It can be challenging (to say the least!) for new writers to find an audience for their work, especially with more than 391,000 books self-published in the US last year. It's easy to get lost in all of the noise of new releases on social media. Fortunately, there are resources on the web to help make a match between readers and writers. Today, I want to shine the spotlight on one such site, Indie Author Land. They offer indies a platform to showcase their new book and an opportunity to post an interview, all for free! Based on the other side of the pond, founder David Njoku shares his advice. Read on. :)
How long has Indie Authorland been around?
We launched the site in
September 2012 and have just celebrated our first birthday. It's been a hectic
year - a year ago we only had a vague idea of running some sort of a site for
indie authors, but weren't sure what it would do. However we quickly realised
that authors needed a place where they could introduce their new book to the
readers, so that's what we built.
Now we get 20,000 visitors a month - each month a little better than the one before it. And, better still, we've seen completely unknown authors find dedicated readers through us.
Oh, and to celebrate that first birthday we expanded the site, adding a shop window where indie authors can present their free or discounted books to readers.
Where are you located – general area?
We - I keep saying "we" because I run Indie Author Land with my wife, Sola - are based in Berkshire, England. Berkshire's lovely. We're just a short jog away from Windsor Castle and the leafy opulence of Ascot. Now if only the Queen could sort out this blasted rain...
What’s your ultimate goal for Indie Author Land?
We want to grow. The
first step is to become one of the first sites authors think of when they've
written a new book they want to promote. And I think we're beginning to achieve
The second - and more important, more difficult - step is to become the first site readers think of when they're looking for a book to read.
When you look at the metrics for your site, what genre gets the most interest or clicks?
It doesn't really work
that way. The most popular interviews are the ones with authors who are already
popular - Tarryn Fisher talking about The Opportunist, Dathan Auerbach talking
about Penpal. But that's OK: my cunning ploy has always been that you'll come
to read about Hugh Howey's new bestseller - and end up also discovering three
other writers of similar work.
However, most of our readers are women, and so the most popular genres are erotica and romance. I expected paranormal fiction to be a little more popular - I'm not saying it's not, but it's definitely not up there with romance and erotica.
You’ve seen more than your fair share of books being submitted through your site, in those moments when you’re scrolling through, what catches your eye first?
Great covers. I love those colourful covers that chick lit books have - like the cover of Bumped (I love both the pink and the brown Bumped covers, by the way.) When I see a cover like that I think that I've got to get it on Indie Author Land - immediately.
What common mistakes do you see submissions to you?
Don't get me started. I
hate hate hate authors who give poorly-written, barely-coherent responses to
questions - and then follow it up by sending me emails that treat me as if I'm
the shoeshine boy, not worthy of any respect.
They say everyone's got a book in them - well, maybe not if you're functionally illiterate. And a horrible person.
Fortunately, most authors are either really friendly or, at least, businesslike and polite. And most books I receive are clever and exciting and well-written.
Have you noticed any trends in covers?
Can't say I have, to be honest.
What advice would you give to authors when thinking about cover design?
The one piece of advice I have regarding covers is this: get a professional to do it. Take the hit; pay the price. You might write the best book in the world, but no one's going to read it if it's got a cover designed in MS Paint.
Aside from writing a good book, what advice would you give to writers trying to find readers?
Find that one reader who has
read and enjoyed your work and turn them from a fan to an advocate. You don't
just want them waiting for your next book, you want them telling everyone to
read your current one. And readers do that when they feel a connection with
you. Build that connection through Indie Author Land, Facebook, Twitter or
I know an author who has 60,000 followers on Twitter - and never gets a single retweet. (I think she bought those followers using one of those shady services - but don't tell her I told you.) It's so much more effective to only have 100 followers who you can actually interact with.
And the best way to find that first hundred? Indie Author Land!