By: Sara Matz | A three-minute read
As writers, we are constantly searching for the perfect community of supportive, knowledgeable authors who will read your book and give you the critical feedback you need to have the perfect manuscript. It might sound cliché, but you get what you put into the world, and that means you need to be that person for someone else once and a while. In-person or online, you could be the inspiration you’ve been looking for to another aspiring author and gain the positive attention from the writing community that could result in new readers and positive reviews for your book.
What are some things you can solicit from the community?
We see all kinds of author inquiries; some are more acceptable than others. Where do you draw the line on what is right to crowdsource? I suggest using your writing community to do things like evaluating your manuscript, reading and critiquing sections you are working through, reading and reviewing your book, and of course, purchasing your book. Keep the skilled labor for the professionals, meaning editing, typesetting, and illustration. Of course, you can go searching for the perfect illustrator through the same channels, but they should be hired. Never ask an artist to work “for exposure.”
Our goal is to make every writer more confident and excited about their work. A few things to keep in mind as you get yourself out there and mingle:
Most people you meet are writing for fun, they want to take pride in their work and that’s why they’re asking for some constructive criticisms. When giving feedback be sure to point out your favorite parts as well as ones that need some finishing touches.
Don’t be afraid to reciprocate
The best way to get someone to do some free labor for you is to offer it in return. Whether you are asking for editing or a review on your finished book, offer to read and review their book, and give quality feedback both to the author and future readers.
Be clear about your intentions
When asking for advice on your manuscript, especially with editing, be clear about what you are looking for and what skills you have that you offer to other authors. For example, if you are asking for editing on your poetry, make sure to be clear if it’s grammatical or structural.
The same goes for when offering your skills, If you feel you excel in advising character growth and are not the strongest with advanced grammar, sharing your strongest skills will leave you with happier authors.
Where do I find these amazing supportive authors?
Everywhere! Seriously. There are authors that are excited to support each other, possibly looking for someone like you! A local writing group is a productive way to meet authors actively working on their next project, and a great way to network a skillshare. I would expect to find more people on the pre-publishing side of their work excited to talk about excerpts they are working on looking for feedback to aid in the growth of their book.
Going to conventions is a really fun way to network! Writing conventions come in all styles, from small, genre-specific events (like Philcon where we will be repping in November), to huge conferences like Book Expo America, there is so much to learn and participate in. Sitting in on panels is a great way to become inspired and learn something new about the industry. If you are comfortable doing so, apply to be on a panel you are well versed in. This is also a chance to plug your book 😉. After the panel, people who were inspired by what you were talking about will often come up to introduce themselves. Don’t be afraid to plug your book and suggest they leave you a great review when they’re done reading.
I really enjoy the Twitter #writingcommunity as well as #iartg (indie author retweet group) and find them to be naturally supportive as well as a great place to interact with authors all over the world. When I see a writer asking a question about the publishing industry, I can easily swoop in with some insight and possibly drop a shameless plug for one of our previous blogs. Facebook groups are great for this as well, especially with how specific each group can get. There really is a community for everyone out there.