One of the biggest challenges to large software corporations has been the open source community—a massive population of coders that provide free code to the world; that share, improve and evolve their software every day in ways that a corporate structure can’t emulate. In many ways, these coders have redefined the internet, and our lives. When Steve Jobs set up the iOS Developer Program at Apple, he did it because he recognized the power of open source—numbers. The sheer number of open source and freelance developers far outweigh the resources large corporations have.
Independent and open-source coders changed the landscape of software development. Independent and self-published authors are doing the same for publishing.
Newly published indie and self-published authors are often unaware of the huge amount of support available to them. From bloggers to fellow authors, there are sites dedicated to editorial, marketing, distribution and PR specifically for indie and self-published authors. More importantly, there are bloggers who will review and promote indie and self-published authors exclusively.
Sites like The Indie View, Indies Unlimited, Pixel of Ink and Indie Book Reviewer, to name a few, are excellent resources for the independent author who has to do more to promote his or her own book than a traditionally published author would. Small independent publishers like Indireads don’t have the resources, the distribution networks or the marketing engines of traditional publishers.
But they have the support of the people. And it’s important to connect with them. For instance, if you’re on Goodreads, there are at least 5 things you should be doing to raise your own profile.
- Join Groups & Comment
This may sound obvious, but I’m surprised that so few people actually do this. There are groups segmented by genre, keyword or by geography. There are review swap groups, reader groups, author groups—it really is a huge resource. But you can’t step into a social environment and expect an immediate response to your query. You need to make friends first, hence, comment, respond, ask, give as much as you want to take.
- Add your book to lists
Find lists that represent your book—South Asian reads, great cover art, funny books, easy-reads—there are so many to choose from. They call it ‘Listopia’ for a reason. Ask your friends to add your book to these lists, to vote on books you’ve added.
You may not have large followers, but if you recommend your book to one friend who reads it and recommends it to five…well you get where I’m going with this, right?
- Use your own friends
Not to leave reviews, but to share quotes from your book. Ask friends and readers to share their favorite quotes from your book (don’t do it yourself, that’s just self-aggrandizement!). They could take this a step further and share the quotes on Facebook, though that’s up to them.
- Fill out your profile
If you have a blog, add your feed to Goodreads. Add a picture, an author bio, and read the Author Program page on Goodreads for more ideas.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice is RECIPROCATE. If an author likes your Facebook page, like them back, send them a respectful and friendly message, comment on their posts. If they follow you on Twitter, follow them back, favorite their tweets, retweet them, join in or start conversations.
If you’re expecting the indie community to promote you in return for nothing, you may as well take your book off the shelves right now. The indie community is a friendly group, and they’re willing to help out everyone, without prejudice, airs, or discrimination. But if you decide you’re too good for them, you’ll be relegated in a heartbeat.
They don’t ask for financial return—just a little love.