Hey, Indie Plot Twisters! We had such a good time hosting S. Usher Evans last month (My Double Life Crisis) that we couldn’t wait to have her here again. Wondering how you can support your fellow authors … and what being a nice person can do in return for you? Read on!
Authors Supporting Authors
In March, I’m releasing a book called Alliances (Obligatory – Preorder now for Kindle!) and it’s all about my main character learning how to make friends and how to support other people. In the spirit of that, I thought I would write up a few tips for the gals here at Indie Plot Twist on the things that I do to support other indie authors, and why it’s so important.
Support in the indie community is crucial. There’s only so many books your momma can buy, amirite? But there are billions of readers out there – and billions of books. Trying to get noticed is akin to screaming into a vacuum sometimes (that’s a space vacuum, not a Hoover. Sci-fi writer, y’all.) So we’re all in this together.
How do I support other authors?
1. Read and Review (Maybe)
Obviously, the first thing you can do is read their books. Do you review them, too? There’s a couple of schools of thought on this. Some authors shy away from critiquing others in public forums because they don’t want to seem like they’re tearing other authors down. This is totally cool, yo – more power to you. Skip to #2.
I, personally, want to treat authors like they’re real authors, and that means I read them like real authors and I review them like real authors. So yeah, my average Goodreads rating is 3.27 or something like that. But I’m also specific about what it was that I liked, and what I did not like, and pretty upfront if I’m bringing my own issues to the table.
But those books that I give 4.5 and 5 stars to? Those are my go-to recommendations for everyone I talk to. And I talk to a lot of people – at cons, on Twitter, in my daily life. Sometimes people don’t dig the Sci-Fi, and so I tell them about some other books I’ve read. Young adult, fantasy, romance, paranormal – I’ve got my recommendations.
And there is nothing I love more than seeing one of my readers buy and LOVE another author’s book.
2. Host an Author
The downside of being a hard reviewer is that sometimes I give less-than-stellar reviews of authors that I really like as people. This happened a lot during Fall for the Indie book, a fifteen week blogstravaganza to host and highlight a different author every week.
The general idea behind FFIB was simple: I would leverage all of the bevvy of social media tools (e.g. – trending hashtags) to share different content every day. MondayBlogs, Social Media Tuesday, 1LineWed, TBT, etc. The authors provided me the content, and I took care of the scheduling and the posting.
What ended up happening was I spent all week promoting an author, then turned around and said, “Yeah, but I didn’t like their book.” It felt a bit bait-and-switchy to me, so for 2015, I’ve modified my strategy.
Now, Wednesdays are open slots for guest bloggers and Fridays are now “Book Spotlights” tied to that guest author. I have also stopped posting my reviews on my blog, opting to just stick them on Goodreads and/or Amazon. That way, I can read what I want, when I want, and I don’t have to worry about coinciding with blog content.
AND – most importantly, I can continue to give authors a platform and a new audience to do their thang, and still provide the much-needed support of reviewing.
The last one is an obvious one – share their stuff to your audience via Facebook and Twitter. I don’t recommend just blindly RTing anything an author puts out there, but I would definitely focus on things like contests/giveaways, when the author has a new release, or someone else talking about the author’s work, like the author RTed another person’s review of their work. You obviously don’t want to spam your readers with stuff, so be choosy.
The key, though, is that you need to mix up your content. I can’t tell you how often I see authors spend all their time talking about THEMSELVES on social media. BO-RING. It’s so simple to press that RT or that Share button, and it makes you more interesting to your readers – AND it endears those authors who you support to support you back (more on this below),
Because, let’s be real: people get tired of hearing all about you, all the dang time. Even your mom.
A good gauge is to look at the last 10 things you tweeted. How many of them are about your stuff, and how much of it is someone else talking? (Along the same line, if you are just blindly RTing other authors’ spam, this is not a good strategy either. H’alas, that’s a blog for another day).
What’s in it for me?
Now, I know you’re sitting back at your own computer and thinking, “Um, S. Usher Evans, darling. That sounds like a lot of work. What’s in it for me?”
First of all, you can call me Whit. Second of all, how does increasing your own revenue sound?
