You know exactly who I’m talking about, don’t you? That one, the really weird one, who isn’t married, might not even be dating seriously, may have been in school forever, works odd jobs, and is absolutely hell bent on writing books or making music or taking pictures. Yeah, I’m talking about that friend. If you are not “that friend,” chances are, you have one or one of your friends does.
Indies come in many forms. Some of us are authors. Some are musicians. Some are artists, graphic designers, photographers, screenwriters, or filmmakers. But see, we all have one thing in common. We have found something that we love so much that we are striving to make a career out of it, even if that means going it alone. Crazy? Yes, perhaps we are. But I think anyone who’s ever made an impact has been at least a little off their rocker, or else they wouldn’t stand out.
If you have one of these charming and yet mildly insane people as a friend and you’ve been wondering just how you can help them make their dreams come true, well, here’s your lucky day! Presenting…
Ways to Help Your Indie Friends!
1. Offer Encouragement!
As a friend embarks on his or her journey to indiedom, they are going to encounter a lot of helpful and positive attitudes, but they will also encounter a lot of negativity. If I had a dollar for every time I heard,
“You’re getting a Masters in Humanities? What are you going to do with that?”
“I get that you want to write, but what do you want to do for a job?”
“You know you’re never going to make any money, right?”
Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t have to do the indie thing because I’d be so rich, I wouldn’t need a job! There are people out there who will have no problem telling the aspiring author or photographer or musician that their ambitions are a waste of time. As their friend, one of the best things you can do for your indie friends is to support them, encourage them, and most importantly, accept them for who they are.
2. Like and Follow Things!
On social media, that is. Facebook pages, Amazon pages, GoodReads author pages, websites, fan pages, Twitters, Tumblrs, Pinterests, I don’t even know how many things there are to like and to follow, but there are a lot! Numbers MATTER.
3. Buy the Book/CD/Craft
Okay, so this part costs a little money, but more often than not, it is a truly worthy investment. Sometimes, since you’re a friend, you might even get a complimentary copy. I’m proud to say that I have bought several indie books, my graphic designer is an indie, I’m getting ready to do a photoshoot with an indie photographer, and I even helped produce my friend’s second indie CD! Okay, it was like, $20, but still! Technically, I can say that I’m a producer. The point is I have never once regretted supporting a fellow indie. If they have the guts and the drive and the passion to put themselves out there and get the job done themselves, then you can bet I’m going to support them.
4. Review, Review, REVIEW!
I can not stress this enough. REVIEWS ARE SO IMPORTANT, especially for an indie. The more reviews an item has, the more likely potential readers or listeners or customers are to take it seriously and consider investing their time and money. My book, Cemetery Tours, currently has 27 Reviews on Amazon. I’m thrilled, but at the same time, I’m working every day to make that an even 30! A review does not have to be a long, drawn out analysis or give a full plot description. It can be as short and sweet as two or three sentences.
“Hey, I enjoyed this book because A, B, C. Author did a great job. Highly recommended.”
That, along with a nice rating, is simply invaluable.
5. Spread the Word!
You don’t have to spam your friends or send out mass texts, but if you’re talking to someone about books or music, you could mention, “Oh hey, my friend wrote a book” or “My friend is a singer. You should check them out.” Give a shout out on Facebook every now and then. Recommend the book or whatever to a friend you think might enjoy it. Retweet stuff. Little acts like that can go a long way in the indie world. Word of mouth is the single most important marketing tool an indie can ask for.
Now, in the spirit of crafts, books, and photography, here are a few of my shots from a project in Grad School.
Enjoy the day, folks!