The greatest asset an author has to help them navigate the unknown waters of self-publishing is the accumulated wisdom of people who’ve been there before. I’ve always been impressed by how friendly the independent book publishing community is. Maybe part of the reason is that books very rarely compete with one another.
As readers know, I’m a big fan of local independent publisher’s groups (check the IBPA directory of affiliate organizations to see if there’s one near you). You’ll meet people of all experience levels only too willing to help out. We have new people every month at our Bay Area Independent Publishers Association meetings.
But there are numerous resources online as well. One of the best sources for information are the many discussion forums where you can register, become a member and participate in conversations, ask questions, and generally gain a lot of good information. You’ll also run into knowledgeable suppliers, industry professionals and lots of other authors.
Here’s a bunch to get you started.
Top 5 Forums for Self-Publishers
Absolute Write Water Cooler
MacAllister Stone’s forum extension of the Absolute Write Blog, this huge community of writers can offer conversation, discussion and enlightenment on many writing-related topics. The link will take you to the Self-Publishing and POD forum, where the discussion mostly involves self-publishers.
There are over 500 threaded conversations in this forum, so searching the archives can often answer your question. Check out the thread on experiences with LuLu, for an example of what you can expect.
Nathan Bransford’s Forum
A relatively new forum attached to the blog of literary agent Nathan Bransford, the All Things Publishing forum is becoming more popular every week. This link is to the part of the forum related to publishing, but other areas offer threads on writing, submissions, and other aspects of the writer’s life.
Currently there are 58 threaded topics with almost 400 posts in this forum, which is only a few months old.
John Kremer’s Book Marketing Network
From indie book-marketing guru John Kremer. This ning community has groups, forums, blogs and other social-media functions. There are active discussions on the What’s Your Biggest Challenge With Your Book and What’s Working For You? forums.
This network has over 5,000 members, and many forums and blogs where you can interact with other authors.
Developed by the Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN), this new social network has over 300 members and several lively discussion forums. One of the new discussion forums focuses on Books and Blogs, and if it keeps growing, it will be a valuable resource.
Of course, you all know about the great community building up at Self-Publishing Review, where Henry Baum has added lots of social-networking goodies including member blogs, groups, forums, and all the other bells and whistles. In the six weeks since its launch, the membership has increased to over 220 members. Active discussions take place in groups and in comments on the many blog posts on the site.
One unique feature of SPR is the Book Design for Self-Publishers group where I post my Design Reviews of books self-published authors send in, brave souls that they are.
Check out these forums. You’ll find camaraderie, entertainment, and a lot of very knowledgeable people to whom you can put questions. As with any new endeavor, after you register spend some time just listening to get a feel for the general tone of the discussion before diving in. If the forum has an “Introduce yourself” thread, go over there and post about yourself. Set up your forum profile and your signature. These communities can be invaluable as you progress as a self-publisher.
Another great location for publishing discussions is the social networking site LinkedIn, which I’ll be covering in a separate post. Although there are many communities for writers, these are the most active self-publishing forums I’ve found. If you know of others, I’d love to add them to my list. Thanks!