How to find Author / Rightsholder Contact Information for Indie Book Titles

So, you’ve found an indie book title and want to reach out to the Rightsholder? In many cases this will be the author. In which case, where do you find this elusive contact information?

But first… Is this an indie book?

Indie Books are most often defined as those published directly by the author. With the rise  of the online marketplace and print on demand, this is now a very significant and lucrative share of the publishing industry. 

When looking at a book on Amazon, there are several indicators that a book is “Indie.”

Go to the listing page on Amazon, and scroll down to the Product details section.
Check the information next to the “Publisher:” heading.

Product Information Box 

If you see only a date (often in brackets), it is Indie.
The following entries on that line also indicate an Indie rights holder:

  • Independently published
  • CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
  • Lulu Press, Inc
  • IngramSpark

You may see a publisher name there that you don’t recognize. Many authors publish under their own imprint name, and it is often a variation on their own name or something quirky and fun.
To see if this is simply an Indie imprint or a bona-fide publishing house, go to a search engine and type the publisher name exactly as listed on the book product page. If the publisher does not have a website, it’s almost certainly just an Indie imprint name, and you can treat it exactly that way for this purpose.

The Author Bio

The first place to look for the author’s contact information is their Amazon author page, accessible by clicking on the author’s name below the book title. If available, this page may provide a link to the author’s website or include contact details directly.

Book Listing with Author Link 

Most authors have these, although some, less established authors, do not.
It is accessed by clicking on the author’s name, directly below the book title on its listing page. The author’s name should appear in your browser window as an active link. Once clicked, it will take you to their page, if available. From there you click on either “About” or “Read full bio”.

Author Bio

The Author Website

If the author website is listed on the Amazon author page, simply paste the link into your browser.
If not, open the search engine of your choice and type “[FIRST NAME] [LAST NAME] author” into the search field.
Ignore Amazon and Goodreads pages that appear in the search results (for now) and instead look for a domain that might be exclusive to the author (it is usually their name).
If you find a dedicated website, search for a contact page or information on the ‘about’ page or in the site’s footer.
Many author websites do not list an email address, but rather have a simple contact to complete and submit.

Don’t Underestimate Contact Forms!

Many individuals feel disheartened when they find that a website’s contact form is the sole avenue for communication. However, this method of contact is significantly underrated. These forms are specifically designed to circumvent spam and various filters, ensuring that your message is delivered straight to the rightsholder’s inbox. Authors tend to place greater trust in messages that arrive through these designated channels, perceiving them as a gesture of respect for their privacy and preferences. Therefore, employing the use of contact forms stands as a highly effective strategy to directly connect with the rightsholder.

The Facebook Page

If you cannot find a dedicated website for a rights holder, the next approach is to try to find their author Facebook page. 

Head to Facebook, and type their author name exactly as it appears on the Amazon book listing plus the word author into Facebook search. Click to filter results for Pages rather than profiles.
A good indicator to know you have the right page is if the author profile picture on the Facebook page matches that on the Amazon author page.
If you click to view the author page, you should see an “Intro” box on the left hand side. Facebook strongly encourages anyone with a page to add their email address and website to this section.

 

The Goodreads Profile

If you cannot locate a website or Facebook page with contact information, you can sometimes find this information on an author’s Goodreads profile.
Go to your preferred Search Engine and type “[FIRST NAME] [LAST NAME] author Goodreads”. 

Inside the Sample

Failing to find the information using the above methods, the next to try is searching the book sample on Amazon. Go to the book listing and click the “Read sample” button below the book thumbnail. 

Once the sample opens, it usually takes you to the start of the book text. Scroll up to view the copyright page and other front matter. Many indie authors include a link in these sections to either their website or their mailing list subscription page. This can also often be found in a section at the end of the ebook. 

The Mailing List

If the only contact information you can find is a mailing list signup form, do not despair. Go ahead and sign up! You should receive a confirmation or welcome mail. Many mailing list providers specify that all emails sent, including the confirmation, must come from a valid, confirmed email address, and that address is often shown in the email footer. 

Many authors have also trained the spam and other filters to allow through replies to their mailing list emails. 

The Whois Record

Have you found a website, but no contact information or form is shown?
Another avenue, though somewhat of a longshot, is to check the ownership record of a website.
Go to: https://www.whois.com/ and type the domain name of the author’s website.
Checking the Whois record for the author’s website domain can sometimes reveal contact details, though privacy services may obscure this information.

Still no luck?

So, you’ve tried all the options listed above, and can still find no contact information for the author/rights holder, not even a contact form (Don’t underestimate contact forms!) or a mailing list signup.
If after exploring all these avenues you still can’t find contact information, it’s possible the author prefers not to be contacted. While disappointing, it’s important to respect their privacy.
Additionally, if an indie author does not have a website, Facebook page, mailing list, or any other presence online, it shows they are less business and marketing orientated than one might hope. This should be a flag of caution when approaching them with a hope to collaboration.

And, if it is NOT an Indie Book?

What if the book is not indie published, but actually released by an established publishing house?
Go to your search engine and type “[PUBLISHER NAME] Subsidiary Rights” into the search bar. For larger publishers, this should show you the web page with contact information and other useful instructions for an enquiry.

For smaller publishers, you will only find the company contact webpage. Either use the general company contact email, or, if listed, the contact for the person responsible for rights and licensing.

Good luck with your search! Remember that polite,cheerful,  humble, well-researched enquiries usually receive a friendly response. Happy prospecting!