HERBIE: Hey! Maybe we can be independent together!
–Arthur Rankin, Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer
It’s always been more difficult to be an independent businessperson. To really create the volume of sales to make a difference, you need to advertise to as wide a base of people as possible. But to be able to afford that, you need the volume of sales required to create the extra cash to pay for it.
“You have to spend money to make money,” goes the old business saw. The problem is you have to have the money to spend it.
For independent authors, the problem is no different. To be successful, you have to find readers. So how do you find them if you can’t afford to spend a bunch of money on advertising?
Enter the Independent Author Network. This website features authors who have self-published or been published through a small press. It gives information on the writer, features up to six of their books, and contains links to where you can buy them online. Check out my page here.
As great a resource as the IAN is for finding indie authors, like any store, customers have to know it exists. That’s where the “network” part of the name comes in. By being a member, you agree to promote your page, the network as a whole, and other authors in it.
This is where the Brave New World of social media really makes a difference. Most IAN members tweet a link to their page periodically. When tweeting, IAN has a special hashtag you can put on your posts (not just ones that feature your page), #IAN1. Other authors who are members who see the hashtag then retweet it. So you gain exposure not only to your followers but those of other members of the network. This makes it possible for your message to truly go viral.
The IAN is the brainchild of William R. Potter, an indie author himself, who’s published two novels and two novellas. By reaching out to other indies, he’s not only helped other people gain exposure for their books, he’s given himself access to their publicity platforms as well. Which is the whole idea: we can help each other and ourselves.
Since joining IAN, I’ve seen the number of times my tweets have been retweeted skyrocket. I’ve gained followers on Twitter whom I don’t know how they found me. I can only presume they received a retweet from one of the kind people on IAN.
I’ve tried to follow suit. When I see the #IAN1 hashtag, I retweet. But I also recognize that the network is about getting people exposed to authors they’ve not heard of. So, I decided to go a step further. Every day, I tweet a link to a different author’s IAN page. And I use the #IAN1 hashtag, so my fellow IAN members will retweet it to their platforms. Hopefully, it’s helping get the message out there for dreamers like me, who are trying to get read.
If you’re an indie author, I strongly encourage you join IAN. There’s a very reasonable one-time fee, and you get the benefits of having more than a hundred fellow authors help sell your books. If you’re a reader, you should check it out too. Features like the Avid Reader’s Cafe and the Trailer Park (where you can view book trailers) will help connect you with new books and authors you’re sure to enjoy.
Being an independent author is hard. But, if we can be, as Herbie the Elf put it, “independent together,” our chances for success are much stronger.