Does Encouragement equal Support for #IndiePub Authors?

I recently read post by fellow blogger Andrew Leon, Encouragement Does not Equal Support. He is talking about providing encouragement/ support to Indie authors:

“Encouragement is nothing more than patting someone on the back and saying “good luck.” It really doesn’t take anything to do. There’s no real effort involved. Now, don’t get me wrong; encouragement can be nice: It feels good, but, really, it’s completely insubstantial. It doesn’t do anything real.

Support requires an effort. To put it in another context, support is more than just wishing fellow authors “best of luck” with their releases. Support is more than just cover reveals and blog hops. Support is more than just adding someone’s book to your “to read” list on Goodreads….Actual support is buying the books of your author friends…..Actual support is reading the books that you’ve picked up from your friends…Actual support is, after having read someone’s indie release, leaving a review. A real review.”

Authors review authors on Amazon
Authors Reviewing Authors?

I agree with the post, and I think if you’re a reader or a writer (a majority of this blog’s audience) you ought to go read it.

I try, whenever I can, to feature authors on my blog, interview them, and of course, do cover reveals and such. But as Andrew rightly points out, this is hardly enough.

I do buy books by fellow authors, read them too.

I share their books on social media and feature both the authors and their books on my blogs. But I’ve stopped short of doing a review. I’m terrified of reviewing author friends– I could write a balanced review and probably not offend any of my excellent blog friends. But then, I could. So I do everything I possibly can, other than write a review. I know some of them left me a review on the ebook I published in 2011, and I sometimes feel guilty for not leaving a review in return. I do whatever else I can, by sharing them on social media and buying/ gifting their books.

I don’t know whether I fall short of support, but to me, blogging and my online life is a pleasure, and I wouldn’t want to do anything that jeopardizes my online friendships. I’ve read other authors who agree with my POV. For the foreseeable future, this will be my (guilt-ridden, but firm) stance. Let me know yours in the comments– as always your comments teach me new perspectives, and I look forward to learning from you.


As part of my pledge in my A to Z Reflections post, I’ll feature three bloggers on each post, Bloggers I Recommend Visiting:

Anna Tan: A dear Malaysian blog friend, and editor of the bestselling Love in Penang. Check out her post promoting another fellow author, the excellent Mimi Barbour.

Jemima Pett: A cherished blog-friend, and author of Bravo Victor, and many other excellent books. Check out her post with her giveaway, and supporting other authors.

Lisa Buie-Collard: A consistent blogger, amazing blog-friend, and charming author. Check out her post on Why Indie Authors Need Editors.

(If you visit these bloggers and leave a comment, I’ll automatically include you in a list of bloggers slated for this feature, or for your posts to be linked, tweeted, promoted on my social media profiles.)


Do you read books by Indie Authors? An Indie author yourself? What is your view of Indie authors reviewing other Indie authors? Do you agree with the article above on ways to Encourage and Support authors? As a reader, how much attention do you pay to a reader review?


Add Yours
  1. julanne

    I use Smashwords and I have tried Wattpad. I’m leaving Wattpad because nearly everthing I’ve looked at is unreadable. I’ve offered help but most of the time they only want the pat on the head. If I think someone has good ideas, imagination, creative writing, but still doesn’t edit I’ll tell them that. Mostly they accept the truth of it. If a piece is a mess I walk away. On the other hand if someone is charging on Smashwords and their book is a mess I put a warning in the comments so others will know before they choose it. Causes outbursts sometimes, but people need to know. If a piece is free then so be it. Mind you, I’ve found some fabulous stuff that is up for free, perfectly readable, imaginative, edited. Then I put up all the praise I can think of. ps, I’m not a writer at all.


  2. Celine Jeanjean

    Have you maybe tried writing a review but sending it to your friends first so they can decide if they want it out there?
    Reviews are tough to write – for some reason I find Beta Reading critiques easy but reviews so hard to do. I tend to only write reviews if they’re good and not reviewing when it’s bad – I keep thinking how awful it must be to get drop kicked in the heart with a 1 star review (whether I know the writer or not)


  3. sdneeve1

    Quite an interesting post. I’m an indie author and I wouldn’t be adverse to either encouragement or support. Sure, I’d be crazy not to say I wouldn’t mind people buying, or even reviewing my books, but I’d love to get the odd “you can do it” too. Something I haven’t got from my own family since my father died when I was 16. Not that anyone except my father ever gave any kind of support. So yes, I’m definitely for both.

