I am one of the millions of indie authors out there fighting for shelf space in an already incredibly saturated market. It is controlled by book publishers who have the financial ability to spread their advertisements far and wide and push my book to the back.
I’m not saying I have a Pulitzer on my hands (not that I would ever know since surprise, surprise, I can’t submit my book without the backing of a publisher!), but even getting a book on notable lists like the New York Times, Pop Sugar, and The Guardian is nearly impossible without paying gobs of money to a publicity firm, which in the end may or may not even be able to get you a spot anyway. My book, BLUE SUN, YELLOW SKY (shameless plug) has won three major Indie Awards, got a starred Kirkus Review, and multiple book bloggers I approached gave it five stars. Yet, unless you Google the book title specifically, you’ll never find it.
Recently, I’ve started studying book lists. You know, the ones titled: “If you loved BLAH, BLAH book, you’ll love THIS BOOK,” and “15 Must Read Books for the Summer.” And what I found is that the same top 10 National Bestsellers come up on every list.
Of course, National Best Sellers are good books–millions of people have read and loved them–but instead of us all reading the same 10 national best sellers, how about we build a network for readers to discover “the next National Bestseller?”
As an indie author, I want to support indie books. But when searching for indie titles, I find books like The Martian, which is no longer indie. If a reader loves my book, there is no place they can go to find a similar indie book to support. Even Googling “Top 5 Indie Books” yields a less than fruitful search. A schmorgesborg of random titles in random genres comes up. How can we indie authors support each other’s books if we can’t find them?
So, today I’d like to start a new trend. I’m calling all indie authors to use the ever growing hashtag #IndieBooksBeSeen. Start your headlines with: “If you loved this INDIE BOOK you’ll love these BESTSELLER books.” Here’s my list of 8 Books you’ll love if you loved BLUE SUN, YELLOW SKY.
Unfortunately, I’m not a graphic designer or fancy flash coder (otherwise I would love to provide everyone with a drag and drop easy tool!) but I do have this template as a Photoshop file, and you’re welcome to download it FREE here! Don’t forget to tag me @heyjamie on Twitter so I can retweet it to my 29K followers.
Boom! Indie book front and center. Now here’s the catch: I need other indie authors to do the same. Yes, that’s means you, Mr./Ms. indie author sitting there reading this and wondering how to promote your book. Together, let’s create in a shift in the market.
Reddit changed the way we get the news, with viewers pushing articles they want to see up the ranks. My dream is to see authentic indie books finding their way into the mass market via readers like you and me.
I know what you’re thinking. Hey Jamie, WTF? You say you want to promote Indie Authors, but here you are showing us more bestsellers! You’re right. I hate that I had to do this, but like I said, it’s impossible to find indie books that are actually similar to mine. If you’re an indie author and you wrote a women’s fiction book that you think my readers would love, send it my way. If I agree that it matches I’ll gladly bump one these books off my pinwheel.
We’re part of an exciting shift in publishing. Consumers now have a say in what books become popular and guess what Indie writers, you’re a consumer. The books you buy and review determine what the next National Bestsellers are, so how about the next time you go to a bookstore you browse the Indie or Local Author section and add one of those to your TBR pile?
The eventual goal is to, as a community, build a network of indie books that are recognizable to our target audiences. We need the help of bloggers too! Imagine ourselves, the readers, typing in a book we love on Amazon and seeing our titles pop up alongside it. Let’s even the playing field and help each other gain visibility for our indie titles.