Just before Christmas, a new author asked me how she might get more exposure. I’m sure she was waiting for some social media insights or advertising suggestions. Instead, I introduced her to Marianne Donley, one of my first writing friends.
Thirty-two years ago I published my first novel with Harlequin and joined RWA. The women I met there saw me through three genre changes, five publishers, four agents and the final leap into indie publishing. In those early days I learned that being part of a creative community was not simply important, it was essential to the health of my creative career.
With do-it-yourself publishing all authors – newbies or seasoned writers – are often overwhelmed. We juggle writing, design, formatting and marketing, but if human interaction isn’t a part of the equation our hard work will lack inspiration, depth and heart. In an age where we boast of the number of followers we should be counting our friends.
When I ushered in the 2017, I took a time out. I looked backward and forward and was amazed to find out how truly un-indie I am.Old RWA friends like Marianne, Sandra Paul, Mindy Neff, Angie Ray, Barbara Benedict are still my best writing buddies. No less important are those in my new virtual community – authors like Rick Bard, Brian Drake, Sheldon Siegel, Christine Whitmarsh, Chris Taylor, and Jennifer Chase. I have a superb team that inspires me and helps me create my books: cover designer, Hadleigh O. Charles, marketing expert, Robin Blakely of Creative Center of America, editor, Jenny Jensen of E-Bookeditor.com and formatter Stef McCaid. There are readers and pen pals, Tweeples and Facebook friends, family and neighbors who join in the mix. I am so grateful for them all.
As your year unfolds, remember this: being a successful indie author means being a successful human being. In the coming days reach out, give back, pay attention, get to know the people behind the avatars and the books. Your work will be better for it and so will your heart.
May 2017 be filled with fabulous friends and colleagues, good acquaintances, and admiring readers.