It’s often said that writing is a lonely profession, that can feel even more true when you are on a self-publishing endeavour. Many people have stressed the importance of getting an editor and cover designer on board, and I can’t emphasize their value enough, but there are other relationships that I have found just as vital that are available to everyone, no matter what their publishing budget is.
Find someone who enjoys your work
This can be absolutely anyone, just someone that will ask you what you’ve been writing, if you’re staying on track with your goals, whether you’ve done that promotion you were talking about. It’s easy to put things off or let them slide when you’re your own boss, but when you ask someone to make you accountable you find you are much more likely to stay on track- especially if they really want to read more from you!
My sister receives a copy of every chapter I write as I finish it, she is incredible at giving feedback and real-time suggestions as I work. I really appreciate how much effort she puts into helping me improve and she’s always asking for the next chapter and getting excited for what will happen later in the series. I daren’t ever stop writing, she wouldn’t let me…
Find other writers
Whether that’s in real life or your virtual one. There are plenty of groups that meet up to discuss each other’s work and share critique, you can join Facebook groups or find an incredible Goodreads community. And sure, do this to further your skills and help to promote each other- but sometimes just talk about what you love doing!
I am part of several groups across Facebook and Goodreads, the feeling of connecting with like-minded individuals is fantastic, as is knowing that they are going through the same process as you. I am blessed in that there are a group of writers at my church, so I get to meet up with them most weeks and talk about all the things that no-one else understands or cares about! When I tell most people that I am an author they ask what my book is about and that’s as far as it goes. But getting to discuss planning and character development and chapter structure with people just as excited about it as me really energises me for the next session. And when you tell someone about your latest struggle and they say ‘me too’ it’s a huge relief and validation.
Find a friend with their own business
Indie authors have so much in common with people that are building their own businesses. We usually both have jobs alongside the passion we are pursuing, we are struggling to find an audience and are dismayed at the lack of interest and support from those closest to us. It doesn’t matter what kind of trade they are in, there will be ways you can build each other up.
I didn’t realise the benefit of this type of relationship until it happened to me by accident, I have a friend that runs a cake business and casually asked one day ‘do people think that because your other job is done from home that it isn’t hard or real work’ and by the enthusiasm in her ‘yes’ response I knew that she understood what I was going through. Now we message each other while we are working- we share our website updates for feedback, she sends me pictures of her kitchen entirely overflowing with cupcakes, I send her snippets of my writing, we have a great time!
Another of my friends has started up a photography business and we’ve had some good conversations about how disappointed we’ve been by the lack of shares or engagement we’ve had on social media by many people we know. Now we actively promote each other and I can guarantee that any time I put something up that’s meaningful to my business (because that is how I see my writing- as a business) it will be those other self-employed people that are the ones to respond. They truly appreciate the struggles we are going through because they are trying to reach their potential customers too.
A support team is made up of many different people and they all contribute in their own way. I think the greatest thing an author can find in a friend is understanding, because when you feel like someone ‘gets you’ then writing isn’t such a lonely profession after all.
NavigatingIndieworld.com’s newsletter editor and author of “Heirs of Power (The Constellation Saga Book 1)”