)    Read and respond to our blogs and share them too if you like what you see.

4)    If you have a blog, offer guest post opportunities to writers whose books fit your business niche.

5)    If you run a magazine or newspaper that features book reviews, include more books that are written by independent authors.

I hope that you have found this blog enlightening. If you have any comments to add, or if you are an author and there is something I have missed, you are welcome to leave your feedback below.

15 thoughts on “Why it’s Important to Support Independent Authors

  1. Excellent article with a real David and Goliath theme – made me want to rebel with righteous indignation just reading it! All you “#indie” authors out there please take heart from the “open source software” movement within the IT industry. Initially criticized by the commercial big players as unsustainable and of poor quality, but now ubiquitously used by almost every company across the world – in fact you’re probably using some right now reading this comment. I’m rooting for David!

  2. I agree with everything you say, Diane – and more. My experiences with publishers and literary agents have been nothing short of depressing and it would take a damn big offer for me to move away from independent status. That said, I do worry about the low quality of books and written work that some independents produce – worry that it will turn readers off all independent books. Also slightly indignant that my books sell for less than the price of a latte – not sure that a creative work should be available for 77p but that seems to be the world we live in…

  3. Thanks for your feedback Mark. I share your concerns. I’m still learning the ropes as far as pricing is concerned so I’ll be running a free promo on my first book in the next few weeks then dropping the price.

  4. Hi I was glad I clicked on your post on twitter, as an indie author myself I know first hand of the issues you speak about. It is so important that we all support each other too and tweet each other posts/book links. We must never forget that service to others come first after all we all all team indie. A great post, thank you for your support it is greatly appreciated.

  5. Thanks for your feedback Athena. I agree about supporting each other and try to RT when I can but with so many of us it isn’t always possible to cover everyone. 🙂

  6. Great post. I choose to self publish books I believe in but I am not disillusioned with traditional publishing as an entity and I am open to sensible offers – which is why I sold one of my self published books to a publisher yesterday 🙂 However, I will continue to self publish and to be proud to be an indie author and to support other indies that I believe in. Like you!

  7. Thanks for your lovely comments Dee and congratulations on your success. I have to admit that I got rather disillusioned with traditional publishing when I first wrote my debut novel a long time ago and did the usual round of publishers and agents. Now I’ll be self publishing it once I’ve put my second N/F book out but if I was fortunate enough to be approached by a publisher I’d have to have a long hard think. If you’ve already proved that your work can sell it puts you in a much stronger negotiating position. 🙂

  8. Thanks Guy, 2nd book’s taking a while due to client work. It’s frustrating but mustn’t grumble while I’m getting paid. I did originally plan the 2nd N/F for August/Sept and the novel for Oct/Nov launch, but I think I may have to defer them a bit. Still, it’s been 14 years since I first started writing the novel so a few more months shouldn’t make much difference.

  9. Very nice work! Informative for readers new and newish to indie publishing. BTW, there’s nothing that says indie publishers have to price their stuff at 77 p or 99 cents. My list prices are $2.99 for an e-short, $7.99 for an e-novel, and $16.99 for a paperback. I know I’m losing sales, but I value my work. It’s not dollar-store junk and I’m not going to price it that way. And I have room to discount.

  10. Thanks for your feedback. I agree with your comment regarding pricing. Although I will be dropping the price of my first book I won’t be going that low. I think that a lot is dependent on the length of the work as well.

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