A guide to networking by Tamela Buhrke
If you’ve been reading my series on building Your Writer Board of Directors, then you are probably wondering where you can
meet these mythical guides to your writing career. How will you connect with people who are willing to provide support and give advice on writing, getting published and the business of being a writer?
By joining a writer community, that’s how.
No I’m not talking about that sweet little ladies group that meets in the local church basement (though, they’re nice too). I’m talking about an organized group of writers who live, eat and breathe writing.
These communities come in two flavors: online and real world.
You can join one or several. Plus, you can find groups that deal with specific topics, such as young adult or women's subjects. Here is a sample of the types online communities that connect writers:
- WritersCafe.org is, according to their website, an online writing community where writers can post their work, get reviews, befriend other writers, and much more.
- Protagonize.com boasts over 16,000 authors from around the world. It too let’s you post your work and get review, connect with authors and ask questions.
- Mibba.com is a site for teens and early twenties. You can connect with other young writers, upload stories and poetry then get feedback.
- BookCountry.com is a new social network created by Penguin. You can post part or all of your manuscript and let the community give you reviews and feedback. They also plan to add self-publishing services.
- SheWrites.com Offers the largest community of women writers online. They approach the topics of writing from a woman's perspective. However, men are free to join.
These free social networks provide you with the best of all possible worlds. You can meet and mingle, get inspiration and share your writing frustrations without the commitment of regular meetings. Best of all, you can do it on your own time and it’s always there when you need it. Have a busy week? Don’t log in. Need advice or a pat on the back? Hop into a forum or chat room and find a friend.
These sites are a low maintenance way of learning, growing and networking in our field. You may even pick up a few local friends and be able to set up local meetups, write-ins and coffee talks.
Once you’ve gotten your feet wet online, getting involved with local writing groups and organizations can help you build your connections within the publishing world. There are so many organizations; it would be hard to list them all here. Fortunately, I found a link to a site that has the most comprehensive list I’ve seen:
From the Alamo Writers group in San Antonio to our own Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, the list will help you to find a group near you or a group that represents your genre or other connections.
Now that you are mixing and mingling with writers, the next step is to build friendships. You don’t need to build your board yet. Right now, just get to know people. Listen and learn. People who attend these meetings regularly often have a world of experience and understanding about the business of being a writer.
Start by getting comfortable with your fellow writers and finding information, friendship and support. As your career grows, you will need critique, publishing and marketing partners. Next time, I will show you where to find groups for more specific purposes.
See you next week.