I’ve met several people online that I consider “writer friends.” Good people with the same ambition as me: get their work out there and in front of people. Hell, maybe make some money and get the word spread. I decided maybe a year ago that I wanted to start supporting indie writers more. I wanted to pick up their books, give reviews when possible, and be that “Support Indie Writing” guy. I’ve since bought dozens of indie books and have even given a handful of reviews. My biggest pitfall though is that I can be a remarkably slow reader. I jump around from book to book even if the book is really good. It’s just something I do. It’s not a habit I like (I want to complete one thing and move on to the next), but it’s who I am at the moment.
If I could, I would buy ten indie books a month, review them all, and tout their awesomeness to the world. There’s one major hitch for me though: I’m also a writer. In most likelihood when I start publishing, I’ll be an indie writer. Of course I want to support people, but I have to also support myself. Part of that means writing as much as humanly possible. It’s hard to do that though when I’m trying to read dozens of books in order to help support other people in the same boat as me.
That’s when I came up with an idea (just now actually): creating your Indie Writer Pool (TM). Is this a place for indie writers to swim and lounge beside? No. It’s a core group of indie writers that you’ll do your damnedest to help out. Think of it as an adoption of sorts. You’re making a commitment to help them out. Sure, it would be great if they reciprocate the favor, but it’s not completely necessary. You want to help them live their dream and every little bit can help sometimes.
Q. So what is an Indie Writer Pool? And how do I make one?
A. An Indie Writer Pool (henceforth referred to as Pool) is a group of writers that you’re pledging to support through:
1. Buying their work.
2. Reviewing it.
3. Helping promote it any way you can.
However, I wouldn’t say all three things have to be done. Some people are notoriously bad at giving reviews. Others may not enjoy a certain book and don’t want to give a review for it. Others just get behind on things and never get around to it. That’s fine. I would say the only important thing is that you do at least two (2) of the things listed about. Buy the book and spread the word. Buy the book and review it. Or if you get it for free for whatever reason, review it and promote it. That’s it. Do your best and I’m sure those writers will appreciate whatever commitment you can make.
Making your Pool can be done a variety of different ways.
1. Completely random. Find writers in a genre (or multiple genres) you like and give them a try.
2. Meet them through groups, forums, or social networks.
3. Build it based off recommendations from other people.
Now some people may say, “Shit, I read super fast and I want to help as many people as possible. So I want ten people in my Pool.” Great. You’re awesome. But you don’t have to do that many. If three is a good starting point, do that. You can always build up your Pool over time.
Q. What if someone in my Pool doesn’t meet my expectations?
A. That’s fine. You can constantly rotate people in and out of your Pool if you want. As long as you make the commitment to help them once you put them in your Pool at least once. Again, most writers understand that their work may not be for you. You don’t have to tell them that necessarily.
Also, you don’t have to tell people that they are in your Pool. This can be your own little secret. Or if you want to shout it from the rooftops, go for it. It’s really up to you how you do it.
One idea may be to have a rotating roster on your Pool on a monthly basis. This allows you to potentially help a wider swath of writers. Or if you want to stay loyal to one group for every book they put out, that’s cool, too. Your Pool is your own and you don’t have to make it any one way.
I believe, for me anyway, that this definitely makes helping out writers more manageable. Maybe some of you are doing this already in different ways. The key is to help out people when you can and how you can. And we all know that many of us still read books from the big publishers. They need your support as well, obviously. But if you want to make a similar Pool for traditionally published authors, that’s rad, too.
Anyway, hope this may help you keep you ducks in a row so to speak. Pay it forward!