I’m not gonna lie and say that Fall for the Indie Book was wholly unselfish. My website has Google Ads, meaning every visitor that someone else brought to my site resulted in revenue for me. Every book link had an Amazon affiliate code, so every purchase was more revenue. I did see an increase in my own sales because people knew who I was and liked what I was putting out there.
(For those of you rolling your eyes and saying that I’m all about the money: You are abso-fricking-lutely correct I’m about the Benjamins. I’m quitting my job in May to write full-time and I need money to do things like eat and feed my dogs. So you best believe I’m maximizing my income streams, son. /Rant)
Then there’s the non-monetary value to supporting other authors – they will (mostly) support you right back.
The majority of the authors I highlighted for FFIB are my new best friends. And as I grow my audience through my upcoming cross-country book tour, these authors will get the benefit. Just as I get the benefit with my upcoming book release (Shameless “Buy my books” link here).
If you think about it in terms of FFIB, we had 15 authors. The average number of followers between the authors (and myself) was ~800 people. Combined, that’s almost 13,000 followers – not to mention all of the other sharing and RTing by other people. For the folks who were hovering around 100 followers, that’s a huge boost.
However, here’s a little word to the wise: If someone agrees to host you, show up. Retweet and share where they mention you. Don’t be silly. Someone gave you an opportunity to be highlighted on their blog, don’t squander it. Because you may not get invited to play again.
What are some other ways that you support authors? Sound off in the comments!
Resources for You
The #MondayBlogs hashtag. The Brainchild of Rachel Thompson, #MondayBlogs is a twitter hashtag to help build community amongst bloggers and bring traffic to each other’s posts. Right now, Rachel is celebrating the runaway success of the hashtag with a #MondayBlogs Giveaway. No, it’s not a book. It’s free promo! The Featured Monday Blogger gets tweeted every Monday for a month and featured on IndieBookPromo.com. Plus, new entrants are entered in the next giveaway after they follow YOU! Wow. That’s a lot of promo. The deadline to enter the giveaway is January 31, 2015.
Kate Tilton, Author Assistant. Kate works overtime to help other authors in a myriad of ways, and to help them make valuable connections. On Twitter, you can enjoy the informative weekly live chat, #K8chat (Thursdays at 9 p.m. Eastern Time). Kate also has resources on her website to help you connect with book bloggers and author assistants (in case all those administrative tasks are weighing you down).
A-a-a-and … a shout-out from Whit to a pair of fantasy authors whom she says are awesomely supportive to other authors: Erin Rhew (@ErinRhewBooks) and Melissa A. Petreshock (@macpetreshock). Why not check them out?
About Our Guest Blogger
S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in a small, suburban town in northwest Florida, she was seventeen before she realized that not all beach sand is white. From a young age, she has always been a long-winded individual, first verbally (to the chagrin of her ever-loving parents) and then eventually channeled into the many novels that dotted her Windows 98 computer in the early 2000’s. After high school, she got the hell outta dodge and went to school near the nation’s capital, where she somehow landed jobs at National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and the British Broadcasting Corporation, capping off her educational career with delivering the commencement address to 20,000 of her closest friends. She determined she’d goofed off long enough with that television nonsense and got a “real job” as an IT consultant. Yet she continued to write, developing 20 page standard operating procedures and then coming home to write novels about badass bounty hunters, teenage magic users, and other nonsense. After a severe quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided to finally get a move on and share those novels with the world in hopes that she will never have to write another SOP again.
Where to Find Her
About Her Book
Lyssa Peate has found a tenuous balance between her double lives – the planet-discovering scientist and space pirate bounty hunter named Razia. No longer on probation, Razia still struggles to be thought of as more than a chocolate-fetching joke, and Lyssa can’t be truthful to those closest to her. But both lives are turned upside-down when feisty government investigator Lizbeth Carter shows up to capture the same pirate Razia is after.
Lizbeth’s not interested in taking Razia’s thunder; rather, she convinces the caustic bounty hunter to help solve a mystery. Somebody’s hiring pirates to target government ships, and there’s a money trail that doesn’t make any sense. From the desert planet of D-882 to the capital city on S-864, the investigation leads them deeper and deeper into a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of the Universal Government – and to one of the most painful chapters in Lyssa’s past.
Alliances is the highly anticipated sequel to Double Life and is available for preorder on Amazon Kindle now.
Not an eBook Reader? The print version of Alliances is also available for preorder via Pubslush.