Double Back to Get the Real Scoop

Self-publishers should learn and share.

As a political reporter on the campaign trail, I often followed candidates into diners where surprised patrons would pause mid-mouthful to shake hands and exchange pleasantries.

It was the rare citizen who challenged a candidate on a substantive issue, or even revealed he was backing the competition. To get the real story, we reporters would double back after the candidate left.

Which got me wondering about the discussion that ensued after I left the Lowcountry Creative Writers Forum in Charleston, S.C. I spoke for 90 minutes or so on self-publishing, fiction techniques and how authors can use social media. It was pleasant enough with a fair amount of questions and interaction.

But I wondered whether I’d delivered any useful advice. Then came this recap by forum head Dave Schneider:

Steve shared his journey from small town sports writer straight out of college to veteran journalist confronting national politicians and how his experience as a Washington correspondent for The Post and Courier served as a seed for his latest novel Bootlicker. With the restrictions of journalistic ethics chafing against his creative instincts, he finally made the leap and embraced the broader latitudes in the universe of fiction. We discussed the evolution of the publication process from the traditional route through an agent to publishers who required compliance with a specific marketing formula. Nowadays, self-publishing is becoming a more accepted means of reaching your audience. Frustrated by the lack of progress with the old method, Steve finally published his first novel Bella through CreateSpace, which offers a broad range of services to help writers in various aspects of the process. He also emphasized another critical component of the self-publishing process: self-marketing and promotion, with a caution about the many entrepreneurs ready to provide services of questionable value for a price. Due diligence is the watchword to

Dr. Dave Schneider leads the Lowcountry writers.

remember when engaging outside help. He pointed out the value of social media as a means of gaining exposure and mentioned sites like Facebook, Goodreads. You must keep your mind open and alert for every opportunity to expose yourself and your work to as many people as possible through interaction in any way possible. Of course, it is also important to remember that your reputation is at stake, so make sure your work is as good as it can be before sending it out into the world. Thanks to Steve for such an informative and inspirational presentation! Let the creativity flow from your soul! Dave

Sharing what you learn helps develop friendships, reinforces the fundamentals, and, frankly, makes you feel good. Thanks to the Lowcountry creative writers for the chance to pass on some advice and share a warm Charleston morning.

Have any of you self-published authors had similar experiences?

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