Self-Publishing – Your Fellow Authors are not Your Enemies – Let’s Help Each Other


As we enter the holiday seasons, I wanted to bring back this post that is one of the first from my blog. I still truly believe the ideas in this post. Let’s help each other out. We’re all on this journey together.

High stress fightIf you are like me, you are aware of the thousands of other authors that are in the self-publishing universe on social media platforms. We all belong to groups on Facebook and we promote our books, blogs, giveaways, and events. We start to see the same names over and over relentlessly touting our work.

As I first entered the self-publishing world, I viewed all of these authors as people that were competing for my readers. I wanted to out-promote and out-sell all of them. Over the past year or so, however, my view has changed. Instead of viewing my fellow authors as competitors, I have come to think of them as fellow pioneers. I selected the word pioneer purposely. Early American pioneers didn’t compete against each other. The amount of land and natural resources available were abundant. Pioneers worked together to build houses and cultivate crops so that they could all survive. If they had competed against each other, it is likely that none would have survived.

Like these early settlers, I believe it is important for self-published authors to work together. Besides writing, I have made it my goal to help authors as much as possible. We are encumbered with a stigma from those in the traditionally published world who perpetuate the notion that our work is not up to the same standard as the work coming out of publishing houses. In many cases, this is not a valid assertion. In some cases, unfortunately, it is true.

So how can we, as self-published authors, help each other? Here are some of the things that I try to do in my quest to pay it forward.

Lessons learned concept on black blackboard

1) Share the lessons I’ve learned – I’m about to publish my third book. The experience of publishing the first book was one that was very daunting. I had no idea how to format my book for the Kindle and paperback platforms. I knew nothing about marketing. I just wasn’t sure what to expect. I read some books (by self-published authors) on how to get started, but a lot of the things that I tried were done on a trial and error basis. I made note of what worked and what didn’t. When it came time to publish my second book, I used some of the techniques that I picked up publishing the first one and it was a much smoother process. I felt like I wanted to share this information with other authors. That is the reason I changed this blog into a weekly post that seeks to help others with their writing and publishing. Starting a blog like this is simple. I highly recommend that other authors do this and occasionally share tips so that we can all improve the craft that we obviously love.

Young woman read book relaxing on sofa

2) Read each other’s work – It is important to read the work of other self-published authors. The first self-published author that I read was Hugh Howey. For those of you that have been under a rock in the self-publishing world, Hugh Howey is the extremely successful standard model for self-published authors. He has made millions with his self-published works and, now that he has gained fame and respect, has doggedly refused to go the traditionally published route. While Hugh Howey is the standard, I make it a point to read work from other self-published authors. I have been pleasantly surprised in some cases and have offered advice in others. On the whole, I think that the assertion that self-published work is of a lower standard is greatly exaggerated.

Sharing Concept

3) Share your resources – There are certain tasks, as self-published authors, that we should concentrate on. Editing, marketing, cover design, etc. are just a few of the common tasks that we all must undertake to ensure the quality of our work. Everyone has different approaches to these things. Some work very well, and others have mixed success. Let’s share our techniques and tools that we use to handle these tasks. We can all benefit. If you have a great cover designer, for instance, there is no benefit to you to keep their identity and talent a secret. Share their name with other authors. Your cover designer will appreciate the work and the growth in reputation and fellow authors will benefit through having nicely designed covers. This same principle is true for sharing editors, beta readers, and outsourced marketing. I now have all of these things that are traditionally provided by publishing houses in place, and I am more than happy to share with other authors.

Multiracial Group of Friends with Hands in Stack, Teamwork4) Make friends with as many authors as possible – Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are excellent forums for you to make friends with your fellow self-published authors. You should trade reviews with them, share tips, and promote their work and interviews through your own social media network. Your readers will thank you for introducing them to other work that they may enjoy and you will all benefit from the combined strength of your networks. There are those short-sighted individuals that will yield their limited power and seek to trash your work. It’s just part of human nature. Like bitter movie or restaurant critics, those who disparage your work are just reflecting their own failures in many cases. The trick is to parse their criticism looking for things that you can act on to improve your work. If you find nothing, then acknowledge the uselessness of their critique and move on. Never, ever respond to a negative critique publicly. All this will do is give validation to the negative review and will make you look defensive.

Advice Help Support And Tips Signpost Showing Information And Guidance5) Help other authors one-on-one – I recently had the pleasure of returning to my hometown. I had the chance to meet with one of my fellow high-school graduates who is also a self-published author. We traded some tips and agreed to read each others books. It was very enjoyable for me to discuss the things I had gone through face-to-face with someone with common experiences. Additionally, I am participating in my first group author event in April. It will involve networking and book signing. I have received a great deal of help from other authors that have gone through these events before in terms of what I need and how I need to prepare.

The bottom line is, we are all in this together. To use a sports analogy, when Michael Jordan played basketball, his presence on the team raised the game of all of his teammates. He wasn’t selfish in using his talent to help others improve their game. We have people like Hugh Howey who can be compared to the Michael Jordan of self-publishing. He is very willing to share his information and help us all raise our game. We should also seek to share our good information. There are plenty of readers willing to consume our work, so we should seek to provide them with the best quality product possible by working together.

As always, your comments and questions are welcome.

57 thoughts on “Self-Publishing – Your Fellow Authors are not Your Enemies – Let’s Help Each Other

  1. Thanks, Don. I wholeheartedly agree. An ‘esprit de corps’ among indie writers is the way to go. A team spirit is needed. I shall act upon this, and I’ll start by sharing this blog. I will also re-read it to get it to become second nature to me.
    We are looked down upon by ‘properly published’ writers and the publishers themselves. Self-published authors are banned from entering competitions.
    Unfortunately, some indie writers don’t agree. Remember the “Sock-puppet ing” scandal a few years back, and John Locke with his phony paid-for reviews.
    I like to think they are in a minority.
    And in the spirit of things, if anyone is seeking a good cover designer, try mine: Killercovers.com.
    Check out my covers and if they please you as much as they do me, check out the site.
    A fine blog, Don. Thanks again.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Self-Publishing – Your Fellow Authors are not Your Enemies – Let’s Help Each Other | tony mcmanus

  3. Great post, Don! In the spirit of sharing, I would like to extend the invitation to visit Reade and Write. I think we discussed it once in the past, but it never happened. Let me know if you’re interested and if you’d rather answer interview questions or do a guest post.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks, Don. I call it our WordPress family, and so many of them share tips and promote each other’s work. I have learned invaluable information and I try to share some of my lessons I’ve learned the hard way. It’s a great community.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I firmly believe in what you say here, Don, and I have always believed it. If I go shopping for shoes I like to look in a few shops before making up my mind. It helps if the shops are close together. I think that by sharing other authors work and giving your readership choice, they will come back again and again to “shop” where they get the choice and read lots of recommendations.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Self-Publishing – Your Fellow Authors are not Your Enemies – Let’s Help Each Other | The Novel: UnHoly Pursuit: Devil on my Trail

  7. Pingback: Author Inspiration and Last Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo

  8. Pingback: Self-Publishing – Your Fellow Authors are not Your Enemies – Let’s Help Each Other ~ Don Massenzio | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  9. Hi Don, An excellent post! I had the pleasure of interviewing you some time ago. You’re really on the up and up…Appreciate your involvement. Interaction is the way to go. We learn from example and each other. Cheers! Here’s to a happy Christmas for you and your lovely family. Joy xx

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is a wonderful, insightful post about something we all need to consider. I have gotten my best advice and also support from fellow authors – I applaud them when they succeed and they do the same for me. Good job, Don!

    Liked by 1 person

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