Buying indie books is like shopping local. You know you ought to do it, but isn’t it so much more convenient just to pick up a copy of whatever’s on special offer in Waterstones? Maybe it takes a little more conscious effort, but here’s five reasons why the next book you read should be an independently-published one.
1. Be ahead of the curve
Read an awesome indie book and you’ll reap kudos. Regularly buying indie means that you’ll undoubtedly find gems that no one else you know has yet discovered. Set trends, don’t follow them.
2. Find your perfect genre
In traditional publishing, heterogeneity sells. If agents or publishers can’t see exactly where a book would fit on the store shelf real estate, then it’s not considered publishable. Here’s one example of some feedback I received from an agent:
“This was a difficult decision as I was really impressed with your submission. The writing is engaging, the idea is appealing and you write with real energy and imagination. However, while there was a lot I enjoyed about your submission, ultimately, I did not feel convinced I could find a publisher for it and therefore I don’t feel able to offer you representation for this project.”
But maybe you don’t want to read more of the same thrillers with the word “girl” in their title. Maybe the predictability of it all is killing a little part of your soul. Maybe you want to read something different. And this is where indie authors excel. If you’ve ever wanted to read a romance about your favourite celebrity, or a horror story featuring dragons, it probably exists in the words of an indie author.
Many indie authors regularly participate in special sales and giveaways of their books, as a way of promoting their titles.
This means that you’ll always be able to get your hands on some real bargains. Sign up to mailing lists for promotion sites and newsletters for your favourite authors and you’ll get to hear about upcoming deals first.
4. Build relationships
I’m sure that traditionally published, big-name authors like hearing from their readers too, but indie authors LOVE it. You can contact us directly, and we tend to have more time to dedicate to a reply. Like many indie authors, I try to cultivate ongoing relationships with people who have read and enjoyed my writing. You’ll find that we love hearing feedback and constructive criticism – we may even hire you as beta readers, offering you advance copies of our new work in return for your thoughts!
5. Invest in a piece of art
Writing is an artistic pursuit. And independently published novels are a work of art, requiring blood, sweat and tears. Aside from the helping hand of beta readers and editors, an indie author’s book is their singular vision, unclouded by the input of literary agents and publishers. We haven’t changed our story to make it convenient for the general public. It’s our heart and soul. It’s the truth of us.
And who knows? When we’ve “made it” in twenty years’ time and our novels have sold around the world and been transformed into box office smash hits (us indies are ever hopeful), then your original, signed, print-on-demand copy of our first novel might just be worth more than what you paid for it!
6. Support individual writers
Ok, so this last one’s a bit altruistic, but I know you reader people are all about sharing the love, right? When you buy a copy of my ebook from Amazon, for example (go on, you know you want to), I receive 70% of the price you pay for it. It doesn’t get split between promoters and printers and the various cogs of traditional publishing. That money gets paid directly into my bank account and while it isn’t what drives me, it helps me carve out the time to write. Buying indie rewards individuals directly for their hard work.
Some of us – me included – hire other self-employed individuals to help us. For The Generation, I hired an editor and a cover designer, both of whom benefitted from my business. So your purchase indirectly helps them make a living, too.
Sure, there are self-published books out there which are poorly written and unedited. But it’s easy to spot whether or not a book’s for you before you shell out. Look for a well-designed cover, read the description or synopsis and perhaps flick through the first few pages. That should tell you what you need to know.