A fellow author asked:
What is the most important thing an independent author needs to do to gain respect as a writer?
Being an independent (or indie) author means you are self-publishing your written work, but the answer applies to all authors. Whether you’re indie or traditionally published; whether your write novels, poetry, (screen/stage)plays, articles and online content, freelances various writing jobs, or ghost-writing … the answer is the same:
Be professional in your attitude and behavior, and produce quality work.
What does this look like?
On a personal level:
- Be genuine. No “selling” people on your books (aside from generic marketing). This means, you aren’t pouncing people with “buy my books”, spamming groups, or sliding into their DM’s to pitch them.
- Interact with people honestly and respectfully on a personal level and they will naturally be curious about your work and your passion (aka organic marketing). They will be understanding of you promoting your work and sharing your work-related content on your profile (not targeted directly at them), inviting them to your like your page or join your group, etc.
On a business level:
- Build a quality “brand” as an authentic person and produce quality products. This means a properly edited manuscript and blurb with a professional looking interior and cover.
- Learn the etiquette of contacting and dealing with reviewers, designers, editors, etc.
Understand that this is a business which requires an investment of both time and money. Don’t DIY unless you are a professional designer, editor, etc. and even then, have someone you trust look over your work.
I’ve come across authors who protest that we should be able to “gain respect” without focusing on the business aspect.
No matter what kind of writer you are, if you want to be respected, you have to learn the basics, hone your skills, network, market … ALL of it. Even if you’re traditionally published. The business part of it is vital, especially if you’re looking to gain respect. Otherwise, you’re not an “independent author”, you’re someone with a writing hobby.
If you want to be considered an author and gain respect of any sort, you need to work at your career like it’s a “real” job. Because, it is and Writing is Hard. So, be professional and produce quality work.