One of the best things you can do as an indie is network. Get to know the people in the field you’re entering. This is great advice for any field you enter. If you don’t have contacts in the field you would like to get into, then how the heck is anyone going to vouch for you or keep an eye out for an opening for you? Nobody knows if you’re qualified, or even if you’re any good.
Self-publishing is no different when it comes to networking. Some of your biggest supporters will be other self-publishers who get it. They understand the pain and struggle that is producing a novel and getting a professional cover and fussing with the various platforms in which you publish. I know that personally I have a more vested interest in self-published books because I got to know the authors. (Yet another perk of self-pubbing.)
One of the best sites to network is a forum called KBoards. This website is not only for authors, but also for readers. However, if you check out the Writer’s Café, you’ll see all kinds of posts from self-publishers who are experienced and those who aren’t. It’s a great resource and I’ve certainly learned a lot from the website and from the trials and tribulations of other indie authors. Learn from their mistakes and when you mess up, post your experience so others don’t make the same mistake.
KBoards is an excellent place to get new ideas about marketing, promotion, blogging, what genre sells and in what format (novel, novella, short story, serial, etc.). It’s also a great place to learn about new things that are happening in the industry. Kindle Unlimited and preorders on Amazon were hot-topic items a few months ago.
Like I said before, this is a great place to interact with and share the experiences of other authors. If you have a question, post it and you will very likely get an answer, no matter how silly the question may sound. Eventually, you will learn the ropes and will be the one helping other newbie authors instead of asking questions like a newbie author.
However, KBoards does have a dark side… (Dun dun dun…)
One of the things I’ve noticed and can’t get over is that sometimes when you pose a question or make a statement, the outcome is a little left-of-center than what you were looking for. Maybe some people are lazy and don’t read the entire original post before posting their response. Nothing wrong with that, but if someone comments on the response and another person comments on that response, eventually the whole thing gets blown up and you’re left reading a bunch of opinions on what authors think is the secret (nobody actually knows the secret…) and not getting the answer you were looking for.
Something else to watch out for are the methods some authors use to get a growth in sales. While some may be very beneficial, you need to distinguish between what’s a publishing strategy and what’s a tactic. You want to follow strategies, those are forever. Tactics only work for a period of time and you don’t want to base your whole publishing career off something that could implode at any minute. For example, creating funnels–no risk buys such as free books up front and then leading them to bigger, more expensive purchases–is a strategy. Using KDP Select to get a boost in sales after having a free period is a tactic (Amazon since changed their algorithms so a Select free book doesn’t rank in paid rankings, so this tactic doesn’t even work anymore…). (Thanks to Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt for this paragraph. Check out their book, Write. Publish. Repeat.: The No-Luck Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success)
The important thing to do when visiting forums like KBoards is to keep in mind that everyone has a different opinion. Everyone writes different books. Everyone markets differently. Everyone has a different amount of time they’re willing to commit to publishing. Sometimes it’s purely luck that your book launch was a success. Your promos lined up perfectly with the right audience and one thing led to another and soon Amazon was including it in a promo email and other blogs and writers were advertising it and you got a nice fat paycheck. Ch-ching!