“When did you ever learn anything when you were talking?” – Tom Welsh
It’s 11:24 at night and I’m rewriting my post after reading one by a colleague. Do great minds think alike? Yes, I believe this is true. Moreover, it is entirely possible that the active discussions encouraged here at Indies Unlimited have spurred action for and against certain organizations. Freedom of speech is alive and kicking at Indies Unlimited!
So, what should I write about? That’s easy. Listening, observing, and researching are three skills crucial to personal and professional success. These skills are particularly important to newbie authors as you wade through the white noise around you. If you don’t listen carefully, observe the interactions of peers, and research before you make critical decisions you may find yourself surrounded by naysayers and scam artists.
Newbies have one definite advantage over some tenured writers. Since we don’t know how “it” used to be, we don’t approach every change with fear. We’re open to what’s new because we have no past to draw from. It is an entirely different perspective.
I was very fortunate to join LinkedIn about this time last year. I was in the process of editing my first manuscript, and I will not take you through that painful process. I started to follow a couple of LI threads, one on self-publishing and one on promotion. It was over-whelming – these people were so accomplished and knowledgeable. I studied those threads like a course in college, and slowly felt comfortable asking a question or two. I began to copy and paste the pertinent comments onto a Word document that I have saved.
When I began to follow the thread and read the interactions of some of the members I was truly shocked. I had never, in a business environment, seen such rudeness. It was readily apparent who was in it for themselves. Thankfully, there were other individuals who impressed me not only with their knowledge, but also with an unselfish desire to help people like me. Instead of being threatened by the proliferation of aspiring authors, they happily educated the unpublished masses. I will forever be grateful to them.
It is pretty easy to figure out who is on your side as a new or aspiring author. The message and the language must be positive. If the words you hear are negative, then the people are negative. Run like hell in the opposite direction. There are so many reasons and opportunities for you to succeed. By researching on-line you can get the background information that allows you to make the decisions that suit your goals. As an Indie author you need to believe in yourself, and the network that you create must be your biggest cheerleader. If you get the feeling that someone is only in it for their own gain, believe your instincts. Our instincts are correct most of the time.
Think carefully about how you plan to interact with others. Everything you say represents you and your brand.
After you have listened, observed, and researched, it is time to take a risk. I took a risk last August and here I sit blogging to you on Indies Unlimited. What risk, you might ask, did I take? Publishing my book, of course. There are a million reasons why I could have held it back, picked at it for another year, talked myself into inertia by insisting on a perfect product, approved by the powers that used to be. Did I make a couple of mistakes? Sure. I am in the process of addressing them. If you’re sitting on a manuscript that you’ve edited again and again it’s time to pull the trigger. Don’t be afraid of the risk of failure, my friends. You are here, on the IU site. Stop and look at the left sidebar: the information contained in the posts and tutorials is incredibly helpful and it’s free. These professionals have taken the time to inform you through these posts. And, coincidentally, there are some fine editors listed in the services section.
There is one more point I would like to make. Buy Indie books. On the right sidebar and in the contributing author section you can find many fine books for your or a friend’s reading pleasure. Don’t listen to the hogwash that these writers are not as good as the authors that are shoved down our throats. These books are just as well written and creative.
This is the visual I would like to leave you with – here you are in a comfy chair sitting with the IU team in our clubhouse. Rosanne, Yvonne, Carol and Carolyn are having a cup of tea. A couple of the guys are drinking a beer, and Dan is scarfing down a Hostess cupcake. Lin and Krista are playing darts. Laurie and I are drinking a glass of red wine and watching as Kat cuddles Mr. Pish. Our fearless leader Stephen sits by the fire, silently observing his minions. The room is full, and the conversation is lively. We have invited you here to share our love of writing, and we hope you will be our welcome guests. Cheers!
Just one more tidbit …
Have you ever been in a line at the grocery store and a brilliant idea pops into your head? If you’re like me, it doesn’t stay around until you’ve driven home. It will evaporate like rain in Florida, leaving you dry, dusty, and frustrated. One day, after finally coming up with a name for a character that wasn’t over-used, I promptly forgot it. Completely. It took me several days to remember it, and I’m not one hundred percent sure it is the right one. I don’t have time for this, and neither do you.
There is a cool app I’ve been playing with, it’s free, and it might be worth a little of your time. It’s called Evernote, and it allows you to sync all your computer devices together to share what is basically a notepad function. What I like about it the most is that it has a voice function, so I can record ideas without having to type. I’ve been playing with it on my iPhone, and am looking forward to never losing a random idea again. Check it out.