Bookshelves 130If you’re part of a family that loves books, here’s a suggestion for how to do good while doing well this holiday season: spend a mere $10 on an Amazon gift card and tuck it in an envelope along with this web address:

As you probably know, there are more than 300,000 self-published books released every year. Many are wonderful, and many are, how to say delicately, not so good. Those that are good can be refreshingly so, and they are almost invariably cheap – the great majority are anywhere between free and $2.99; $4.99 tops.

So if you have someone on your gift list that loves to read but you don’t know what book to buy for them, giving them a $10 gift card instead will allow them to select anywhere from 3 to 10 great eBooks. At the same time, you’ll be supporting the same number of aspiring authors, each of whom has spent a great deal of time learning, honing and sharing their craft. Sounds good, right?

The question, of course, is how will the recipient know which books are not only Indie-authored, but also worth reading. That’s where that web address comes in, and the back story can be found in the welcome message of Paul Ruddock, who founded and maintains the site as his own gift to the Indie Author community. It reads in part as follows:

I’ve created this site and its sister Facebook group of the same name (see link at bottom of page) to promote mutual support among independent writers and authors by way of reading and providing honest and informative reviews of each other’s books. It’s all too easy to assume that a great book will be widely read and reviewed on it’s merits alone, but unfortunately, being a good writer doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with being a good marketeer, promoter, or publicist, and for that reason, I believe a lot of very good books aren’t getting the attention and readership they deserve. My hope is that as the number of members grows, that each member will read and review other members’ books, as well as passing on recommendations for other independently published books they may have read.

The rapidly growing Indie Author community participating at the site, and it’s companion Facebook page (where they learn match up to review each others books), is now over 140. Each of these writers has listed his or her books at the Indie Author site, where Paul has sorted them by genre – 17 categories in all, from Children’s Books through Young Adult to Erotica, with Thrillers, Paranormal/Horror/and Fantasy and much more in between.

Taken together, there are hundreds of books to choose from, with more being added all the time (disclosure: yes, my book is there as well). In each case, the recipient of your gift card will be able to link through to the appropriate Amazon page where they can read the reviews and make their selections.

So if you’d like to save yourself from that last frantic shopping jaunt, lower your carbon footprint, and help some dedicated and worthy people connect with new readers all at the same time, well, what are you waiting for? (Did I mention that web address?  Here it is again), and happy holidays to your and yours.

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