Indie authors have to wear more hats than the average author (although I have seen some major changes in online promotions lately from traditionally published authors. They might as well jump on our social media bandwagon, right?) Anywho, we’ve talked about the importance of having building an online platform and making connections and having a group of writer buds. I want to stress today the importance of having a reliable community to turn to and to not be scared to back out of a group or from a particular person if they’re not pulling their weight.
I know a great indie author, who shall remain nameless, that was publishing a new book. To help promote the book, they searched and found someone who ran blog hops. The blogger was contacted, a hop was set up and they took care of contacting other bloggers to participate and played the middle man, so to speak. Time came for the blog hop to run and there were all sorts of issues: broken images in posts, changing the type of posts they said they’d write, not posting at all, etc. A regular ole cluster&*ck.
Obviously, this is frustrating both to the author and the person hosting the hop. I don’t know how well the blogger knew the other posters, if they’ve worked with them before, but those unreliable folks just made the hop runner look bad and the author will probably not look to go back to them for their next release. We all know things come up and shit happens and there are legitimate reasons why things can’t get done, but a quick email is super helpful in those kinds of situations.
Alternatives for the author? Take the time to get to know book bloggers/reviewers and make connections so you can hand pick those participating in the hop. If you know them to be reliable, you’ll have better results. Time consuming and a lot of work scheduling everyone/thing but it’s the price you have to pay if you want it done right. It’s either that, or shell out the bucks for a promo company that specializes in such things. There are some great ones out there, but they’re not cheap.
One also has to weed through the tons of other indie authors on Twitter and Facebook and in forums, to find some who write novels similar to your own. Someone who is willing to read a rough draft, do some editing, help when you’re stuck, etc. You will probably find tons willing to help, but they’re not all going to live up to the same standards as you. There will be some eager to swap and you, being the nice friendly person you are, will do the reading for them and then they neeeever quite seem to get to your stuff. Suddenly they are too busy on their own projects. Yes it happens, but like all friendships and relationships, if it’s going to be a one way street, you need to get off at the next exit and look for a better rest stop. This doesn’t necessarily make the other person bad, we all know how one can get sucked into a project and have a deadline or whatever, but those are things to think of before offering to reciprocate for someone. I have a couple great people I know I can rely on, but there are others I had to break away from. I still support them in other ways, help retweet their posts, share release info, etc. but I won’t read stuff for them anymore unless I really have the time and don’t mind doing it. I just know better now not to expect the same in return.
The same thing with beta readers. There are plenty of people out there willing to read your book for you, but many will end up not following through, or deciding they don’t like it/it’s not for them and they’ll drop off the face of the Earth before letting you know that. Some will offer to read and post reviews and it never happens. Sometimes a gentle nudging reminder is all it takes (people do get busy and caught up) but again if someone doesn’t it like it, they might feel bad and not want to do a review, even if you told them you’re fine with any honest review.
People think writing is a solitary kind of job, but it encompasses so much more, involves so many other people. It takes time and patience, trial and error to find the perfect group of folks. These people help make your book the perfect product so why suffer through with people who aren’t as interested as you in getting your work out there.
What are your suggestions for finding the right people to be a part of your online writing community?