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This is part two of an ongoing series in which I identify key skills and aptitudes which I have found necessary in order to have the best chance of succeeding as a self publisher or indie micro publisher. These articles are based on both my professional training as an author, editor and commercial artist, and my experiences in the industry, running my company for the last 5 years. They are not intended to refer to any particular individual without permission, and are merely my opinion. Please read lots of opinions and only use mine if they resonate with you.

I really believe in the power of indie authors to be great, and carve out a place of respect for themselves in the market and among their peers. But, to do that, we all must engage in a process of continuous self-improvement and learning about quality and industry best practices. I am still in this process myself, but I would also like to reach out and help those newer to the community. The better you do, the better we all do. It’s time to raise the standard and earn respect for everyone!

There’s been a lot of great feedback on this series already, and some of it has been positively inspiring!

After writing Unsolicited Indie Advice, Part One: The Dunning-Kruger Effect and the Novice Publisher, I was left thinking about one of my points of advice. In it, I advised novice publishers to beware working with family or friends due to the high probability that either a) they’re not qualified, or b) you’ll quarrel at some point over terms and lose a relationship that is more important than your business.

This advice is still sound, and something that new people need to hear. But, I think that a little bit of clarification is in order. After writing the article, I sat back and thought of all of the wonderful people that I currently do business with, and genuinely consider friends. I belong to a wonderful community of local writers that respect and support each other. So, how is this relationship different from the one I described in Part One?

The answer is about attitude. Professional friendships can be as real and lasting as any other friendship, but they generally start with networking. Meeting like-minded friends through networking is very different from the square-peg-in-round-hole method of trying to make existing family and friends fit your vision.

So, the next two articles in the series are about networking with other publishing professionals, and how to make it work for you.

Common Problems of Indie Publishers Who Need Better Networking Skills:

1. You know there must be events out there for authors like you, but you’re not sure where to look, or who to ask.

Some communities have better advertisement for their events than others, but networking is a great way to tap into more events, and hear about opportunities you might want to be a part of. It’s also a great way to share knowledge about how others are being treated at certain events, and what is available.

2. You know where the events are, but they seem beyond your reach, due to lack of funds, equipment or enough titles to fill a table.

Once you find some like-minded individuals, it’s easier to team up to fill out tables, share equipment and reduce fees. This works out better for everyone, and you’ll be surprised how quickly that event that seemed out of reach becomes affordable with a little teamwork!

3. You’ve read every article you can find online, but there still seem to be huge aspects of the business that elude you in practice.

Speaking to real people who are making their businesses work in your local area can give you a wealth of information about your local market, sales, and the kind of best practices that can really pull up a whole community of indie publishers through knowledge-sharing.

4. You feel isolated, like no one around you supports your choice to start a publishing business, or working on your titles feels like an uphill battle that you’re fighting alone.

It can be very tiring and de-motivating to feel like you’re having to go it alone. Connecting with people who are doing the same things can provide a source of encouragement for all involved, and be a ready source of inspiration when you all brainstorm together.

If these problems feel familiar, you might want to try brushing up on your networking skills. In the next article, I’ll give my best tips for growing a supportive network of friends that share your vision.

If you liked this article, why not check out the earlier posts in the series?

Part One: The Dunning-Kruger Effect and the Novice Publisher

Part One Continued: Dunning-Kruger, Part Two-ger

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