Okay, so those of you who lurk in the writers’ and readers’ Twitter attic may know that there’s push to support the hashtag #IndieApril. Some of you may like the idea of supporting indie writers but aren’t sure you want to risk your hard-earned cash on an unknown when you could buy another book from someone you already know you like, or at least someone a publisher that you’ve heard of has vetted. I know how you feel (although I’ve been equally disappointed on occasion by both indie and traditionally published books, for what it’s worth.)
Anyway, in honor of #IndieApril, I thought I’d give you a list of ways to try out indie authors for free (without encouraging piracy.)
First one I can think of is one that many people know about, but forget to avail themselves of—the ‘look inside’ feature available on most books on Amazon. You can read a small section of the book before you decide to buy. No, it’s probably not enough to show you if the writer can handle plot structure or bring a plot home with a satisfying and dramatic ending, but it will tell you if they are a competent writer with a style you enjoy and characters you’d like to spend some time with. Just look on Amazon for the novel you’re considering. Go to the product page and click on the ‘look inside’ icon you’ll see near the cover image. If you look closely at the page, you may also see the option to download a sample. Also, for you Kindle Unlimited readers, keep in mind that many indie books are enrolled in that service (almost all of mine are). Authors are paid per read page when you ‘borrow’ a book, so no need to fear that you are somehow depriving the author when you use the service.
Another risk-free place to look for new authors you might like to try is Book Funnel. While some authors use this as a way to vend books for sale, it is also a place you can find authors giving away books and stories as a way to encourage you to give their writing a chance. Sometimes you may have to sign up for their newsletter to get the freebie, but you can always cancel later if you find the author is not to your taste. If you want to see how it all works, try it out here and get a free copy of Raven’s Song, a novella in my award-winning Ravensblood urban fantasy series. (You will have to sign up for my newsletter, but I don’t spam and I try to include deals from other genre authors in each newsletter, as well as exclusive unpublished vignettes and stories from the Ravensblood universe.) Instafreebie/Prolific Works offers a similar service, only readers can browse for new authors or sign up for email notifications.
Another popular way to find free and discounted books is to sign up for BookBub. You will get a daily email of select books, a mix of traditional and indie books curated for quality and filtered to your stated genre preferences. Freebooksy, Bargainbooksy, and Fussy Librarian are lesser-known lists that offer similar services.
So, there you go. You are out of excuses. Go find a promising indie author to try and celebrate #IndieApril!
Shawna Reppert is an award-winning author of fantasy and steampunk who keeps her readers up all night and makes them miss work deadlines. Her fiction asks questions for which there are no easy answers while taking readers on a fine adventure that grips them heart and soul. You can find her work on Amazon and follow her blog on her website (www.Shawna-Reppert.com). You can friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, where she posts an amazing array of geekery. Shawna has on occasion been found in medieval garb on a caparisoned horse, throwing javelins into innocent hay bales that never did anything to her.
(My website is currently undergoing renovations. Please check out my newer, fancier, easier-to-navigate version here in a few days!)