When we tell our authors that one of the best ways to promote their books (and themselves) is by connecting with other writers, we’re not talking about the “7 Secrets to Mastering Online Networking” or the “10 Most Powerful Networking Skills to Build Rapport Quickly” (although there’s nothing wrong with these approaches if they work for you). What we are talking about is actually joining organized groups of other writers – in your community, online, or both!
We recently joined CWILL BC, a group of published BC children’s writers and illustrators who share, among other things, rights and contract information, conferences and retreats, book deals, launches, and reviews, writing tips, awards, etc. These are real people offering information and experiences with other like-minded creative types who share a common love of writing and illustrating kids’ books. You can decide how engaged you want to be and jump in if a topic resonates with you or if you have something to add to the conversation. There’s no obligation to participate – you can simply be an active “observer.”
On Facebook, where authors’ groups abound, we’re members of Canada Writes, Women Writers, Women Books, The Write Life Community, and The Indie Author Group. These are not places where we promote our business, ourselves, or our authors (although there are some opportunities to do so within their parameters). So how, then, is this helpful? Through these groups, members have the opportunity to learn a wealth of current, first-hand information about what’s happening in the publishing industry nationally and in specific regions, and more importantly, there are other authors to bounce ideas off of for book concepts, titles, covers, marketing ideas, etc. These are communities where you can share your successes and your failures – even a negative book review. Think of it as one big support group and learning opportunity all in one.
Whether writing is a full- or part-time gig for you, it is solitary by nature, and engaging with other writers will only help to enhance your craft and bolster the success of your book. There’s a village of people out there willing to help you create and market your next book. All you have to do is join the party.