Friday, February 17, 2012

Supporting Indie Authors, Part 2: Smaller Equals More Effort, Not Less

If you're an indie author, you know you need the support of others to build your online presence. And if you love indie authors, you want to help. This series is about practical ways to do that. Let's spread the love!

You know you love Marc Anthony and the kitten!
Love your indie authors the same way.
Courtesy of Google Images/
Last week, I kicked off by talking about reviewing other authors on your blog, Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else the author may have a presence. Today, I want to talk a little more about this, and make a bold statement:

We should dedicate the bulk of our efforts to smaller authors.

Yes, I am suggesting that if we're going to promote other authors, we should focus most (notice, I said most) of our efforts on the little guys. Here's why. It's great to talk about the big guys, the George R.R. Martins and the Charlaine Harrises. I've done it myself. There's nothing wrong with that.

But writers who operate at that level of business and fame don't especially need our personal reviews. Martin's A Dance with Dragons, for example, has a current total of 25,025 ratings on Goodreads. In other words, he doesn't need my review. He's more than covered.

But Farsighted, the book by Emlyn Chand that I reviewed recently and mentioned in part one of this series, only has 251 ratings on Goodreads. For the mathematically inclined, this is one percent of the reviews Martin has. Likewise, Treasure from the Storm, a solidly written and charming Christian romance by my friend Ellen Sherrill, has only one review right now. (Mine.) That's 0.004% of the reviews that Martin has. Who needs the bulk of the advertising help here? Not the famous guy.

Let me clarify here and say that I have nothing against famous writers, like Martin and Harris. I love them, actually, and I think it's great to support them. I don't mind if you want to give them a shout-out; I do it myself sometimes. I'm glad if you buy their books too, because I like to know that authors everywhere are making a living. Buying their books keeps them on the bookshelves, which is great. It may even keep Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores alive, which would be great, because I like bookstores. I've got no problem with loving the big names.

But the specific issue at hand here in this series is how to help the indie writers, the people who don't have the advantage of a big marketing budget or the opportunity to write their own books full-time... the people working on building their online presence, rather than the ones who are huge in their online and offline presence already.

With that in mind, I think it's clear that you and I have the best chances of making significant impact for the writers who are not going automatically onto the New York Times Best Sellers list on publication day. We actually have the opportunity to propel the indies to greater success when we make time for them.

That's why I'm arguing that if you have limited time to promote other authors (and you do), then it might be good to focus as much of that time as possible on smaller-level authors, who really need and will be thankful for your review and rating on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book-selling and review sites.

This belief is one reason why I'm focusing more of my review time on this blog for newer, less well-known authors. Sure, I may take a break and write a review of Brent Weeks or Jim Butcher. I've done it; see the links. But going forward, if I review a bestselling writer, I'll be more likely to talk about things we can learn from them as writers, rather than just giving them a shout-out. That way, the review will do double-duty and serve as a way to talk about how we can improve our writing skills. I'll be saving the straight reviews for the indies and linking them to the book sites of their choice.

So, let's hear what you have to say. And where else besides Amazon and Goodreads are you promoting yourself or other authors? Share, share, share!

For part 1 of this series, go here.

Copyright (c) 2012 by M.A. Chiappetta. All rights reserved.


  1. Hey, you! *waves* How have you been? How's the weekend treating you?
    I agree with you 100 percent. This past year or so, I have read mostly only Indie authors. Thankfully, the novels have been so good, I don't feel like I've missed a thing! Several have been bordering on being brilliant works. I love promoting fantastic novels by those who could stand to benefit so much by my meager assistance.
    Talk to you soon.


  2. Hi, Jimmy! It's cool to hear that the indies you've read have been very good. I think there's a misconception out there that they must be bad if they're self-pubbed.


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