Writing can be a very lonely business and sooner or later we need to reach out and find other like-minded people. We need to network.
As we progress along the path of learning the craft and finding a publisher the types of networking will change and evolve. Initially we seek support and encouragement; we may be writing purely for ourselves, or we may wish to hone our skills and learn the craft, in which case honest feedback will be invaluable. Later we need advice on things like tax and PLR.
So here are some of the different types of networking that you are likely to encounter if you choose to take this journey.
Writing Groups (real life)
For most people this will be their first port of call when they start to reach out and look to meet other writers. Most areas will have a writers group, or maybe several. The key thing here is to find one that suits you. Not everyone wants the same things out of their writing, and the dynamic of a group will change as its membership changes. The only way to find out if it is right for you is to go along a couple of times and see how you feel. I joined a group in Yeovil and for many years enjoyed their insightful and honest critique, which was exactly what I needed.
There are all sorts of online writing forums and they can vary widely. As with real life writing groups it is important to choose the one that suits you. Some offer online critique. Others may be a place for authors to chat or ask for advice. Of course it helps if they are well moderated and the trolls kept at bay. Forums are notorious for getting out of control. I benefitted hugely from such a forum, sadly no more, which was called Litopia.
Writing groups (virtual)
Once you start to get to know other authors you may well find you want to set up a secure online place to keep in touch, and for this facebook or yahoo can provide a good platform. Many authors that I know belong to a closed group of this kind.
These are collaborative blogs set up by a group of likeminded authors. You’ll find them all over the internet, usually genre specific, or related to a shared interest. The ones I am involved with are Author Allsorts, Seamagic and Cyder Scribes.
Meeting other local authors
As soon as you get a book deal things start to change. You suddenly discover that there are other published authors living close by. Before long you are arranging to meet up for lunch or for coffee. For me it started when I discovered that my agent had another client who lived nearby and we met for lunch. Our numbers are slowly swelling and the other week when we met there were four of us.
I really need to get organised on this one. Everyone keeps telling me I should join the society of authors. I will do … soon….