January 13 is “Make Your Dreams Come True Day,” and one of the smartest ways to achieve your dream of becoming a published author is to get that novel, memoir, or poetry chapbook of yours out the door and into the hands of readers! If you’ve decided to take charge of your dream and self-publish a book, you might want to consider finding a self-publishing mentor to guide you through the process.
At Self-Publishing Relief, we know publishing a book on your own can be daunting. So many decisions! But a self-publishing mentor—someone who’s gone through the process successfully and, preferably, repeatedly—can offer you the benefit of his or her experience by giving you advice and pointing you in the right direction. It may even be possible for your mentor to open doors for you with new opportunities through professional contacts.
What Traits Should You Look For In A Self-Publishing Mentor?
A good mentor will be someone willing to give you advice and counsel and who’s prepared to direct and support your work. But just as important—once you know what you’re doing, a good mentor will let you move forward on your own.
Look for someone who has successfully helped guide others through the self-publishing process, or an author who has had success publishing his or her own books. Peruse a potential mentor’s books for quality. Do you love the cover art and format? If you’re considering a self-published writer, does he or she have solid sales, a decent following on social media, and a strong, consistent author brand?
If you want to work with people in the self-publishing industry itself, make sure they have a proven track record for quality and experience with the process. And avoid companies that use hard-sell tactics to make pie-in-the-sky promises!
What’s the best way to ask a self-publishing guru to mentor you?
Gather your courage, don’t be nervous, and ask! Remember, your request will actually be quite flattering. Keep in mind that mentors have lives of their own, so immediately establish the limits of what you expect from the relationship.
Be respectful and ask for only ten minutes of a person’s time. You can meet casually for a cup of coffee, or correspond via email. Be prepared with a few specific questions.
You could ask how you can help a potential mentor—assist with administrative tasks, promote their work on your social media, etc.—and in return the mentor may be more inclined to offer advice or contacts.
Be sure to follow up with a “thank you.” And someday, if a new writer comes to you for advice or support, you can pay it forward!
Where can you find a self-publishing mentor?
Writing groups, workshops, and conferences for self-publishing or indie authors.
Internet searches for self-published authors in your genre. Read their blogs; then send an email to potential mentors.
Local independent publisher’s groups (check the IBPA directory of affiliate organizations to see if there’s one near you).
Discussion forums where you can register, participate in conversations, ask questions, and generally gain a lot of good information. You’ll also meet knowledgeable suppliers, industry professionals, and lots of other authors. Check out active self-publishing forums like Self-Publishing Review, Small Publishers Association of North America, John Kremer’s Book Marketing Network, and Nathan Bransford’s Forum.
There are also mentoring services that will charge you a fee. Be sure to research these carefully before spending your hard-earned cash.
At Self-Publishing Relief, our experts are always ready to help writers meet their publishing goals. See what our satisfied clients have to say!
Making your publishing dreams come true is going to require lots of effort and commitment on your part—and finding a mentor may help you reach your goals faster. Today is a great day to get started!
QUESTION: Did you have the guidance of a mentor when self-publishing your work? Was the relationship successful?