The life of an indie author can be a lonely one, even with the extensive support available online from the likes of the Alliance of Independent Authors, and the opportunity to network with other self-publishing authors offline can boost your success and your morale. That's why US indie author Cody Sisco set up a cooperative in his local neighbourbood of north eastern Los Angeles, California. he now offers seven practical tips to help you to do the same.
- Assemble a Powerful Mix of Talents
Find authors you respect, who have something in common with you, and with whom you get along. You’ll be recommending their work, relying on their judgment in putting together marketing materials, and spending time together. The collaboration should be enjoyable, effective, and free from drama.
- Clarify Your Shared Mission
Staying focused requires a shared sense of purpose. We decided that we wanted to be “a Los Angeles-based group of writers dedicated to the support and appreciation of independent authors.” Initially, this means we help each other and we speak up to advocate for local indies. Going forward, we’re developing a “constitution” of sorts, so that we and future members are clear on our goals and tactics.
- Get Organized, Stay Organized
Develop a plan. Set up a shared drive where you can keep documents. We uploaded brief bios, headshots, and book descriptions, links, and cover images. These were used to create print materials and to develop our website (www.madeinlawriters.com). We meet in person about once a month to review progress, to discuss and plan for upcoming events, and to check in on how we can help each other, e.g. for upcoming book releases and events. We take notes at our meetings and follow up with each other to ensure we’re on track with our tasks.
- Support Each Other in Whichever Way You Can
We trade editing support. One member will be helping us create book trailers. Another devoted two full days to supporting our exhibitor booth at the L.A. Festival of Books. We’re all reaping the benefits of supporting one another.
- Share the Burden
Make sure everyone is pulling their weight. If someone doesn’t have time to contribute, it’s best to part ways. Also, check in often to make sure no one feels they’re carrying a heavier burden.
- Establish a Brand
Imagery makes you “sticky” in the minds of readers. We are fortunate to benefit from the design skills of one of our members, Allison Rose), who created a striking and true-to-character brand identity.
- Spread the Word
We came together in order to crank up the volume when each of us speaks. To this end, we’ve created a group newsletter to announce new releases and speaking events, designed a website to introduce readers to us and our work, connected on social media so one “share” leads to more, and collaborated in reaching out to libraries, book festivals, and conventions to explore speaking and exhibiting opportunities.
A Final Note
Indie authors can do a lot on their own. Be sure you’re ready to take the next step and devote time to stay connected with your fellow authors. That said, knowing others are supporting you and holding you accountable puts wind in your sails.
You move forward faster when you’re part of a group pulling in the same direction.
If you're interested in reading about how Cody set up his group, read his account on the Indie Author Day blog here.
OVER TO YOU If you're a member of an author collective and have further tips or experience to share, please join the conversation with a comment! Cody will be glad to answer any questions too.7 top tips on how to set up an indie #author collective by @CodySisco Click To Tweet
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