Get Connected! How building community can make you a better writer.
As writers, it’s easy to get lost in what we’re doing. We settle in at our computer (or notebook) and start hammering out our written worlds. Being solitary is part and parcel of the writing life. But to be successful as a writer — commercially or otherwise — we need to connect with others.
Ideally, we’d be part of an engaged writing community, full of people willing to give us feedback, ideas, and help grow our skills. From Socrates to Hemingway, and Plath to Palahniuk, many of history’s greatest writers were members of active writing groups. That said, the pace of modern life can make it difficult to commit to regular meetings.
A great alternative is to use social media to connect with other writers. Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter all offer powerful ways to find and interact with writers. Of these, Twitter is perhaps the most flexible. A good way to find and “follow” other writers is search for common writing hashtags such as: #AmWriting #AmEditing #AmRevising #CopyWriting #EditGoal #Editing #IndieAuthor. You can also try searching under your preferred genre: #mystery #romance #YA #nonfiction and so on. Follow writers you’re interested in and comment on their posts. You’ll be amazed how quickly discussions can start.
Social media is also a great way to connect with readers - and not just to endlessly promote your book, but to have meaningful discussions about all things writerly. Perhaps one of the most successful examples of this strategy is YA writer, John Green. An enthusiastic proponent of social media, Green feels that authors owe it to their readers and to themselves to interact as much as possible. For him, “the real privilege is having a seat at the table in the lives of people when they’re figuring out what matters to them.”*
Connecting with readers online not only helps build positive word-of-mouth but can also provide invaluable feedback for writers. By understanding where your work succeeds with readers (or doesn’t), you can continue to refine and improve your skills.
*(See http://fw.to/mNVMqXb for the full interview.)
Photo Contest: Win a $100 FriesenPress Credit!
Few things bring us more joy than seeing our authors with their books, but this isn’t something we always get to see. Help us remedy that by sending us your photos! Whether from a book launch, reading, or simply your favorite writing spot, we’ll randomly award one lucky entrant a $100 FriesenPress credit.
Send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org, but act fast. Deadline for submission is July 15, 2016!
- Only one entry per person is permitted
- Credit is non-transferable, non-refundable, and is not redeemable for cash or other prizes. Must be accepted as awarded.
- The Author agrees to permit FriesenPress to publish their name, photograph, or likeness without further compensation, in any publicity carried out by FriesenPress.
- The Author releases FriesenPress, as well as their advertising and promotional agencies, from liability for any damage or prejudice arising from the use of the photograph and out of the awarding and use of the winning credit.
Team Member Spotlight
Choosing just one FriesenPress team member to be profiled in our inaugural author newsletter was an impossible task. So, to be as democratic as possible we’ve elected to spotlight an important team member from a different species.
Role: Office Morale, Food Inspector, Nap Patrol
Favorite FriesenPress Title: Rebecca Klemke’s Decades of Decadence
Best part of your day?: Lunchtime. Runner-up: when the sun is directly above our skylights, aka nap time.
From the President’s Desk
Book Expo America – Chicago, McCormick Place, May 11 – 13
Several weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend my 2nd Book Expo America at Chicago’s sprawling McCormick Place. For those of you who don’t know, BEA is the largest book and author event in North America. I arrived at the conference with a full agenda on my mind.
BEA and other tradeshows are a vibrant celebration of all things books. The highlight for me, though, is having the opportunity to connect with FriesenPress authors, in person. This year, I was thrilled to meet Randi Sherman. Randi has published 4 books with us and was there holding a public signing of her newest novel, The Lobby.
Another exciting aspect of trade shows is the opportunity to meet with new suppliers who can help us further expand our offerings to you, our authors. This year I was especially focused on exploring new formats for our authors to publish in, such as audio books and large print editions. I am also in the research phase of developing writer coaching and enhanced publicity services. Great strides are being made in all those directions.
As BEA drew to a close, I reflected on how encouraging it was to see that the writing and selling of books continues to flourish. I was honored to connect with industry organizations who regularly refer authors to us. They do this because they know that the publishing services offered by FriesenPress are second to none. Every book is a dream and we’re proud to help bring dreams to life.
I hope to see some of you next year, as BEA travels back to New York for 2017.
Each issue we’ll present an exercise or prompt aimed at getting you writing and building your skills. This month’s pump-up is called Just Write It!
A problem for many writers is silencing their inner critic — that voice in your head that tries to edit every sentence before it even hits the page. Naturally, we want our writing to be perfect, but unless we separate the writing from the editing we risk choking off our creativity. So long as our attention is taken up with worrying about our writing, we can only skim the surface of our thoughts. But by writing fast and free, we can sink down to where the murky, unstructured impulses live. The kooky, original stuff that is us in its purest sense. A terrible paragraph can always be edited, but a blank page will always say nothing.
The pump-up: Tomorrow, get up a little early and write at least two pages in your journal. Don’t plan what you’re going to say and don’t concern yourself with perfection. No editing! Just write. Write about what’s troubling you, what you had for dinner, your Aunt Gladys’s gummy bear habit, or why every workplace should have a bouncy castle. It doesn’t matter. Just write. By giving yourself permission to say anything and as unedited as possible, you’re telling your brain that expressing things is okay. It won’t take long before it gets the idea.