Maybe supporting indie creators during coronavirus is only at the back of your mind. Maybe you can’t even think about it because you’re trying to balance a thousand other things—homeschooling your kids, working from home, balancing your literal or figurative checkbook, or whatever obstacles the new world order has you facing.
Money is tight, and tensions are high. That’s understandable. That’s to be expected, in fact, which is why the majority of my suggestions here will be completely free to you, but will mean the world (or, in some cases, a little extra money) to the indie creators you love.
(And I say indie creators because I tried to keep these suggestions applicable to creators of every medium. If you’re looking to support indie authors specifically, stay with me until the end of this post!)
1. Interact with them on social media.
This goes beyond following them on Instagram, though you definitely should follow your favorite creators on as many platforms as you feel comfortable!
As I’m sure you’re aware, all social media platforms use algorithms to decide who gets to be shown on other people’s timelines. You can help indie creators appease the algorithm by liking and commenting on what they post, sharing their posts to your story (if applicable—just don’t repost!), and posting selfies of you consuming their content.
2. Leave honest reviews, and mark other reviews as helpful.
If you’ve purchased the creator’s works before and didn’t leave a review, now’s the time to get on it! Set aside five minutes—immediately after lunch, or while you’re waiting for the water to heat up for your shower—to write reviews.
I realize that writing reviews can be difficult. Remember that they don’t have to be long or in-depth. I’ve created a few templates for you to follow below if you need some guidance.
- This was fantastic, and I especially enjoyed…
- I enjoyed this, and you might enjoy it too if…
- This isn’t normally my cup of tea, but you might enjoy this if…
- I would compare this to…
Even if you’ve never purchased their work, you can still do your part in supporting indie creators by marking reviews as helpful. This can be done on Amazon, and plenty of other platforms allow you to “like” or “upvote” what others have already said. If a review gave you some insight, mark that review as helpful!
3. Use their affiliate links.
Many indie creators have affiliate links with retailers you would buy from anyway—namely, Amazon. You’re probably buying from Amazon anyway, and it will cost you no more to buy your products through their affiliate link than it would if you didn’t.
If you prefer buying your things elsewhere, there are certainly other retailers in the world doling out affiliate links. For example, Writer’s Atelier has an affiliate link with BookShop.org, which I highly recommend using, of course, being their administrative assistant and all. Don’t be afraid to ask your favorite creator for their affiliate links!
4. Start your free trial.
Audible, Kindle Unlimited, Skillshare, and so many other subscription services offer free trials, and some have extended the lengths of their offers while we’re all stuck inside waiting for the pandemic to ebb. With these free trials subscriptions services, you can access your favorite creator’s content for free and the creator still gets paid. Win-win!
Of course, if you can use a favorite indie creator’s link to get a discount on a service you were planning on signing up for anyway, even better! Once again, don’t be afraid to ask creators if they have links for you to use!
5. Recommend them to friends, family, and social circles.
The next time a family member or friend is asking for recommendations, pipe up and suggest your favorite indie creator. You don’t have to do much more than mention their name or drop a link—they will pursue if they’re interested.
Are you part of any groups, forums, book clubs, or message boards online? I’m sure you are! Search for an “off-topic” thread or discussion and post about your favorite indie creator’s latest work.
If you’re also a creator—or know a few—you can share the resources your favorite creators provide, or mention how helpful they’ve been to you, which could lead others to the products they sell or services they provide. Here is my regularly scheduled namedrop of Eva Deverell and Writer’s Atelier. If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you knew that was coming!
6. Subscribe to their newsletter.
Yes, we all get a lot of email, and our inboxes are already stuffed. I, for one, used to be very picky about subscribing to newsletters. Nowadays, I think of these newsletters as regular reminders that my favorite indie creators exist—which we all need, especially now that there’s so much content available on scores of platforms.
Even if you can’t purchase anything they’re promoting in their newsletter right now, you can still save the emails in a folder and search for them when you do have a little pocket money. Which leads us to my final suggestion…
7. Support them financially.
Buy a YouTuber’s merch. Download an artist’s print from Etsy. Gift an author’s 99¢ book to a friend who loves to read. Donate to a video game streamer on Twitch.
Is an indie creator you know and love on a hiatus, or haven’t finished their first project yet? Become a Patreon Patron or tip them through Ko.Fi, if those are channels they have available to you. Even Facebook Messenger lets you send money to people now. If you can afford it, I bet nothing would make that creator’s day brighter than a dollar or two thrown their way and a note saying, “I believe in you and your work!”
Who are your favorite indie creators?
Let me know in the comments below if you have suggestions for supporting indie creators during coronavirus!
And, if you’re interested, I’ve compiled a list of books from my indie author friends who write in my favorite genres—historical fiction, romance, fantasy, and science fiction.