    As to being an indie author, I’m just a tadpole in a pond full of frogs. There are so many of us, that it’s hard to get your voice heard. Okay, so I’m not much of a shouter. For me, the hardest part is to say “look at me, I’m over here!”, but it is also equally hard to compete with indie’s who have already made a name for themselves. But I’ll keep at it, and if anyone wants to drop by and offer a few words of encouragement, I loved to meet you.


  4. cathatch1718

    You know, there are remarkable things that just a little slip of positivity can do. As an educator, it is often paramount that I step forward and tell my students that they’re doing well, because, if they believe that they are, the y most often will be. It all runs back to that line of “if you here it enough, you’ll start to believe it, and then it becomes true.” Jane Elliot did a study with her children and told them that the color of their eyes influenced how intelligent and capable they actually were. When the kids believed they were better, they actually achieved higher scores, better results, and more confidence as a whole. Positive reinforcement is necessary, regardless. “There is no greater power than the human soul set aflame.” says Ferdinand Fotch. And there is no greater match than the spark of a smile.


  5. barn7777

    I’m not a published writer of any sort yet, though that is my goal. I actually am currently reading a story from a friend, more for feedback, but definitely find it an interesting read. As I now start blogging and getting to know other writers, showing support through reviews, posts, announcements, and buying, is something I would like to do. I think all writers should think about this. Good post!


  6. shunpwrites

    Definitely food for thought. I always joke that I had to get rid of my feelings when I got married, but in lieu of feelings being caught up in the equation I certainly can sympathize with your stance.

    A couple of months ago, I was in a fiction writing workshop and I had a piece that I was working on ravaged by one of my peers. Instead of being offended, I found it quite useful.

    Thanks for putting this out into the world÷


    • Damyanti

      I guess, the difference between being ripped apart by a peer group and in front of the public (all potential readers) is huge. Rare is the writer who can take public criticism. I like being critiqued, and find it useful, but I would be lying if I say it leaves me completely untouched emotionally. I’ve just learned to distance the emotion, and take waht is useful– and above all, appreciate the time of the person who has read and given feedback.

      While doing a public review of a person I know online, I can’t be sure they have learned the above trick, nor do I want to hurt their sales, even in a minuscule way. I guess I need to grow up a bit, but until such time as I do, I have to stick by my stand of not reviewing anyone I know.


      • shunpwrites

        You definitely make a great point. Admittedly, I was kind of pissed (still am) at his/her 2 cents, ironically they didn’t have the decency to own up to their comments. We are what we write and it is only natural for us to want our feelings considered.


      • Holly Jahangiri

        The problem here is that a book review is not the same as a workshop critique. But authors seem to think it is – regardless of whether they are giving or receiving. Here’s the thing: A review on Amazon is GUIDANCE TO BUYERS. It’s not about the author, but does help to draw attention to the book and is free promotion – a true gift, in that, and I’d argue that promotion is promotion, so not all reviews have to be 5-star reviews to help sales. I’d hope they were HONEST, THOUGHTFUL reviews that reflected thoughts on reading the work in question – not just a few hastily penned lines after riffling through “Surprise me!” on

        BUT – it is not the time for “constructive criticism” from one author to another. The book is published. It’s done. This is the difference between telling a woman who is trying on a dress in the shop, “That dress does nothing for you. It makes you look frumpy and the color only makes you look sickly. That green one, over there, brings out the color in your eyes and has a much more flattering cut…” vs telling her the same thing when she’s wearing the awful dress at a party, just before she goes on stage to receive a professional award. The first is helpful, because she can do something about it (buy a different outfit); the second serves only to erode her confidence and make her wish she could take it all back and not get out of bed – it taints the whole evening.

