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How can you Support your Favourite Self-published Authors?

By Holly Butterfield, Brittany Holness and Gemma Mathers 

While traditional publishing has been at the forefront of mainstream buying habits for centuries, over recent decades, several other methods have become more accessible to aspiring authors. Getting a publishing contract with one of the big five publishers or a smaller independent publisher is no longer the only way for authors to become successful: many indie and self-published authors have made a name for themselves and been placed amongst the ranks of traditionally published authors. 

When entering popular bookshops across the country, many of the selections on the shelves are published by the same major publishing companies: Penguin Random House, Simon and Shuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group and Macmillan. But as years go on, the number of books independent companies publish grows. 

Independent publishers often focus on underrepresented groups within a niche and are more likely to take risks on stories that the larger publishers may not see as guaranteed money-makers. Authors can also take on the challenge of self-publishing, using online publishing sites, for example, to share their books with the world. This type of publishing is also more appealing to writers, as it allows authors to retain higher levels of autonomy and can often gain higher royalty rates. It also gives them creative control as well as all rights to the book that are often sold to the publishing houses when a book is acquired to print. 

All authors, traditionally or self-published, deserve our love and support and there are many reasons for supporting indie authors alongside your beloved brand favourites. Self-published authors cover all the costs of publication on their own, which means any beta readers, artwork and printing costs are paid out of pocket before they have seen any profit from the book sales. For many of these authors, they see in real-time the impact of the support from readers. Often, their communities are tighter; they have the space to communicate with readers more closely and can control their own marketing based on their readership. 

Wondering how you can support indie authors? Write a review! On any platform, Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon or otherwise, reviews are the best way to spread the word about a book you are truly passionate about and show that indie author some much-deserved love. Spread the word on social media! Instagram, Twitter (or X) and TikTok are great tools for indie authors. Likes, comments and sharing their posts are helpful ways of showing support. Pre-order their new releases, as it really helps with the first week of sales statistics and allows indie authors to gain a space on the bestsellers list and reach new readers.

One of the difficulties of finding indie books is marketability, which means these newly released books from aspiring authors might be hidden behind more popular books or might not even be available in many big retailers. As a result, to locate these books, there must be a concerted effort to do so. Thankfully, it is easier for these books to gain recognition and fame than it has been in the past. 

For many years, popular platforms like Goodreads, Reddit and Amazon have been staples among booklovers everywhere, for their various purposes in assisting booklovers. Goodreads for its ability to find lists of appealing books and track them after completion, Reddit for its subreddits that are curated to an audience based on the genre of book, like their romance subreddit - r/RomanceBooks, and Amazon for the ease of buying and searching for books. Amazon has continued to adapt to the resurgence in book interest and has a section dedicated to indie books (an excellent place to look even if you are not looking to buy), and both Goodreads and Reddit have accessible search features that typing “Indie books” will garner a plethora of options. Another reliable way of finding indie books is using book blogs. 

These platforms typically review and have lists of books grouped by category, so upon completing a book, readers can find books within that genre. Social media can also be ideal for finding your next hidden gem. Using tags to search for books in a specific genre, like #fantasy and #indieauthor, is a good idea. The algorithm of these apps will, at some point, become curated to your specific interests, and scrolling through your feeds will be enough to find new hidden gems that are self-published. Additionally, in more recent years, there has been a surge of bookshops that mainly shelve independently published books, even specifying what genre you will typically find throughout the shop, like romance-only books and the tropes that fall under this bracket.

The world of independent and self-publishing has helped to spread various voices and stories that may not have seen the shelves otherwise. Authors can write what they want without fearing it not meeting the demands of publishing houses. So, why not provide an independent author with extra support next time you visit a bookshop!


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