I’m listening to The Creative Penn’s back log of podcasts. It’s a podcast where a Joanna Penn, a lovely sounding British lady with a very nice laugh, interviews people who are indie publishers or the like. Some are authors who have books out already. Some are still writing their books. Some have many books written. Some are on there not as authors, but as editors or business people being interviewed about their business whether it’s editing, or distribution, or formatting for the various digital platforms.
Here’s the thing that I love about the people she has on who are business people who would really like it if we’d use their service and pay them and help support them: When she asks them for tips for how we independent authors can do for ourselves what they want to charge us a hundred or more dollars for they don’t go into a long pause and say, “Well, I wouldn’t really recommend that.” They answer her questions. They give us tips on how to do what they’re getting paid to do. That’s brilliant!
She gets people on who really know what they’re talking about and then asks them the exact questions I’d ask if I had them in front of me at a party or dinner, and they answer. They’re literally giving advice that could, if we followed it, stop us from needing their service. And you know what? It makes me think, “I will use those people later as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for helping me as a newbie.” It’s fantastic!
This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this sort of generosity on the Internet. Rosa Say once sent me some of her books after I’d won a contest or something. I don’t remember how it is that I managed to get on her book list and I’ve really loved writing in the front of the books a dedication to new managers as I give it to them and they see that they were signed by the author and are duly impressed, as was I, by her generosity. Her Aloha is still rippling outward from her gift all that time ago when she gave them to me. I continue to give my managers copies of her book, Managing With Aloha. It’s my most returned to management book that I have. My copy is well worn and marked up and I hope the ones I give away that were given to me (and that I’ve bought) are just as marked up.
Last Christmas (Christmas 2011) was the first Christmas of Google+ and +Carter Gibson set up a +Secret Santa account and a lot of us, really, LOTS of us, posted our amazon wish lists there and then wandered off to buy complete strangers things off THEIR wish lists. I got stuff, everybody I know who is on Google+ got stuff from people they know and people they don’t know. It was absolutely amazing to see strangers buying other strangers stuff in a weird fit of community generosity online. I loved it.
The Internet is a lot of things, and one of those things that doesn’t get a lot of press is generous. The generosity of people I’ve met online is amazing. I hope I can be that kind of person for others as well. I want to give back to people. I hope to contribute and not just be a leach because I’ve received so much in free podcasts, blog posts I’ve read, and great conversation and advice online from people I don’t know and may never meet. It just makes me want to be a better person.
To sum up. If you’re a writer and you’re looking on good tips on what’s next after you’ve gotten something written go give Joanna’s podcast a listen. I highly recommend it. She’s got great information out there just waiting to be found by people like me who are wanting to go the indie publisher route… or is it indie author? Both!
PS: I’ve just found that +Joanna Penn is on Google+ too!