So Much Help It’s Impossible

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I was at a recent meetup of current and future self-published authors, and we were discussing what people needed to learn. The discussion was fascinating, fun, and involved some great pastries. However, our dialogue also brought up something I hadn’t noticed.

Self-publishing is easier than ever, and there’s so much advice people get lost.

There are articles and advice everywhere, some of it quite good (some of it recycled). So where do you start?

There are books upon books on self-publishing. Many are 101-style books, many are money grabs, but many have good advice. So what do you read?

There are many ways to market. So where do you start? Website? AMS? Blog?

The funny thing about self-publishing is that it seems writing the book may be the least stressful part of it – you write the damn thing. Right now there are so many people offering help on everything ELSE that it’s overwhelming. It would be an embarrassment of riches if riches were specific blogging tips and advertising advice.

I now realize that self-publishing seems natural to me as I do it. I figure it’s easy as there are so much advice and guidance and software, more than I had “back in the day.” However, we’re now to the point where hopeful self-publishers are overwhelmed – and I missed it.

There are a few lessons to take away from this:

  • We experienced self-publishers CANNOT just tell people, “oh, it’s easy to find X.” Ten thousand people write on X – so where do they start?
  • New self-publishers are up against a far different environment than those of us that started years ago. They have too much to face
  • I used to wonder why people wanted me and my crew to speak on “Self Publishing 101.” I realize now that’s because people need a stripped-down clear guide.
  • Too much self-publishing advice is people trying to fill space or get a quick buck out of hopeful people. That clouds the market.

This has helped me focus my effort on advising future authors. 101 is needed. Vetted information is required. Never assuming the directions are clear is very important for we experienced authors.

Too much advice is its own problem.

Steven Savage