Last week I posted [Insert Great Idea for Blog Post Here] and invited you, my lovely blog readers, to suggest topics for me to blog about, because I was out. On Friday I posted Speak Now: Earning Money From Self-Publishing By Talking About It (thank you, Diane) and I’ve decided that, based on your feedback, I will start posting little episodic look-backs at my writing/self-publishing/coffee-drinking journey so far, a kind of Published (or rather, Not Published. Subtitle: *Hopeful voice* Yet?), in keeping with the tradition of Mousetrapped, Backpacked and Travelled. I also plan to blog soon about… well, um, blogging, as suggested by Katharine, Arlene and others, a kind of follow-on to Does My Blog Look Big In This?, which was really just about aesthetics.
Here are some other ideas that’ll be coming up:
- Using Gumroad to sell files/e-books from your own website
- Using MailChimp (a great service, but a bit of a tricky user experience)
- Taking e-books into the real world
- Social media timesavers
- How I’m using Pinterest to promote Travelled
- My absolute favorite plotting books in the world ever
Another idea suggested by Sheena and seconded by Steph Laura Jones was a kind of “Ask Catherine” corner where readers could ask me anything about self-publishing and I’d answer the questions in a blog post.
Now, if you’ve happened by my Contact page in the last couple of years, you might have encountered one or more of the numerous methods—a list of dire warnings, a huge sign, a check-box that confirmed the sender hadn’t included any self-publishing questions in their message—I’ve employed to deter people from asking me questions. This isn’t because I don’t like helping other self-published authors, because I do. It’s because of the Reverse Rudeness Syndrome such correspondence leads to.
Reverse Rudeness Syndrome occurs when a self-publisher sends me a question by e-mail, doesn’t receive a response to it and then feels that I have been rude to them. Whereas in actual fact, it’s them that’s been rude to me. I must have upwards of 200,000 words on here about self-publishing, which I’ve nicely arranged into accessible categories and made available for free. On top of that, I have a 120,000+ word book on the subject that isn’t expensive. On top of that, I make a portion of my income from workshops, consultations and other services which is essentially a form of question-asking, and people pay money for them. So when a person happens upon my site, spends absolutely no time reading anything on here and instead goes straight to the Contact page to ask if CreateSpace ship internationally (or, my favorite question, “How do I get people to buy my books?”), they’re just being lazy. And they want me to reward this laziness with a sacrifice of the one thing that’s most important to me making a living: my time. So I don’t, because why should I? And then another e-mail comes, admonishing me for not answering the first and reminding me that I’m no big-shot and that I shouldn’t get too big for my boots.
Or if I’m feeling particularly charitable, I answer the question, and then another e-mail comes with a follow-up, and now I have to decide whether to embark on a never-ending e-mail exchange with this person or to stop it now. So I stop it now, and then another e-mail comes, admonishing me for not answering the second one and reminding me that I’m no big-shot and that I shouldn’t get too big for my boots.
And then there’s the people who don’t send me reprimands, but are out there in the blogosphere, quietly thinking I’m a horrible person, when this whole enterprise exists to help other people self-publish.
But there’s another problem: sometimes, people e-mail me with questions that aren’t answered anywhere on here, questions that could do with answering. No surprise, considering the self-publishing world is a-changing all the damn time. But if I open myself to individual questions, it’s opening the floodgates. And if I respond to any of these messages, who is benefiting? Only the individual who sent the message, unless I go on to write a blog post about it. So what’s the solution?
Well, as Sheena and Steph suggested, a kind of virtual suggestion box. *Opens virtual suggestion box*
You can ask any question about self-publishing you want, even if it’s something you fear is embarrassingly basic (basic questions are totally fine because new people are coming to self-publishing all the time). The small print here is that you won’t get a response other than your question appearing on or being the basis of a future blog post, and if you don’t get a response, it might be because I’ve already written 10,000 blog-posted words on the subject and you just need to take thirty seconds to go look for them.
Please tell me if you wish to remain anonymous, otherwise your first name and Twitter username might appear on this site.
Click on the pink image above to ask your question.
Bring it on!
(Sheena and Katharine, if you’d like free digital editions of Self-Printed 2.0, please get in touch with me. Thanks.)