The stereotype of an author as a solitary figure who huddles in a dark room pounding away at an ancient typewriter is so far removed from the truth that it makes me laugh. In order to be successful in this industry, the most important thing an author can do (besides writing an original, engaging, kick-arse story) is to build relationships.
Like a teacher, without relationship, authors may as well be talking to an empty room as they tweet ads, post reviews and shamelessly promote their novels. (Yep, we've all been there!) Without relationship, prospective readers have no reason to want to pick up my novel and try it out. I'm getting there slowly. I have made some good connections with other authors on Facebook, twitter and Goodreads. I have found some wonderful people willing to take the risk to buy and read my novel and, to these people, I am eternally grateful.
But while relationships are key, herein lies the next trap for unwary travelers on this journey they call publishing. Relationships are about mutual respect and are a two way street. If you go into these relationships with the sole aim of selling books, those people you do 'friend' will very quickly disappear. Self-serving relationships are just as damaging for authors as none.
So, I am trying to keep this in perspective. I'm trying to remember that if I want people to read my novel, that I in turn must be willing to read other indie authors. I'm trying to remind myself that if I need reviews, I should make sure that I take the time to read other people's novels and review them.
I am a great believer in the principle of sowing and reaping. Hopefully by sowing into others, I will find others who are willing to sow into me.