3 Indie Publishing Discussion Groups: Getting Your Questions Answered

by Joel Friedlander on January 18, 2010 · 8 comments

YahooI’ve always been impressed by the friendly environment of independent publishing. Since most books don’t really compete with each other, small and independent publishers are extraordinarily generous in helping people new to the business. It’s remarkable how much help, advice, and counsel is available if you know where to ask.

This is crucial in your early days as a self-publisher, and will continue to be important for a long time. Many authors who decide to take the leap and publish their own books quickly get overwhelmed by the amount of information available.

Soon they are being asked to make choices that may affect the future of their book for many years. They are confronted with questions about many areas of self-publishing from manuscript editing to the best price for jiffy bags.

Finding Help When You Need It

Knowing how to tap into the resources available to you can make a huge difference in how you approach publishing your book, how efficiently you operate, and how successful you will be as a publisher.

You are putting a lot on the line when you become a self-publisher. It’s vital that you get the best quality information that you can to give yourself the best chance for success, whatever your aims are for your book.

One of the best sources of detailed, professional, and in-depth answers to these kinds of questions is through discussion groups.

Yahoo Groups to the Rescue

Yahoo has become a favorite for these groups. It offers a home for groups and the ability to participate in these groups through your email inbox. All three of these groups run on Yahoo Groups, so you’ll need a Yahoo ID to participate. So if you don’t have a Yahoo ID, head over to Yahoo.com and register.

When you sign up for one of these groups you’ll have a choice to either participate on the group’s web page, or to get all the new questions and answers that are posted sent to you by email.

I find this email digest really handy. It allows you to scan all the messages at once to see the ones in which you have an interest. With so much information to try to absorb, this is a terrific feature of these groups and I recommend you try it. If you decide you would rather participate on the website, you can easily change your preferences through the Yahoo My Groups control panel.

Here’s another thing I like about the daily email digest: at the end of each message there are options if you would like to reply. This is what it looks like:
reply options

These options give you control over your interaction with the author of the message, or with all the list readers, and provides 1-click connection with the discussion on the group’s web page. It’s incredibly handy.

Getting Started in Groups is Easy

Sign up for one or more of these groups, and read the messages for a few days to get used to how the questions and answers are dealt with. You’ll soon see that there are many members on all of these lists who are happy to answer questions and help out.

They are also a great way to keep up with new developments at printers, retailers like Amazon.com or BN.com, and all the other vendors we deal with as self-publishers. Here are the three groups I follow and participate in:

Self-Publishing Group
Online since 2000, and with more than 2800 members, this group sent 1125 messages in December 2009.
Group Home: Self-Publishing
Description:This discussion forum is a community of authors and small presses interested or involved in publishing and marketing their own work and that of others. It is sponsored by SPAN. Both newcomers and veterans welcome.
To subscribe, send email to: Self-Publishing-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

POD Publishers Group
Online since 2003, this group now has 1485 members and, in December, 2009, almost 500 messages were sent through the group.
Group Home: POD_Publishers
Description: This group is a business and marketing oriented group for Print on Demand publishers. (This list is NOT for first-time authors who want to publish a book using print on demand, there are other groups for that. This list is for POD publishers who intend to publish multiple titles and own their own ISBNs). No politics, no religion, no childhood traumas, no mailboxes full of “right on’s” or “thank you’s”. We all get too much e-mail as is. The moderators will strive mantain a civilized forum, and reserve the right to terminate members who they deem to be disruptive without notice. The moderator’s own web site is FreeFromCorporateAmerica.com, where he posts on topics pertaining to entrepreneurial business and the art of Internet publishing. On this list, no one is allowed to say that successful books cannot be designed in Microsoft Word since it’s a factually inaccurate statement. However, list members *can* share their own design and layout preferences.
To subscribe, send an email to: pod_publishers-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

SPAWN Discuss
Online since 2003, this group currently has 43 members from SPAWN and may be a friendlier place to get used to the way mail-list groups work, and you won’t get overwhelmed with the amount of traffic from the list.
Group Home: Spawn Discuss
Description: Small Publishers, Artists, and Writers Network offers you information on writing and publishing. This Group is for members of SPAWN only. Here members can meet other writers, editors, illustrators, publishers, and marketers. Use this Group to share your knowledge with your peers, and learn more from other members.
To find out more about joining SPAWN, find them at http://www.spawn.org/

Do you know of other groups that might be useful to new self-publishers? I’d love to hear about them.

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