I became an independent author not because I couldn't publish traditionally, but because I just wanted more control over my own work. I also have enough rejection notices (many of them canned) to fill my house a few times over.
Don't let me get started about the "glass ceiling" and the "gatekeepers of art".
I've been working at the self-promotion game for some time, but lately I realized that I really wasn't doing enough. I could use the excuse that I'm a full time teacher and father of four teens (which is a pretty good excuse), but what it all boils down to is that I'm spending too much time trying to leverage social media and not enough time on real-world, flesh-and-bones networking.
Last weekend I attended a local free comic book convention where I met with several artists and writers, each of them firmly grounded with roots in my home state of Oklahoma. What I discovered is that there are a lot of successful artists and writers right near me who are much more willing to work and collaborate with me than some stranger in New York or California. All of them have the desire to not only promote themselves but promote each other. We all share that commonality.
If you are an indie author (and you probably are if you are reading this blog) the best thing you could do is to reach out to creators in your area. There are probably hundreds of artists right near you who are looking to work with you or at least collaborate and share ideas. Some of them are more successful than you and won't mind helping you get a leg up on the promotion game.
The point is that promoting yourself on Twitter and Facebook or any other social media platform is not the only steps you need to be making. You have to network right within your sphere of influence with people with whom you can actually have face-to-face conversations. This goes beyond joining a writing group (which is good) and requires you to find groups within your city (or nearby city) to plug into.
You might be pleasantly surprised to find a couple of successful artists right in your neighborhood. Usually they are happy to give you advice and pointers to how they became recognized on a more national or global scale. How do they sell so many books? How did they get an agent or find a publisher? How do they market themselves? Find a convention where these local people are guests. I have not had a bad experience with local artists giving me the information I desire. Be ready to allow them to be critical of your current steps and marketing strategy. After all, they have been there and done that.
Ultimately it helps them to help you because you are from the same area. It sparks their happiness to see other artists trying to make a go of it just like they did.
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