Thanks to the efforts of Patti Larsen, today’s post is part of a writer’s bloghop. Similar to a sock hop, but without the physical exertion and sweat. It has been titled “Second Tuesday”, and will appear here…well, every second Tuesday of the month. The objective is to present a topic for conversation, then link together a group of blogs that will provide you, the reader, the opportunity to read the different interpretations of the topic. Pretty cool, right? I think so, too. We all have a unique perspective, and I look forward to getting to know other bloggers and forging new connections. Which, coincidentally….
This month’s topic is “New Connections”. For both new and established writers, this is an important topic, especially if you’re a self-published or indie author. We don’t have the advantage of traditionally published products — we don’t have the distribution channels, the exposure, or the support of a big house behind us. Moreover, we don’t have gatekeepers to vet the material that’s being produced. This can be a problem, as we slog away in obscurity, writing our little fingers to the bone and presenting our best, then waving our arms in the air, jumping up and down with pom poms, to little or no avail. We’re a hardy bunch; we celebrate every book or piece sold, one by one, but it can be a long, frustrating process.
You don’t have to tell us to not give up. For most of us, that’s not even a consideration. We love what we do and wouldn’t quit if you tied us to a chair and let loose the zombies. (Okay, maybe then.) But, what are our options if we want to make our endeavors successful? New connections, of course! How do you do that?
Join groups that interest you, don’t just join a group to join. That’s not to say you can’t join a group then drop out if it doesn’t work for you, and time can be a factor, but at least try something different from time to time. Participation is key — without it, you’re just a name on a board and that’s not really going to do you any good. While I am really starting to despise the term “writer’s platform”, there is no mystery to the process. Just like in “real life”, you have to put yourself out there, interact with people from a SINCERE place, and keep on building, once block at a time.
Here are some suggestions for writers:
#Amwriting: this is a group of writers who have met on Twitter, and this site is the brainchild of novelist Johanna Harness. Here is a directory of members and their works, a discussion forum, and other nifty ways to get your name out and about and a way to form new connections.
ABC Indie Reading Challenge: I can’t remember where I first saw this link, but I was totally hooked when I did. I firmly believe in putting my money where my mouth is, and not only is this a good way to expose yourself to new indie fiction, it’s also a fabulous way to pay it forward and to present honest reviews on those read to the public.
Sometimes, you’re looking for something closer to your heart. Your very own peeps, people who write in the same genre and are aware of the challenges and torture chambers that await the unwary. Check out the brand-new collective at Indie Horror for those who write horror. Although in the early stages, it looks like a good way to hook up with others who write about the dark, bitey things that lurk in the shadows of your closet. (Ooo! *shiver* I just freaked myself out!)
Of course, joining a group and hanging out from time to time can reap a number of benefits you’re not expecting. You might find a Trek buddy, a new critique partner, or someone who just so happens to have a talent you need that may be willing to barter for a talent you have that they need. Again, because we don’t have a big house behind us, it’s a little more difficult to retain the same level of services they do such as editing and graphic design. However, you’re not the only independent out there — there are many others in many other disciplines looking for the same big break you are who are just as talented, if not more so, that the pool NYC has to work with.
My main message here is — help a brother or a sister out, if you can. Even if it’s something as small as a vote for an award, a helping hand with copy, exchanging services, re-posting a Tweet or a link on FB, joining a group and making friendly (and legal!) advances — be a doer, not a wallflower in the corner. Not only will you advance your own interests, you’ll be helping others out, and that type of good karma can only come back in the best of ways.
Be open. Be friendly. Be honest. Be kind. Above all, be kind. There’s too much of the other bullshit floating around out there.
You can find “Not Nice and Other Understatements” here for purchase, or you can find it on Amazon in print or for the Kindle. It is also available on Smashwords in a plethora of formats for your reading pleasure. For an autographed copy, please visit this post. Thanks for your support!