Last week, I received a touching email message from an author who wondered if I could help him figure out how he could get feedback on his book before he published it.
It’s not that he didn’t have faith in his book — it was more that he didn’t want to invest in the publishing process if he didn’t have outside validation that he had written something that others would like to read.
His tone was gentle, honest, realistic.
And it touched me.
I’m not even sure why. Maybe his lack of arrogance suggested vulnerability. He didn’t presume that if he could write a book, the world would want to read it. Instead, he asked, “How can I find out if this is any good?”
Join an author community
This is where belonging to writers’ group can make a significant difference in an author’s career. Whether your group is the kind that meets face-to-face on a regular schedule or virtual — the kind that exists online — you can often find someone who has their act together to read your manuscript and offer at least an overview opinion.
Being part of a writers’ community takes time and effort, though, and you might feel like you don’t have enough time to do enough as it is. I hear you! But be open to the possibilities with a group. Your community connections will help you with those tasks – writing, publishing, and promoting — that often weigh you down.
So for that author and others like him who could benefit from the multi-faceted support that comes from belonging to a group of like-minded people who can cheer you on, offer advice, help promote your newest title, or commiserate, I offer this list of online options where you can connect with like-minded authors so you’ve got the right network, relationships, and support you need for your writing career.
This collection of forums covers a wide range of writing topics and book genres, but because there are so many of them, you can usually get the information or support you need when you need it.
The one thing I don’t like about this site is precisely what so many others do like – users can be anonymous. I prefer forums where you use your name so that you’re more likely to feel accountable for your comments.
This is a friendly online community with many forums with a lot of daily activity. Get your questions about publishing answered, discuss and review books, or make new friends in “The Cool Hang-Out Chill Zone.” One friendly soul welcomed me with a site e-mail message as soon as I joined – and that’s indicative of the community atmosphere as a whole.
There is both a free and premium level.
Savvy Authors describes itself as a network that promotes “mentoring and sharing of knowledge and expertise” among the nearly 8,000 members and offers a strong support network. Its greatest value for community building is more likely to be in the Yahoo “loop” than on the forums, where there’s less chatter.
While there’s a premium level that offers perks that includes discounts on in-house courses, the free basic level offers all you need to connect with other authors.
Use the Facebook search box to search for specific terms that will work for you (“health writers” or “self-published authors”). In the results page, select the “more” tab and then select “groups” for results.
Be careful to avoid those groups that are designed to help authors announce publication, free days, review requests, and so on. They aren’t communities — authors don’t get to know each other and converse or share information — they’re more like advertising sites than groups.
You might need to join a few groups before you find one where you feel at home. Feel free to join and try out my private Facebook “Build Book Buzz group. It offers a friendly gathering spot for authors who want to talk about book marketing.
LinkedIn hosts many author discussion groups. To find the right one for you, go to the search box at the top of the page. From the dropdown menu to the left of the box, select “Groups.” Then enter your search term – ghostwriters, book marketing, and so on.
Participation makes all the difference in LinkedIn groups. The more you start or contribute to discussions, the more you’ll get from your membership.
Join two groups initially and try them out. Then add a few more. Participate regularly so you get value plus a sense of each group’s personality. You might find that over time, you look forward to signing in to one of them more than the others. That group will most likely be the home of your new author community.
The Build Book Buzz Facebook group is a great place to start if you want to learn more about book marketing in particular. We have a supportive group of busy, smart authors who are willing to share what they know and ask and answer questions. Join us today and introduce yourself!
What author communities do you recommend to your writer friends?
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