Authors want success. They crave 5-star reviews. They dream about fat royalty checks, and heartfelt notes written by dedicated fans.
Children, I don’t want to lie to you. Sure, we’ve all heard the stories of overnight success. But for most of us, the path to visibility (and hard, cold cash) is a tough slog. You must build a well-received backlist of titles, and find reviewers for your book(s). You must persevere, advertise, cultivate relationships with book bloggers, hone your storytelling gifts and…wait for it…connect with other authors.
When I started out in 2011, I ran into Molly Greene, Barb Drozdowich and Frederick Brooke on Twitter. We hit it off immediately, had read and loved each other’s books, and that initial connection led to conversations with Martha Bourke, Rachel Thompson, and Helen Hanson. Soon BestSelling Reads was born. We began BSR with two objectives: feature books with great review scores and, not incidentally, invite authors into the group who scored high on the “niceness” scale (Toby Neal and Scott Bury immediately came to mind) because we weren’t interested in promoting writers with massive egos.
Around the same time (2012) I joined The Independent Author Network and met the multi-talented Kathleen Valentine (Kathleen designed the cover art for The Shell Keeper and my upcoming series, Heavenscribe). A few months later (and thanks to the kindness of Naomi Blackburn) I was accepted into The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book on Goodreads where I met many readers who went on to join my private reader group. Naomi, thinking my books were similar in tone and theme to works by Bette Lee Crosby, introduced us. Through Bette, I met Diane Capri, Steena Holmes, Jillian Dodd and Patricia Sands.
The point I’m trying to make? Each new contact sparked the sharing of ideas, new intel on the daily changes in indie publishing and the camaraderie we all crave when we work jobs in a self-imposed solitary confinement. I began using BookBub when ads cost $15 because Martha Bourke kindly shared the site after she stumbled upon it. When I encountered problems with a graphic designer, Diane Capri offered sage advice, and Steena Holmes–over a weekend, no less–redesigned cover art for several of my novels.
While it’s true there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever make oodles of money by publishing, you increase the chances of success by connecting with other career novelists. I can’t stress this enough: if you aren’t reaching out to other authors by joining professional organizations, and by connecting on Twitter and Facebook, get started now.
That sort of “connect early and well” strategy explains how I became one of the debut authors for last week’s launch of Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World. Toby put the word out to several authors she knew, and I jumped at the chance to participate. I’ve now become friends with a new batch of authors; you’ll find their Lei Crime KW releases here and my novella here. Btw, if you’ve never read Toby’s superb Lei Crime series, you’ll find it here.
My own professional connections now stretched across the world, thanks to The Alliance of Independent Authors. This week ALLi will host IndieReCon, a free virtual conference for author-publishers. I strongly urge you to listen to at least some of the taped sessions. We’ll also host three live Twitter chats with the #IndieReCon hashtag:
April 15 10:00 AM EDT / 2:00 PM GMT / 3:00 PM London
April 16: 12:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM GMT / 5:00 PM London
April 17: 9:00 AM EDT / 1:00 PM GMT / 2:00 PM London
Whatever your long-term goals, don’t go it alone. The more you connect with other members of the indie tribe, the faster you’ll meet–and succeed–your goals.