With this wonderful age we live in, the Internet opens up so many opportunities for everyone. Writers are no longer at the mercy of the publishing houses, we can self-publish our work. Of course, every writer hopes that everyone who reads their novels love them and comes back for more. But without the clout of the traditional publishing houses behind them, indie writers must do more than just write.
As a writer, my job is to write interesting stories that draw you, the reader in, capturing your interest and holding your attention – making you care about the characters and story. My editing must be spot-on, as I don’t only represent myself as an indie writer, but ALL indie writers. My books need to have no typos, correct grammar, proper spelling, a format free of bugs and glitches. In short, my ultimate job is to present the most perfect book I possibly can for the sole purpose of your entertainment.
But readers have a job, too. Yes! Shocking! I know! What more should a writer expect of readers other than they read?! But you can help your indie writer by doing the following:
1. Buy our books from a credible source – Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, for example. If it’s offered somewhere somewhat shady for free, it’s likely been pirated, and the author is being robbed.
2. Don’t share the ebooks with 20 of your friends. Most indie writers price their books to be VERY budget friendly. The most expensive ebook I personally have available is $4.99. You can’t buy a paperback brand new for that price! Recommend the writer to your friends, and encourage them to go buy their own copy.
3. If you liked the book, leave a review! Your review helps the indie writer reach MORE readers. Recommend our books to your friends. Don’t be afraid to leave a review for every book you read, even less than stellar ones. Most writers who are published, even self-published, have a thick skin. We need to, as if we’re serious about our craft, we’ve already sent our babies out to be critiqued by other writers before it gets to you. Unless you say something really mean, we can take it. Don’t say something really mean – remember what your mother told you as a child, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Being honest doesn’t require meanness.
“Hold on!” you say. “I don’t know how to write a review! I can’t spell! I’m intimidated by you being a pro, and what if you think mean things about my grammar skills? I can’t do it! Help!”
I happen to have a handy-dandy guide for you to use for writing a review. Some advice, too. Advice first.
If you’re concerned about your spelling, use spell-check if you have it. If you don’t…Type the word into Google and enter. If you spelled it wrong, the page will open, and it will say at the top, “Did you mean ___?” And bingo. The word is spelled correctly. *Ahem.*
If you’re concerned about your grammar, keep it simple. There’s no reason to go for the razzle-dazzle. The writer whose book you’re reviewing will simply be thrilled you left a review!
Personally, if I see that I have a 4 or 5 Star review, I’m going to be squealing over the stars, not looking hard at whether or not you wrote a perfectly spelled, grammatically immaculate review. Yes, I’ll read the review, but SQUEE! LOOKIE THE STARS! Then SQUEE! LOOKIE AT THIS REALLY NICE THING THE REVIEWER SAID! SQUEEEEE! My delight is that you took the time to leave a review! Please consider yourself thanked in advance for your review! It’s much appreciated.
Handy-Dandy Review Writing Guide.
1. Keep it simple.
2. Mention the title of the book in your opening. Example: “I just finished reading Perp Bride by Laura Hamby…”
3. List what you liked, but avoid spoilers. Example: “I really liked how…” or “The best part was…” or “I laughed my head off when…” or “I cried when…”
4. If you didn’t like the book, you don’t need to be mean or bully-like about it. You can say, “I wish the author had done ___ instead of ___.” or “This book has a lot of f-bombs, which I personally don’t care for, but overall, it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story.” Be honest. Be honest kindly if you have something negative to say. Balance the negative with something positive if you can. After all, thick skins or not, writers are people with feelings, too.
5. Would you recommend the book? If the answer is ‘no,’ you could probably skip this part. If ‘yes,’ SAY SO! If you’d read another book by this writer, say so!
So. There you have it. Insight into what you can do to help support an indie writer. We write our hearts and souls out for you, the reader, and without you, we’d have no reason to write. Thank you!