So you want to be an indie author, eh? You poor, poor bastard.
Still here? Okay. Bad news, buttercup: there’s more to life as an indie author than writing. I know, I know. Settle down. Settle d- hey!
It’s not as bad as all that. I promise. There’s people out there in the same boat as you. Also people out there in worse boats. And superyachts. And… uh… I dunno… islands on the backs of turtles. Sorry. the nautical metaphor got away from me. Anyhow, there’s a solution to doing all the other stuff:
You sponge off people who’ve already done it.
You heard me.
Like the fine folks over at 20booksTo50k, find ’em on facebook.
They saved my bacon.
Find peers. Learn from example. Listen. REALLY listen. Like, a lot. And remember to be humble when they give you advice you don’t want because, in your hubros, you think being an artist means you’re just a little bit more right about your stuff than then are.
You’re almost always not.
Important tip: if a criticism, or an editor, or a beta reader pisses you off, I’ll lay 10 to 1 they’re RIGHT.
Once you absorb that nugget, you’re on your way to being a better student of the stuff you don’t know- and the stuff you DO. Experience, practice, and listening skills, baby, just like in school.
And here’s the secret to not pissing off the people who try to help you. This is key, so pay attention. Ready?
They took time out of their own busy shit to help you. So the next time a newbie pops up and asks a question you know the answer to, jump on that fucker. Get involved. Be helpful. Offer to critique. You don’t have TIME for this- you’re a writer, for God’s sake. You need to work on your own stuff.
You wanted help. They helped. And they love the appreciation they SEE when you help others.
Someone helped them, most likely. Or even better, they pioneered a path and helped others find it. Whatever. The point is, they weren’t stingy with their knowledge. It’s not for YOU to be, either.
That’s how you KEEP colleagues and peers and betas and followers and readers.
One of my favorite actors (and indie authors, by the way) coined a phrase that expresses everything I’ve just said, only far more succinctly.