Find your author community online

author community 1

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.

absolute write logo1. Absolute Write Water Cooler

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.

Scribophile logo2. Scribophile

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 logo3. Savvy Authors

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.

Facebook logo4. Facebook

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.

LI logo5. LinkedIn

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.

Pick 2

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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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested. Download Sandra’s free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” and you’ll also receive the free weekly “Build Book Buzz” newsletter loaded with book marketing tips and advice.
14 Responses to Find your author community online
  1. Virginia
    October 7, 2015 | 10:38 am

    Thanks for this information. I haven’t joined groups yet so it’s good to read about ones you suggest.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      October 7, 2015 | 10:49 am

      I’m glad it was helpful, Virginia. Thanks for letting me know. I recommend joining and test-driving a couple before really jumping in with both feet. Every community seems to have its own personality.

      Sandy

  2. Nancy Andres
    October 7, 2015 | 11:22 am

    Thanks Sandra for this informative article, Find your author community online. I’m in the process of re-evaluating the time and energy I spend in writing, submitting articles, blogging, book publicity and events, and engagement on the internet. I am tweaking the mix.Your article gave me food for thought. I provide a link to your website on mine, because I find tips you provide so helpful! Warm regards, Nancy Andres, Health & Lifestyle Writer, Author of “Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss.”

    • Sandra Beckwith
      October 7, 2015 | 11:28 am

      I’m so glad the article was helpful, Nancy, and thanks SO MUCH for linking to my site! I appreciate it!

      I’d recommend identifying the one area you need the most help with at this point and finding just the right group or community for that. For example, the LinkedIn groups are more specialized than those you might find on Facebook — you just have to find the right group for your “issue.” On the other hand, places like Absolute Write have forums dedicated to specific aspects of writing and authorship, so just one forum w/in that bigger umbrella might work for you. Go explore…you might enjoy it!

      Sandy

      • Nancy Andres
        October 8, 2015 | 1:17 pm

        Great ideas Sandra. Thanks for your help.
        Nancy Andres, Author of “Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss.”

        • Sandra Beckwith
          October 8, 2015 | 1:20 pm

          You’re welcome!

          Sandy

  3. Flora Morris Brown
    October 7, 2015 | 9:01 pm

    Thanks for sharing this list,Sandra. I’ll be sure to share it. To this list I’d like to add https://www.facebook.com/groups/GutsyIndiePublishers/. This group is not set up to offer formal mentoring, there is friendly exchange from published authors willing to share their experience and expertise.

    As a new member of a group, it’s most important to read the exchanges to get a feel for the groups before jumping in and asking for help. On the groups with active forums, see if your questions have been answered before you ask.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      October 7, 2015 | 9:19 pm

      Excellent advice, Flora! Thank you!

      Sandy

  4. Alma Apostol
    October 8, 2015 | 11:11 am

    Thank you for sharing the site. I’ll join one or two.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      October 8, 2015 | 11:14 am

      Glad to hear it, Alma!

      Sandy

  5. Karen Ingle
    October 10, 2015 | 2:30 pm

    Thanks, Sandra, for these ideas. You have helped me recognize that I need to focus more of my time on groups/forums that specifically address the aspects of writing I’m working through now. I will check out your suggested sites.
    Your work here is so valuable!

    • Sandra Beckwith
      October 11, 2015 | 8:50 pm

      I’m so glad it was helpful, Karen! Thanks for the feedback.

      Sandy

  6. Donna Vaal
    October 14, 2015 | 10:38 am

    Thanks for all the wonderful posts you provide.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      October 14, 2015 | 10:40 am

      You’re so welcome, Donna. Thanks for taking the time to comment — and for being so kind.

      Sandy

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