If you’re considering self-publishing it’s critical that you look into all of these forums: Kindle Boards, Absolute Write, Nathan Bransford, Self-Publishing Review, Goodreads, and Library Thing. You should join each one for a different reason and the earlier you learn how to navigate these forums the better it will be for you in the long run.
Kindle Boards – A fantastic, extremely self-publishing friendly forum filled with people with extensive self-publishing knowledge where you can ask any question you have on your mind. Especially helpful with promotional ideas. (If you join only one forum join this one!)
Absolute Write – If you’re shopping for an agent or query writing this forum is wonderful but I find it’s a little less supportive of self-publishing even though they do have a whole posting area for self-publishing. I still find this forum extremely helpful for testing a book description, approving a cover, and for promotional opportunities.
Nathan Bransford– This forum has much less traffic but is still good place to get some feedback on book description, cover approval, and as a promotional tool. His blog is also very entertaining and he’s discussing more about the benefits of self-publishing lately and on Fridays he gives a run-down on the latest news in publishing and in the blogging world.
Goodreads – A great forum for advertising your book once you publish. A wonderful place to connect to your readers.
Library Thing – This is a website geared toward readers. They seem to frown on promotional attempts but if you join and connect to readers legitimately through your love of books you might attract readers subtly towards your book. Once you publish though there is a section for book giveaways that can be very useful for collecting reviews.
Self-Publishing Review – A forum for self-publishers only where you can receive great information and exposure if you decide to post.
And even though this is technically not a forum, I strongly recommend to follow David Gaughran’s blog. He is not only very helpful and super informative but he wrote a wonderful guide to self-publishing that will save you tons of time. His posts keep you updated on all the latest self-publishing news and he exudes such a positive and contagious outlook on self-publishing. If you have any questions he is extremely knowledgable and warm.
In conclusion, these forums are essential for information you can’t find in the self-publishing how-tos and as a promotional tool but I find the most important thing these forums provide is the support that someone going out on their own needs. It must be terrific to get an agent who tells you your novel is fantastic and who tucks you under their wings telling you they’ll take it from there but for those of us who only have a handful of beta readers giving us the thumbs up you need to have people out there who have been through the self-publishing trenches and emerged satisfied and proud. You will need their success stories, their support, and their inspiration to press forward and produce your novel. Reach out to these people and ask any question no matter how basic you think it is. The only dumb question is the one that is never asked.
Are there any others I forgot?