Happy 2018, everyone! :)
2017 was a very busy year for me, so I didn’t have as much time to devote to my blog as I would have liked. I was able to interview tons of great authors (check the archives page to read their interviews!), but I didn’t have a chance to make many other types of posts.
This year, though, I’m making a new resolution: to provide monthly (if not weekly) posts jam-packed with resources for my fellow indie authors. Being an indie author is hard work, and no one should have to go it alone. I want to create a place where indie authors can find information easily and succinctly, without having to sift through eighteen different “101 Ways to Make It as an Author” posts. There is a lot of information out there, and not all of it is the best. So, I am going to do my best to distill some of that information here on my website, so that people can find what they need all in one place. And you can rest assured that everything I write about is something that I personally have tried or know a lot about, so I can let you know whether it really works (at least for me), or not.
The first thing I want to discuss are Facebook writing groups. Writing is a pretty solitary art, so it is good to get out there and meet other people who are going through the same struggles and successes as you are. Your best friend the engineer might not care that much that you found the perfect name for the main character in your latest book, but the members of a writing group sure will!
Online writing groups are the perfect place to learn about new writing contests and opportunities, as well as to get new ideas about how to market your book, or how to get over a bad case of writer’s block. It also helps you to grow your network: you can never have too many connections in your field!
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of writing groups out there, but I have narrowed it down to five groups I have found that are useful specifically for indie authors. Be careful when you join though: a lot of groups have certain rules about posting promotions for your book (And anyway, nobody likes someone who is always “on,” and always trying to promote their book to death. Don’t be that guy.), and about what you can and can’t post, so always be sure to read the group’s guidelines before posting.
Without any further ado, here are five of the best author groups I have found on Facebook so far. Each of them caters to a different aspect of being an indie author, so you might find that it’s beneficial to join all of them!
(P.S.: Just because a group is listed as a “closed group” doesn’t mean you can’t join it. You just have to be approved by the admin first.)
Bookaholic Cafè has close to 25,000 members, and all of them are crazy about books! This group is for both readers and writers who are in love with the written word. The group is mostly composed of authors, both traditionally and independently published, but there are also quite a few readers there who love to give their input on writing topics from the alternate perspective.
In this group, writers can post ads for their books on the weekends only, but that isn’t really the point of the group. The point is to share your love of books with other people who love them as much as you do. So, this is a great place to discuss all the books you love and the authors you admire – and you’ll be sure to pick up a lot of great new reading recommendations here that might inspire you even more!
With around 3,000 members at the time of this writing, The Indie Writers’ Cooperative doesn’t have quite as many members as the Bookaholic Cafè, but this is actually a good thing! While your post might get lost in the sea of posts in a group that is enormous, here your post is much more likely to get the responses you’re hoping for. This group is aimed specifically at indie authors, and its goal is to help these authors find support for any and every issue they might come up against. For example, the other day someone made a post about a problem with Microsoft Word, and others responded with tips and tricks for solving that problem and making typing one’s manuscript a lot easier.
In this group, no promotion is allowed which, for me, is a good thing, because it helps the members to focus on helping each other, not pitching each other.
As a disclaimer, I haven’t had as much experience with this group as I have with the others on this list, but it seems to be a pretty great group. As the name implies, members post calls for submissions from websites and publishers, which can be great for authors looking for a place to send their work. This cuts down on a lot of internet searching, and the sense of community (and we’re talking a big community: this group has well over 50,000 members) can definitely ease the pain of any rejection letters you might receive during your submissions process!
Now if you really, absolutely just have to have a place to promote your book, Indie Books Promotion! is a great place to do it. You can post an ad for your book any day of the week (but you can only make one post per day), and you can check out all the other books posted by your fellow authors as well. The only downside to this group (and really, any other author group), is that if you’re an author, your target audience isn’t really other authors. So, the chances of getting more sales from posting in this group may be on the slim side, but it does give you a chance to meet a lot of other authors who are just like you.
5. Indie Eden Book Club
Now this one is obvious… If you keep up with me on Facebook or this website, you’ll know that I started the Indie Eden Book Club last year, to create a place for indie authors to meet and find readers for their books. Authors submit their book via the instructions in one of the group docs, and then every two weeks we start reading a new one. The other members of the group buy the book, and we all discuss it together, which not only gives the author some insight into how his or her book is received by readers, but also gives them more sales without having to pitch their brains out.
Promotion is banned in this group as well, but if you send a direct message to the admin (me), you can make a request to send out some ARCs of your newest book to the other group members as well (whether we will be reading it in the book club or not), so that you can get some more reviews on Amazon on your book’s release date. [2019 Update: Indie Eden has closed down, so it is no longer open to new members.]
Have you joined any of these groups? Are there any other Facebook groups that are good for indie authors? Let me know in the comments! This list is only a tiny fraction of all the great groups out there, so I’ll surely be making another list in the future!
Until then, good luck with your writing!