There are so many things you need to get right. When I started out, I knew nothing about marketing, very little about social media strategies, and had no idea how hard it is to promote a book and achieve sales.
There is one factor, more than any other, to which I attribute my survival and gradual success.
I have a group of “Indie sisters” who are the most incredible support, help, encouragement and backup anyone could ask for.
They’re all still learning, like I am. Individually, we’ve encountered pitfalls we never imagined, but we got through them with our integrity and sanity intact because of the support we’ve given each other. Together, we’ve done things that would have seemed near impossible on our own.
We’re selling books. We run Facebook groups for support, encouragement, and co-promotion for Indie authors. We’ve run events for Indie Authors Day, Valentine’s Day, book launches, author takeovers, cover reveals, and done a radio/podcast show. We’ve got websites, blogs, twitter and Instagram accounts, and multiple Facebook pages.
It all sounds too good to be true. To be honest, if you’d told me a year ago that five friends whom I had not yet met and I would be achieving these things, I’d have laughed. They probably would have, too.
The secret to what we’re achieving is not simply the sum total of our efforts. We have tapped into what I like to think of as ‘The Power of the Posse’.
It’s incredibly encouraging to know, with absolute confidence, that on the days one of us feels like a failure or can’t see the way forward, the others have their back. We all know that if there’s a challenge, we are in it together. We sincerely and joyfully celebrate each other’s victories and achievements. We talk every day, about all sorts of things, simply because we enjoy each other’s company. We defend each other, and we’d willingly go down fighting to protect each other.
I know, it sounds unreal. But the magic of the “Indie Fabs” goes way beyond our own group. We believe in paying it forward. We read and review other people’s books. We are free with advice and words of experience for those who ask for them. We answer the call when another Indie author – quite often, one who isn’t part of our team – needs help. And we will not ask for payment, except that those we help also pay it forward by helping others out when they get the chance.
I can’t imagine doing all this without Jeannie, Renee, Aliya, Eva and Lyra. I don’t even want to contemplate how I might.
One organisation I know of tried to allocate author teams for their members. Mine, and many others, never got off the ground because it’s simply not possible to manufacture the kind of relationship and teamwork that is required for a posse to work the way it should.
I am absolutely convinced that life/fate/destiny/the literary gods chose my posse for me, and me for them. What we have is magic.
So how, you ask, can you get a posse of your own?
- Join and participate in author’s groups on Facebook. There are hundreds of them – you can choose by genre, location, particular events or affiliation with a certain group. Engage with the people there. Sooner or later, you’ll find the ones with whom you have an affinity.
- Encourage and help others. Share posts, read and review books, offer help when it’s needed. Those who reciprocate and help you – they’re the ones you want to consider as potential members of your posse.
- Introduce your author friends to each other. Groups will naturally form. Don’t be exclusive, but nurture the closer working/team relationships and see what grows.
- Demonstrate integrity. Do what you say you will. Be honest in your encouragement and support for others. That really gets noticed, especially in online communities where so many people are out for themselves.
- Take responsibility. Be honest about things you haven’t done well, or things you feel others haven’t done well, but take care to be constructive in the way you communicate that.
- Give it time. It probably isn’t going to happen immediately. When the time is right though, you’ll find yourself in the midst of a group of authors who work well together, include each other in things, and have complementary strengths.
If they do the same for you, you’ve found your posse.