Here's some things I've learned along the way as I reach the one-year mark of publishing my first book of poetry, Every Watering Word.
1. Write. Every day. Carve out time for your voice. Don't sit back on the accomplishments you have achieved. As soon as you publish, KEEP WRITING. #writingisbreathingthroughink
2. As an indie author, I'm finding that you are your marketing and PR point-person. Try to participate in readings and venues as much as possible. Libraries, friend's homes, bookstores, cafes, etc. I may be stating the obvious, but I'm learning that as your own promoter you have to create spaces for your work to be seen and shared.
3. Create a network of fellow writing friends to support your plowing, progress and revisions. I have my star player and sister of decades Carla who I throw EVERYTHING at. Rough drafts, revisions, complaints, frustrations. She is awesome in her analyses and tolerance and no-joke about not letting me sit on my tush and remain immobile. My sister Fisiwe has a discerning spirit and deliberate eye that helped shaped the order of poems in my book, and how I think about writing as a transcendental and transformative experience. Conversations and messages with Tricia keep my head and heart spooling with ideas.
4. Solicit others for reviews of your work. Word of mouth, blurbs, formal and informal reviews really help to push your work out there. Be fearless in your reach, precise in your request. But please know for every 10 potential reviewers you solicit, you may only get 1 or 2 to respond. But what has been a blessing for me is that in targeting an international crowd, my work has been in the hands of so many interesting people from not only here in the USA but around the world. Dubai, Switzerland, Ontario, Quebec, Britain, Portugal and the Philippines are just a few of the locales of bloggers and bookstagrammers that have read and reviewed my work. So while I would LOVE to be on the NYT or LAT bestseller lists, I'm content (for now) that the reach of my work and its footprints are worldwide. To know my work is in the hands of so many people I have not met, WOW. Incredible and humbling.
What advice can you share?