There was a great blog article on CreateSpace today by Richard Ridley called “Supporting Indie Authors.” Richard has a great take on this; it’s worth a look.
Indie authors have two images to brand:
- Your own branding: author name, title, cover, author photo, series, characters.
- The image of indies: a more positive indie image helps all indie authors.
Supporting positive successes of other indie authors helps all indie authors through branding. Spreading news about negative issues hurts it. Blind support isn’t good: If you recommend books with serious problems, it has a negative impact. Focus on the positives and share the news about worthy successes, as this helps indies in general.
There are also two strong local impacts to consider:
- Similar titles often feed off one another. When one succeeds, similar books tend to sell better also, through Customers Also Bought lists, for example. However, when a foolish author does the opposite of supporting other indie authors, trashing a competitor’s work (which is against Amazon’s review guidelines), it tends to backfire by dragging down the potential help of similar books (and creates negative branding for authors). Customers don’t usually buy the one book they think is best, but over time buy many similar titles, and Amazon often advertises those similar titles to customers.
- Among the authors you interact with frequently, a success among one often helps the other authors in the group. People see the authors who frequently converse together. These authors often have much overlap in their followings.
Support comes in a wide variety of forms. I’m not just thinking about sales, reblogs, and blog reviews, but things like providing helpful feedback and suggestions, sharing knowledge and ideas, offering encouragement at a time of need, word-of-mouth referrals when you happen to interact with another author’s target audience, and posts and comments that foster a positive ambiance in the community.
Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers