One of the most wonderful elements of the author journey is becoming a part of the #writingcommunity. We hear time and again what a difference it makes to have support and feel engaged rather than isolated. Not only will being in community keep you apprised of the changes and challenges in and of the publishing industry, it will give you opportunities to find fulfillment in helping fellow writers. Today we have some ideas to get you started.
A great place to begin is by actively and unselfishly offering to be a reader of pre-published works. It can be harder than writers sometimes expect to get people to follow through with reading drafts of manuscripts. Be the friend that can be utilized as an alpha or beta reader that will commit to reading intentionally and providing feedback! And don’t stop at “This book was great!” You know how important empathetic and actionable advice is, and how much you’d like to receive it, so give generously!
When you’ve finished a published book that you love, leave a review anywhere readers can find it! Word of mouth remains the very best marketing tool of them all. It's organic and meaningful, and it's the perfect way to support the #writingcommunity. Reading should be part of every writer's priorities, and reviewing or sharing what you've read is a small additional step with a big pay off for the person who write the book. If you love it; share it. Your friends and your audience will thank you for your sincere recommendation!
Engage with the online content that your writer friends post on social media and their websites. When you "like," "follow," and "share" your author friends' content, it makes it more discoverable, AND it boosts their confidence that their efforts are worthwhile. Even if you don't have time to comment, members of your #writingcommunity benefit greatly from those quick clicks, and will likely someday return the favor. If you do have time, pay it forward by leaving your kind thoughts for others to see. You might tip the scales to help someone else choose your friend’s book as their next read.
Collaborate on social media and promotional efforts with other writers. This is something you can begin long before you are published. One of the easiest ways to gain new followers on social media is to get in front of the audience of a writer friend who is engaging with your target audience. The two of you (or group of you) will naturally have some overlap in your readership, but there will be new people to interact with in your shared circles as well. A successful collaboration might look like a giveaway or contest, or it might be something like a book club, read-along, or special in-person event. Don’t be afraid to put your heads together and have some fun.
Give books as gifts! As you read books, make a goal of thinking about the people in your social sphere who would enjoy them. Then pass them on! Or if you can’t part with it or read the ebook/audio, purchase the book for your friend or family member for the next holiday. I know that I am personally much more likely to read a book quickly if it was given to me by someone who read it and knows it’s “my kind of book.” Special editions and signed copies of books also make excellent gifts. And how wonderful is it that you’re actually helping two people – your gift recipient and the author!
Join Professional Writing Organizations. Becoming a member of an organization like SCBWI, the Author’s Guild, Mystery Writers of America, or a local writing guild is an excellent way to get to know other writers. It’s also inherently supportive to the writing community as a whole. Your membership dues and your participation allow those organizations to offer robust programming and resources that will benefit everyone involved.
As you get to know others in the writing community, you will have more and more opportunity to be on the receiving end of this kind of support. Forming strong bonds with writing friends is the best way to ensure you’ll be on their mind when they are looking for someone to partner with, and that bond often begins with a selfless gesture. We hope this post has inspired to take the first step!
By Anjanette Barr
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