Friday, March 9, 2012

Supporting Indie Authors, Part 5: Give the Gift of Feedback

When I use the term indie author, I'm using it a little loosely (for the purposes of this series, at least). What I'm really addressing is our need, no matter what route we've taken to publication, to market ourselves as authors. And also, what we as readers can do to help the authors we love to succeed.
Important feedback does stand out!
Courtesy of Google Images/

For me, you are indie if you are doing something on your own to get your book out there in the marketplace. And let's face it... Most authors have to do that at some point in their career, even if they're working with a traditional big publisher.

But of course, most authors are not working with the big publishers in New York. Instead, they're self-publishing, or using CreateSpace, or choosing small presses, or trying print-on-demand. And this means the authors are doing a lot on their own... editing, layout, and marketing. We as readers (and fellow writers) can help authors during their do-it-yourself process of getting their book out to the masses.

If you'd like to be helpful in a practical and simple way, you can do it by visiting an author's blog or website and seeing what's new. It might just so happen that the author will be asking for help that you can give. This has happened to me twice in recent months, and all I had to do was give feedback to the two authors in question. How easy is that?

The first author I helped was Dan Wells. Yes, the guy who wrote I Am Not a Serial Killer, which I reviewed here on the blog. Now, he's a little bigger than what we typically would call an indie writer, but still, he's a good example of what I mean by giving feedback. He asked for help with naming a resistance group in his new book Partials. I just happened to see him tweet about it, read his blog post, and thought: Hey, fun! I gave him a few ideas...

And here's the cool part: He used one of them, and now my name is in the Acknowledgments of his book. You can see his post and my comment here. That was an easy way to help him out, and we can do this for authors on a regular basis, because all authors need input from time to time. So if you have a favorite writer, keep an eye out for their questions. When they ask, it means they seriously do want to hear your suggestions, so you have a chance to be heard and make a difference.

The second author I was able to help out recently is a true indie writer, a guy named Bill Wetterman. As he prepared the marketing campaign for his self-published book, Room 1515, he was making a book trailer and wanted feedback. Wisely, perhaps, he has deleted the old version off his website (or I'd link to my comments on it), but while it was up, I got a chance to view it and offer suggestions for ways that I thought he could make the trailer more effective, and hopefully thus improve his sales.

Others gave him feedback too, and he took the suggestions and made a new trailer. It's here if you'd like to see it: Room 1515 book trailer. The cool part for me is that I can watch this new trailer and see where he made changes, knowing that he took some of my input to heart. I'm excited for Bill, because I think his current trailer will definitely help him gain readers. Which is the goal, right?

What I especially love about giving authors input when they ask for it is that it gives us, the readers, a chance to be involved in the process of getting books out there that we like. And we get to help authors keep writing. That's a real privilege, and we should consider it that way.

Have you ever had the chance to give an author a suggestion? Did you see your suggestion make an impact? Or maybe you're a writer who has asked readers for input and you have an interesting story about it that you'd like to share. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and my readers would too. So, do tell!

For part 1 of the series, go here.
For part 2 of the series, go here.
For part 3 of the series, go here.
For part 4 of the series, go here.

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


  1. Hi. This has really been a great series. I actually had something happen to me lately of note. As I have mentioned before when I find a book that I like, I want to tell everyone about it. I wrote a review that I thought was nice, but had no idea that the author would contact me and ask to publish it when his paperback comes out. I love helping other writers, and sometimes when you do that, cool things happen for both of you.


  2. "now my name is in the Acknowledgments of his book."

    Very cool. I'm looking forward to reading his new series.

  3. Jimmy, that's awesome! I love it when you get that kind of response from something you did out of kindness and sincerity. Congrats!

    Hektor, thanks! Yeah, I thought that was so nice. Dan is a great writer, and I'm looking forward to Partials too.


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