So you’re friends with an indie artist, and you want to support them. The problem? You’re not really that *into* what they actually make. What do you do?
It’s not an unusual problem. Maybe your friend makes gorgeous beaded earrings, but you don’t have pierced ears, or they do fantastically detailed sketches of bird bones, and you’re rather squeamish. Your friend writes fantasy books, but you only read sci-fi, or perhaps they run a blog dedicated to the minutiae of camp conditions in the American Civil War and you, uh, aren’t into that.
You admire your friend’s dedication, you think they’re doing a great job, but the fact is–though you agree that a nine-foot-tall gorilla statue made entirely of recycled tires is interesting–your lawn is entirely full.
You still want to help your indie-business friend, though. What do you do?
See, I have this trouble a lot. I’m a writer, and I’m friends online with a lot of other writers. They’re constantly producing and publishing books, books which they’d desperately love me and every other person in the world to read. But 90% of the time, after I read the sample chapters, I realize I’m not interested in those books. I want to support these writers, but I also don’t want to read something I won’t enjoy–nor do I think it will help them if I do.
So I find someone who I know will like it and recommend that book to them. It’s a small thing, and it probably doesn’t sound like much, but it’s everything in the world. I’ve done it with restaurants, with salsa brands, with scented candles; found someone who would like it, and told them about it.
When I post a blog post, I advertise it three places: Twitter, my personal Facebook page, and my Facebook author page. If I have 800 Twitter followers and 90 Facebook followers, my blog post will potentially be seen by about 890 people, but realistically more like twenty, and that’s the end. Like, that’s it. The post is done, game over. If it turns out only three people ever click those link, too bad.
Unless, of course, those three people also clicked the button at the bottom of my blog page and shared it to their own people. Or if on Facebook they hit the “share” button under where they saw the original post.
If you think that doesn’t work, let me tell you right now, I can tell every time someone shares one of my posts. I get a bump in hits–not an insignificant one, either. My hit count literally spikes when you hit that share button.One click and my audience has gone from 900-odd to the same number plus all of your followers and friends. Then one of them clicks and shares…
That goes for every independent artist, writer, and maker of giant gorilla statue. Take for example your friend who sells boutique soaps that you’re allergic to. Obviously their beautiful bars are not going to grace your bathroom–but maybe they’ll go perfectly with your friend’s.
Only, that friend will never know unless you tell them.
Obviously this idea of sharing does have its limits. If your friend hand-make bongs, and you think all types of smoking are disgusting, probably don’t share that. They write hardcore war-fight novels and you are a sworn pacifist morally opposed to any violence, ever? Ditto. If they write passionate pleas about how much they want communism to take over the globe and you’re a staunch royalist, sharing that person’s rants, however well crafted–especially the well-crafted ones–is not something you want to do. Fair enough, that’s a clash in values, leave it alone.
But let me tell you, for an indie artist, whether they’re a painter or a singer or, well, a writer, exposure is the hardest part. Because we can shout what we do as loud as we can, but we’re just one voice. We need people to shout with us.
More specifically, we need you. Yes, you, specifically. For any given indie artist, assume you’re the only one shouting for them. More often than not, you’re right.
You may think that dropping an email to Grandma that your friend sells flocked-velvet pictures of Jeb Bush on the following website doesn’t do much, but it does. Tell your Facebook friends, “These earrings are offbeat, but my friend works really hard on them and I respect her talent.” Mention to the church group that actually, you do know someone who can make a giant felt banner to put behind the alter, and then send them to the website. Find birthday gifts that make a difference to both the receiver and the maker.
Click the share button when you think something is well done, and add that personal connection.
As indies, we know what we make isn’t for everyone. It’s often niche or expensive, or perhaps it’s just starting out and is fledgling-vulnerable.
But we know our audience is out there, if only we can find them. And we can–with a little help from our friends. That’s you, our primary audience.
Without you, we’re nothing. With you? Anything and everything in the world.
If you know an indie work that could use a little love–books, soaps, nine-foot-tall gorilla statues–leave us a link and a blurb below!
I’ll start us off with my own book. What Boys Are Made Of is on the shelves of Amazon, straight through this link! Suspense. Drama. Favorably compared with Faulkner (which I’m still not sure how I feel about). Give it a try.
Thanks for reading and remember, just like you learned in kindergarten: sharing as caring!
[Photo credit to Unsplash on Pixabay, in public domain.]