A quick bit of an article before I dig into Chapter 21 of The Twelfth Labor but I think this is an important topic to not only talk about, but continually reiterate! Let’s talk about one of the most important forms of support an independent author can receive: word-of-mouth support.
Look, the fact of the matter is that there are tens of thousands of indie books out there. The e-book market especially is flooded with them. The saying goes that ‘everyone has a story in them’ and, now, everyone can get that story published and internationally distributed! Every indie book, good or bad, classic-to-be-discovered or affront to literature, is lost in that sea and who’s to say if any will ever be discovered.
That’s where the readers have to step in. If you read indie books and find one you truly enjoy, it really should be your duty as a responsible reader to rate it, review it, and share it with others who may be interested in it. Many people still attach a prejudice to the very idea of indie books, instantly connecting them to a lower quality than ‘professionally published books’. That critical ‘word-of-mouth’ endorsement can break through that prejudice. While someone may hold that bias, they will almost always listen to their friends’ opinions over it. Once their foot is in the door, the book itself will then carry the day.
The truth is that all the social media wizardry in the world (though not pointless, it has a place in this grassroots network) won’t get you that many readers without something to hold up to show them that there is a reason to take a chance, to leave that indie bias behind.
It comes down to this:
- If you read indie books, rate them. Review them, even if it’s a simple paragraph. Share them.
- If you are an indie author, encourage your readers to do number 1 above. Don’t just tell them to rate YOUR book. Try to encourage them to break the trend of inactivity for everything they read.
- If you already do all of the above, well, kick back, crack open a cold drink, and enjoy the boons of responsible action!
Good luck and good writing … and good reading!
A timely call to arms. I don’t think the bloggers with thousands of followers realise that a single paragraph mention could turn a hobby into a career. The Amazon statistic of three or four reviews for every thousand downloads is unfortunately accurate, and I gave up handing out free copies for reviews on reddit etc as I never heard back. A friend said I shouldn’t accept such a result, and argued for some polite poking and prodding, but no writer wants to be ‘that guy.’
I agree. Though, honestly, we can’t rely on other bloggers and I say that based on my own experiences as a book reviewer. Unless I had a staff of reviewers, I would never ever be able to keep up to the continual demand. A larger site would have my problem amplified twenty fold.
Somehow, perhaps through constant repetition, we need to impress on every person we can reach that they need to Rate, Review, and Share the books they read. Reviews from bloggers and other professional sources are nice but they alone won’t do it.
If only! I had put the percentage of genuine reader reviews on Amazon at about 1 per 100; Ian’s reference to three or four per thousand is vastly more depressing. (It also gives a staggering insight into the number of copies sold for books that have thousands of reviews on Amazon.)