Spring has arrived in most of the northern hemisphere, and with it comes an exciting event for indie authors: #IndieApril. In this guide, I’ll explain how to make the most of this month-long Twitter celebration of indie authors.
- The concept behind #IndieApril
- Two ways to participate in #IndieApril
- Best practices for pitching your book during #IndieApril (and on Twitter in general)
By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll be ready to get on Twitter and start pitching your book!
What is #IndieApril?
#IndieApril is a month-long event where people commit to buying, reading and sharing indie books on Twitter. The first one started with a single thread in 2019 and quickly ballooned to one of the most popular Twitter events I’ve seen in the publishing community. Indie authors, reviewers, and readers came together to support and celebrate books by self published and small press authors.
The pandemic has slowed #IndieApril down in the past two years, but it’s still happening. You’ll find new threads of people looking for indie books every day.
How to participate in #IndieApril
There are two ways to participate in #IndieApril:
- Buy some indie books. Post a thread saying you’re going to buy some indie books and ask authors to pitch theirs. This is a great way to support the indie community, find great new books, and connect with new authors. You can also pitch your own book as a response to the original tweet.
- Pitch your book. Search the #IndieApril tag for threads of people looking to purchase a book or three. Respond with a tag line, a note about the genre of your work, and a quick “thank you”.
I strongly encourage participating in both ways if you can afford it. Our community is strongest when we support each other, and that means buying each other’s books!
Best practices for #IndieApril pitches
There are a few rules you can follow to increase your odds of selling books through #IndieApril threads – and even sell books on Twitter year-round:
1. Use a tag line
Catch readers’ attention with a tag line that shows them both what your story is about and what your writing style is like. Your tag line should establish your main character, the primary conflict of the story, and the main genre.
Your tag line also needs to be short. I recommend keeping the tag line under 140 characters. This lets you use the other 140 characters to address important things that don’t fit in the tag line and, of course, to post your link.
To give you an example, this is the tag line I use for my novel, Moonshadow’s Guardian:
My tag line is a little bit over 140 characters, but it still leaves room for a thank you and one or two short hashtags (we’ll talk about those a bit later).
You can also scroll through my #IndieApril thread from last week to see more excellent tag lines or grab a copy of Branding For Fiction Authors to access a worksheet that will help you build effective tag lines for each of your books.
2. Include the #IndieApril hashtag
When your pitch includes the #IndieApril hashtag, it will be visible to anyone searching for #IndieApril on Twitter, not just the person whose buy thread you’re responding to.
3. Consider other hashtags related to your story
A broader set of hashtags makes your pitch available to a wider audience. You can generate a list of relevant keywords for your genre using the free Hashtagify tool. You may also want to use other popular hashtags for indie authors, such as:
New hashtags are always popping up in the community, so pay attention to what your fellow authors are using too!
4. Include a universal link
If people are directed to the wrong Amazon marketplace, they’ll typically close the window without a second thought. This means you’re losing money every time you post a local Amazon link. You can use a free tool like Booklinker to create a link that will automatically direct people to the correct Amazon link.
If you’re published wide, you can create a universal link with Books2Read. This link will automatically refer people to their preferred bookseller. If that is Amazon, the person will be directed to the correct Amazon site for their location.
5. Thank the people reading your pitch
Supporting indie authors is awesome, and we want to encourage that behavior! If you don’t have a lot of room, a simple “Thanks” will do, but I like to go for the full “Thanks for supporting indie authors!”
6. Share other authors’ pitches
#IndieApril isn’t just about sales; it’s about community. Retweeting pitches you like is a great way to form connections with authors who write books similar to yours. Most authors will also return the favor, sharing your book with their audience.
7. Don’t spam the hashtag
Space your #IndieApril pitches out over the course of a day. If you respond to several threads in a few minutes, only use the #IndieApril hashtag on one of them. If you want to create a thread sharing your own books, only use the hashtag in the first and final tweets. Using the hashtag to the point of making others’ posts disappear is, frankly, annoying for people who want to support as many authors as possible with their #IndieApril funds. It also dishonors the community spirit of the event.
8. Keep your pitches!
Keep all of your pitches in a Google Document or other file. You’ll want to use them again next #IndieApril, and you might even have an opportunity to use them before then.
Final advice on #IndieApril
#IndieApril is a great way to connect with other indie authors, find great books to read, and even sell a few on your own. Remember to be courteous and support others as much as you expect to be supported throughout the event, and most of all, have fun! This is a celebration of all the hard work indie authors do, and you deserve to enjoy it.
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