One good way of becoming a reputable author is to give and get criticism with diplomacy. Both are hard and take time to learn and to understand.
Writing a book is difficult, especially writing your first book and especially self-publishing your first book. When you self-publish a book, you are not buffered by trade publishers to make you part of an authentic clan of special and respected authors that have envious admiration and immediate value in the eyes of others, perhaps even unattainable by others.
The trade publishers know how to elevate their authors to make them reputable celebrities and a notch above the so-called ordinary people, and they do it so that the books published by them would get publicity and recognition and therefore sell well. It’s all about business and you are a commodity. Think about it. The trade publishers cannot put down the authors they have chosen to publish, since that would imply they are nothing special.
To be a trade-published author has an immediate stamp of celebrity far bigger than winning, say, a million dollars. Winning a lottery is a question of luck and it is not earned. But writing a book implies hard work for having accomplished something unique.
That status of being a published author is for life especially when you write more books and win some awards. When strangers ask you what you do and you say you are an author or you write books, their eyes light up and you rise above them no matter what they are and whether they are perhaps even the ever-admired clan of doctors. It happened to me several time but often I spoiled that admiration by saying, “well, I am just a self-publisher” so don’t do it. Delete the word “just”.
Be proud to be a self-publisher after writing a good book. When you become a published author, you’ll have a special status and you’ll deserve respect, not just now but for years to come especially if you have worked hard, written a good book, and earned good criticism and publicity.
You have earned your fame. Use it without being timid. Don’t say or write “I am just a self-publisher” as if trade publishers are any better. In fact you are better in some ways because you have more courage and you work harder. Trade publishers might deposit a check once a year to their authors' accounts, and maybe not even that, as it is deposited by their department in charge of that. The trade-published authors might earn more money initially but not necessarily because they are better than you. They just happen to get a big advance because they are more famous and have more fans. This is a good reason to write your press release and book description as someone else to give you instant clout. I don’t like to write a PR or a book description as someone else. I write it as me and find it easier. Money and fame and fans will come if you are good, if you work hard at marketing, if you chose a good topic, and if are lucky and get good publicity. Many things depend on many things, so don't just sit there and wait. Much to do.
Read comments about any book and you’ll see that others like to like what others like, but that means it’s often just a copycat effect. Copycats don’t take time to think with their own brains. Maybe they didn’t even read that book and just like to see their name among the comments tied to a book written by someone who is becoming a famous author. Some good comments might be just lazy repetitions from other comments, sometimes just a few words, as it is so easy to repeat a few platitudes by others to be in the crowd and to feel like you belong. When you read enough comments, you will get used to them and see the honest ones.
Writers need your comments. They need and want good books. Be honest, be thoughtful, be gracious, be polite and find something to say to show you actually have read the book. Explain if and why the book was less than good and how it could have been even better. That’s diplomacy. Some good comments are genuine. When you are shopping for a new book, look at comments especially with two-to-four stars that show those who have taken their time to describe the positive and less than positive sides of the book. Even if you become the best on your journey as a self-publisher, you will likely get a few comments from different people with different stars. Value them all and learn from them all you can.
If you see or get comments, long and thoughtful, that explain intelligently what’s wrong with the book, there is often some truth to that. Don’t get crushed but analyze every word and consider yourself lucky if you get mostly good comments and feel you have earned them.
Your readers might admire you or love or hate or envy you. Turn the tables around and admire them, love them, or hate or envy them--or their comments. Comments are an interesting insight into the world of people, read by others and used to sell books, a lot of books. It can work for you if you have a good book but remember you cannot please them all. First write a good book and get a good comment, many good comments, then spin it around to get all you can out of it.
Good comments will atract other good comments and customers. It can make you a reputable author. If they are good enough, they can help your book become legendary, or almost. Isn't that a good enough reason to become not only reputable but write the best book you can?