With over 129 million books in the world, it's no surprise that independent authors struggle to come up with creative ways to get their books noticed and sold.
Consider these statistics:
According to Forbes, less than 9% of authors who are traditionally published make over $100k per year. Comparably. less than 2% of self-published authors will exceed that. In fact, half of self-published authors earn less than $500 according to an article by The Guardian. You read that correctly. $500. That isn't even enough to cover the editorial costs, assuming the indie author use a professional editor which is usually somewhere around $3,500-$5,000 for a good editor. Add in marketing costs and the purchase of promotional books and that easily puts you in the hole at about $7,500 or more.
If you are looking to make a decent annual salary by becoming a full-time author, odds are actually better that you'll hit a hole-in-one or win the lottery. (Okay, maybe not the latter, but it feels like it most days.)
The publishing industry is tough. When you are not backed or financed by a major publisher, it's a hundred times more difficult. But it doesn't have to be dire.
This is where you come in. This is where you can help. Below are 10 small things you can do as readers to help Indie Authors like me and the thousands of other Indies out there to get their books noticed. It doesn't take much. Do just one or two of the things in the list below and you'll make a huge difference.
The first step is actually finding an Indie book that you would be interested in reading. Usually readers just look at the top selling books on the major book sites, which are normally the more traditionally published books. Finding a complete list of Indie books is difficult, but not impossible. You can go the standard Google route, or you can search on sites like Amazon and Goodreads for Indie books. Goodreads has a bunch of Indie book lists here. Okay, so did you find an Indie book that interests you?
1. Add the book to your Goodreads bookshelf or, better yet, purchase the book.
2. Once you have finished reading, rate the book on sites like Amazon, B&N, or Goodreads.
3. If you love the book, vote for it on Goodreads's Listopia here.
4. Post a review or comment about the book on a book blog or website.
5. Post a pic of the book on your social media account(s) (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc), or use the book’s hashtag (if it has one). A few (shameless) examples: #RighteousRead or #ReadFirstLast&Always
6. Share an enjoyable quote from the book on a social media site.
7. Pass it on — Go ahead, share the book with a friend!
8. Suggest the book to a book club group.
9. If you have your own website, you can earn money through Amazon or Smashwords by becoming an affiliate and linking the book to your blog or site.
10. Talk, talk, talk about the book. If you genuinely enjoy it let others know. Come up with your own creative way to spread the word.
Every little action helps in a big way.