Building Indie Author Relationships

Sometimes, as indie authors, it’s easy to feel like we are totally alone in everything we do, but building indie author relationships is an important part of our community.

I’ve been lucky to have met people early on, and they’ve been generous with their advice and their support. In fact, it was bestseller Elana Johnson/Liz Isaacson/Jessie Newton who convinced me to try my hand at indie publishing in the first place. But for my fantasy books, I realized during the COVID lockdown, that I didn’t really have any indie friends. When I was complaining to another friend about it, she said, “you’re an extrovert, Bridget. Now, go extrovert!”

But how do you make friends online when you know no one?

A Guest Post by Bridget E. Baker


Social Media

Indies often hang out in indie author groups on Facebook. The reason, of course, is that most of us do social media marketing for our books, and we also often run our own Facebook ads. I started doing what any normal indie who wanted to make friends would do… I trolled BookBub for titles that looked a little like mine, and then I reached out to the indie authors on Facebook with something nice to say about their books.

Not everyone wanted to be my friend, and that’s okay! Some of those people, people to whom I literally send cold messages, replied. Friendships developed out of a few of those kind responses. It was only a few people, but they knew other people.

But even so, I was never asked to join author group promos.

In fact, my friend Elana and I were both talking, way back, about how neither of us were ever invited to join any! It can feel a little discouraging, but instead of wallowing, we decided to take matters into our own hands. While I was at a writing conference, I sat down with Elana and brainstormed some promo ideas. Right then and there, we started putting together our first joint promo.



Now we set up joint promos every other month or so. (You have to pick a pace that won’t burn you out!) I strongly recommend that you keep things simple. Don’t get too complex with your ideas, especially at first. If you’re thinking that you have no idea how to set up a promo, that’s fine!

Here are some basic steps:

Step one:

Choose a goal for the promo. Are you wanting to grow your newsletter? Do you want to sell more books? Are you hoping to draw attention to your brand? Where do you most want to grow?

Step two:

Once you know WHAT you want to accomplish, you have to think about the logistics of how you’ll do it. You can use Bookfunnel, or you can use price setting tools on Nook, or even their coupon option. What you choose to do will need to tie with your goal. So for instance, if you wanted to reach new customers, a free book one on a series might be a good way to draw people in. You could offer it on BookFunnel, OR you could set a price drop on Nook. One of the great things about doing it on Nook is that while making it free for the promo, you might find other readers organically at the same time.

You’ll also want to choose a period of time that makes sense for you. One day, one week, or one month can all work, as long as you have a plan in place for the WHY.

Step three:

Decide what exactly you’re asking people to do. Are they simply sharing in their newsletter? How often? In what way? Some authors will include half a dozen things in their newsletter, often burying some things at the bottom. If you want a solo send, or if you want the promo to be featured, you need to be specific. What social media do you expect them to use? A reel? An image? Who’s making the images? Think these things through before you reach out to people, or you’ll look disorganized, and people may not want to join.

Step four:

Choose the people who are involved. You can be super open and inclusive by posting about the promo in author groups, or you can be selective and curate the authors who participate. The more open you are, the easier it is to find people, but the more time you put into finding people, the better the books may fit yours. When your goal is to find new readers, the similarity between books shared is important. You may also find authors with larger followings by reaching out to people individually.

Step five:

Be clear with your expectations, and follow up with the people who are participating to have the most success. Once it’s done, thank the others who participated with you.

Step six:

Assess how smoothly it went, how great the results, and find ways to improve for the next promo. I’ll also just note that it’s often good to change up which authors you promote with, because each of you will have different followings. You can reach more readers if you have some diversity on your joint promos.

There are lots of other promotions you can do, such as jointly written projects, shared launches, etc. So once you’ve set up a promo or two, branch out and try some new things! You might be shocked how helpful they can be.



But make sure that as you foster these author relationships, it’s not all about the “get” for you. Developing author friends can be used for a whole host of things that aren’t just sales. When times are turbulent, they will understand. Then, when things happen that you don’t expect, they can offer advice. And when you need a shoulder to cry on because a launch flopped, they’ll pat your back. Being an author can be a solitary endeavor, and it often is, but as you reach out to other authors in your genre, you may find that you gain a lot more than boosted sales. You may find that you’ve made a new best friend. And that, my fellow authors, is priceless.


About Bridget E. Baker:

Bridget won her first writing contest in second grade with a story about a day in the life of a little spot of air. (Who says you need a good hook?)

She hasn’t stopped writing (or talking) since then, although she was briefly derailed by her pursuit of a legal career. Ultimately, boring words, well, bored her. She quit her job to spend less time counting gobs of ill gotten gains and more time writing stories.

Bridget knows she should pick one genre and write within it, but she can’t seem to choose. With her love of all words, she imagines stories set on Earth as we know it, stories set on Earth as it might be, and stories set on Earth as it might become. She imagines teens ready to take on the world, adults ready to throw in the towel, and everything in between.

Bridget loves her husband and all five of her kids (most days). She has a Border Collie with boundless energy, three amazing quarter horses, backyard chickens, lion’s head rabbits, and two demanding cats. Every day is a balance between playing with kids, riding her horse Leo, helping legal clients, and writing. If her publication speed has slowed down, you can blame the kids and the horse.

She makes cookies all the time, and thinks they should have their own food group. In a possibly misguided attempt at evening the scales between over-consumption and exertion, she kick boxes every day. So if you don’t like her kids, her cookies, or her books, maybe don’t tell her in person.


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