Author Forum Decorum

Hi All!

As many of you who visit my site are new to the self-publishing world, I wanted to touch upon the indie author groups, and how they are run.

I want to also prepare you on how to properly navigate the various author groups on social media and elsewhere. This is important because one wrong move, and you can be banned from participating in, and learning from, some valuable resources.

While I am a member of many various Author and Reader groups (BTW, 20booksto50K® is hands down the best one), I can confidently say that all of the quality groups feature this rule:

  1. No promotions or SPAM

Yes, this means you. You are spamming the group if you post a link to your book. The authors groups are meant for discussion. We are not your readers, and even if we were, I would not buy from someone who plopped a link down and bounced. [Side note: While link posting may be acceptable in some readers (not authors) groups, you need to be careful about how you do it. Build a rapport with people, and wait until someone asks for book recs in your genre. Some groups will host promo days where you can add your book link to a specific thread.] Spamming will likely get you banned from many authors groups. Please do not do it. Also, admins and moderators have seen every trick in the book. I have seen people post a link to their book under the guise of asking a question. It is not worth the risk, and it is likely to do more harm to your reputation and career than good.

2. Search before you ask

There is a search bar at the top of each group where you can search for your topic. Sometimes the info is outdated, sometimes it does not give you the answer you need, or you have a follow-up question. More often than not, your particular topic has been covered before, and you will find more information by searching rather than asking the question again.

3. Think before you post

Try to compose thoughtful questions that might benefit the whole community. For example, instead of asking, “How do I market my book?”,  armed with the knowledge I provided you earlier, you can ask, “Which paid newsletter service for Sci-Fi gives the best ROI?” or “Can anyone recommend a good book on launching strategies?” Asking too broad of a question will yield you too much information. Asking informed questions will get you pointed in the right direction much faster.

4. Be kind, ALWAYS

While coming up with the right cover andblurb for this book, I posted some drafts in a critique group. While I received a lot of great feedback, I also received some feedback that was downright mean (and I cried.)

Now, I will say that you will not always hear what you want to when posting your work/cover/blurb for critique. Please fight the urge to defend yourself or argue with people. I once tried to gently tell a newer group member that publishing a three-page memoir on Amazon is not likely going to yield many sales (also, the minimum page count is 24). I offered her some great suggestions for trade publications to submit her short story to. Other members were being as kind, and quite frankly, she did not like the advice and began to argue with people, some of whom were bestselling authors and were giving her invaluable advice. On the other side of the coin, in my circumstance, people were questioning my qualifications and degrees to write this book.  I went outside of my comfort zone and approached many big names in this industry for permission to use their sites, books, and groups as resources. Not one asked me if I had a degree. A little kindness goes a long way. Please remember that when giving and receiving feedback, there is always a nice way to give criticism.

The best advice I can give regarding this topic is to watch and learn. Take the time to read the group’s rules before you post. Don’t private message and become aggressive with the admins of the group if your post was removed. Behave the way you would if you encountered these people in real life, or at a conference. While the indie space is growing, the major players and the rising stars all frequent the same spaces. Becoming aggressive or blatantly breaking a group’s rules can get you banned from more than one invaluable group.

If you want to come to hang out and “talk shop” please join the Struggling Indie Author Facebook Group. It’s small right now, but I’m hoping to build it up over the next few months. Would you guys rather meet up on discord? I have no idea how to use it, but I’ll try to figure it out if there is interest.

Oh! One last thing, I added some free books to the required reading section of my site. You can check it out here.

For more Indie Author News and information subscribe to The Struggling Indie Author Podcast.

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