While U Wait: Connect with Colleagues
Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Location: Books & Such Central Valley Office
Weather: 88º and sunny
So while you are waiting we’ve had you perfecting your craft, building your inventory, setting up your infrastructure and pre-marketing. Now comes one of the most important things for an author-in-waiting: connecting with colleagues. But wait! One of the reasons you love writing is because it is a solitary pursuit, right? Aren’t most writers introverts?
Why in the world do we have to connect with other writers?
You’ve heard the word networking used and overused until it has made us all cringe. I once heard Randy Ingermanson say that he hated the concept and felt it was manipulative. He called it not-working. It’s all in the motivation. We writers need each other. In this day when authors are expected to shoulder a portion of the burden for marketing their books, we need each other more than ever. We need to connect with our colleagues not so much to get them to help us get the word out about our books but to see how we can help each other. It’s much easier to talk up my friend’s book than it is to talk up my own book.
Plus, the publisher is going to ask you to help get published authors to blurb your books. This is the task we all hate but if we are helping to secure endorsements for their books they will help us secure endorsements for ours. We need each other. As I mentioned yesterday, we can even have a page on our website where we review and promote other books. We may want to host blog tours.It is fun to connect with other authors, especially those who write in our genre. We can trade brainstorming, critiques and research.
So how do we connect with other writers?
- Join Writing Groups. There are so many: ACFW, RWA, Mystery Writers of America, Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Reader’s Read gives a list of dozens of organizations.
- Go to a Conference. Meeting fellow writers is one of the most important things you will do at a conference.
- Find a Local Writing Group. Check with your library, your Borders or Barnes & Noble. They will most likely know where to find the local writers.
- Comment on Author Blogs. When you leave regular comments on writing blogs, you are becoming part of that blog community. Watch the other comments. When someone interests you, follow them to their blog or Twitter. You may eventually decide to connect.
- Offer to Help Your Favorite Writers. Lauraine Snelling has a whole group of readers, writers and friends who help pass out bookmarks for her and get the word out about her new releases. I’ve watched this bestselling author reciprocate as well. She’s always helping debut authors get their start. Friendship is helping each other.
However you do it, now is the time to begin to develop the friendships that will last even longer than your books. How did you meet your writing friends?