The Plus Side of Joining the Online Community
edited: Sunday, February 24, 2002
By Carol Randy
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2002
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Networking can help to promote you and your books.
Networking with other writers not only helps to market yourself, but your books as well.
Joining the internet community can be a real plus, not only in developing your writing techniques, but in marketing yourself and your writing to others. Networking with other writers offers many benefits. It is a way to get advice, receive positive feedback for a job well done or even get a well-placed cyber boot when needed. Authors are often more than willing to share book marketing ideas and new places they have discovered to place information about their books on.
My own experiences in networking on chats, message boards and e-groups has shown that writers and authors, for the most part, are very giving people. In analyzing this, several possibilities come to mind. Nearly every author has battled through the stages of writers block, of rejection, of rewrites and more rewrites, so they can relate to others going through the same things. Another reason might be that writers look at things around them with a bit more intensity that gives them a better insight to the quirks and nature of others. Often writers are misunderstood, sometimes by people in their own families and by friends and neighbors, because they spend so much time honing their skills and doing what for them is a passion that can only be attained by self-belief, self-discipline and endless hours of typing. New writers, especially, need encouragement. If they can't find it at home or among their friends, the internet community can provide it.
Some chat communities become like extended families. Genuine joy is there when someone finds success, and encouragement is there for those who are struggling. Because the net is open to the world, there will always be an experienced writer able to offer advice on a particular subject. If you have a suspense novel coming out, go to a few writer's communities or chats and ask if anyone has any ideas about how and where you can market it. Don't just pop in and out. Stick around and get to know people and let them get to know you. One marketing idea that I had was to become well acquainted with people and develop friendships. Then, when my book came out, I asked a few if I could mail them some bookmarks with pertinent information on my book so they could pass them out at coffee shops or give them to their coworkers in their cities. You should also have something to offer in return. Let's say your specialty is writing about the stock market. You could search the web and have a file of URLs pertinent to that subject and announce that you will send it to anyone interested. Always, include your URL at the bottom of any emails. If you have learned marketing tips, offer to share them. At this point it is you that you are marketing and this in turn will help you sell your book.
The important thing is to shop around and decide exactly what benefits you need when finding a community. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes you can get a wealth of information by asking a simple question: "Is there anyone here who can recommend?" There is a certain comfort level in knowing that you have support that is so easy to access. There is also a sense of satisfaction when you are able to help others.