        The book criticism is fine – IF it’s directed at the reader: “If you love the idea of true love at first sight, without there ever being any meaningful dialogue that might lead to a meeting of the minds, then this book will provide the sort of treacly romantic entertainment you’re looking for. It’s a great summer beach read – the kind of book you can pick up and immediately put back down the minute a gnarly wave calls your name.” :) Just as snarky, but fully cognizant of the fact that it’s too late to rewrite THIS book, and leaves the author – the author’s writing and personality and future books and qualifications to write them – well out of it. It’s not exactly a glowing endorsement, but it’s not PERSONAL. And the only time typos and grammatical errors need to be mentioned in a book review is if the story cannot overcome them – but rather than assume they are the author’s fault, you could say, “poorly edited, rife with mechanical speedbumps, but perhaps that kept me from tearing through the story so fast that I missed all the subtleties of character development.”


  7. Lorraine Marie Reguly

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I’m both a supporter and an encourager. I also commented on all three posts. I even entered a giveaway. ;) Nicely promoted. I could use a friend like you to help me with one of these someday… especially after my book of short stories is released!

    The latter will happen soon, I think. I’m inches away from publication!


  8. Holly Jahangiri

    I struggle with it, myself – leaving reviews, that is. On the other hand, reviews are essential to getting noticed and to helping buyers decide whether the book might be worth buying and reading, or giving as a gift. Reviews do not have to be 5-star or nothing. (1-star reviews are much more buyer-friendly than author friendly, but you’re still doing SOMEONE a service, if it’s a fair assessment of the quality of a book in your opinion, and you’re willing to put your name to it.) Reviews, seriously, are for buyers. They’re not there to encourage or pat the author on the head. Honest, fair, and balanced are what I hope for when people review my books. And you’re more than welcome to take a crack at them… ;)


    • Holly Jahangiri

      P.S. I should add that one reason I hesitate to leave reviews is that some of my fellow authors (and friends) are very sensitive and dread criticism. I know that what SOME of them want is “positive reviews only!” And I can’t PROMISE that. I prefer to buy books by friends and review books by strangers, unless I know that those friends are thick-skinned.


      • Damyanti

        You summarised my feelings on the topic of reviews. I’d rather not talk about my honest feelings about a book– a writer is usually so involved in it for such a long time, that any criticism, however valid, and however tactfully put, can hurt.

        To me, I know what it costs to write a book. I’d rather not do a review.

        In fact, I’m considering gifting books by some indie authors I like to others, bloggers on various topics– readers mostly. Wondering how to start it off.


        • Maggie Wilson

          Late to the party, but came here via Bemuzin’s post today.

          I recently read a published work of one of my blog-mates, and a manuscript of another. Both were memoirs, and both invited me to “tell me what you think.”

          The book was just OK. The MS read more like the bullet points for an annual Christmas letter.

          I agonized over what to tell these women. To find flaws in the work would translate to finding flaws in their lives. As a matter of fact, when I pointed out to the second author that I longed for a meatier, more fleshed out story, she curtly replied, “I’m well aware of flaws, thank you.”

          So, new policy, no more feedback from me. The relationship is more important. Besides which, I do not “do delicate” or “tiptoe” all that well.


    • Andrew

      That’s actually a good thing to point out: Reviews help the author, but they are -for- the buyer. From that standpoint, the review should always be focused toward the buyer.


          • Damyanti

            I hope to have that courage some day.

            At present, I keep my opinions to myself.

            Based on this post, and the one on my other blog where I asked for links of published books by indies, I’m planning to start buying copies of indie books and passing on those that I like to friends, and other bloggers.

            As I said in a comment before, I’d love to find out how to gift an ebook.

            If I buy an ebook, like it, think of someone who might like it too, how do I gift it to them?


  9. anndawson5

    I think for some, myself included, reviewing was more of a, “I’m afraid to be too critical” issue. I’ve gotten better over the years and feel more confident in reviewing and blogging. I do support, review and recommend authors I enjoy. I see how important it has become in this social media age.


    • Damyanti

      I hope to follow your example as I grow as a writer. I’m a pretty versatile, obsessive and unforgiving reader, which is why I’m terrified of expressing my opinions most of the time.


I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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