You may recognize the title as it is a quote from the infamous Maya Angelou and it so fitting for today's blog on mentorship. I mentioned in an earlier blog post (How Did I Get Here?) and have mentioned several times in my author interviews, a mentor of mine: Ashley Dedmon, MPH, CHES, author of The Big Discovery. Fortunate for me, I did not have to search too far for a mentor or endure the awkward greetings and solicitation of a stranger to find my mentor because my mentor is also my long-time friend.
I want to emphasize how useful mentorship is to us. Having a mentor is very helpful, especially as an indie author, because they can help you avoid making the same mistakes they made; they can give advice on small and large things associated with publishing; and more importantly, they can serve as a beacon of encouragement along your sometimes stressful authorship journey. As a first-time author, there are so many things to know and so many things to do, and having a mentor(s) that is willing to give you solicited and unsolicited guidance, and a mentor that you trust, is priceless.
If you do not have a friend who can double as a mentor, all is not lost. As mentioned in a previous blog post, there are Facebook author groups that offer mentorship to authors. This offering takes much of the awkwardness out of connecting with a stranger for mentorship, because at least this "stranger" has already expressed interest in helping/mentoring others.
Additionally, there are many indie authors in these Facebook author groups who are willing to give free advice as well, BUT their "free" advice often comes with limits or serves as a gateway to other [paid] services that they will want to offer you, like group sessions or individual consultation services. 😯 I do not say this to "knock their hustle," but as an FYI.
And, if you choose to go the route of posing questions on a group page, please make sure you're asking a specific question. General questions such as, "I've written my book and want to publish it. How do I do that?" will not garner you helpful guidance. Your question will either be ignored, be answered by author consultation companies looking to solicit your paid business, or with authors answering your question with a question: "What do you want to know?" So, instead, do some research and then ask a specific question like, "Should I buy ISBNs?" or "What's the difference between an imprint and a publishing company?" or "Do I have to copyright my book?" Also remember, you can save yourself a lot of time by searching the group's page for similar information already posted. For example, in the group page's search bar, type "copyright" and all the posts about copyright will come up. Trust me, as a first time author, it is very unlikely that you are the first author who wanted to know about copyrights and ISBNs.
All in all, there are many ways to receive mentoring and mentorship; just make sure to make finding a mentor a priority. You will not regret it. And after YOU learn, be sure to teach! Going through the journey even one time gives you little nuggets of wisdom that you can share with others. No one requires you to know everything or to be an expert. In the very least, you can tell an author embarking on their journey about your journey and how you stayed positive in the face of obstacles.
But wait! Before you go, please take a moment to learn a little more about my mentor, Ashley. (👈🏽 click her name)