The digital era is changing the face of publishing.
You hear that all the time, right? Traditional publishing houses are dying out. A new marketplace surging with indie authors and e-books is the turbulent ocean trying to sink that very old ship. And right now we’re in the murkiest, most volatile of waters.
It’s a very exciting time to be a writer. The playing field is closer to level now than it’s ever been—maybe than it will ever be again, once trends start to really solidify the course of publishing. No one quite knows what will happen yet although a good many theorize about it. And good for them—let’s all throw our guesses out there. Now’s the time, if ever. Small steps and minor decisions now might mean a drastic flip later.
Don’t Go It Alone
My ideas about the future of the publishing industry morph as time passes, as I talk to more people, read more articles, and witness more peers becoming successful. I don’t have any definitive answers. But I do have a few guesses. Lately I’ve been seriously considering the ways authors can help each other out on the path to success and seeing that this could be a vital element.
If you’re an author you may view other writers as your competition. But that type of cynical outlook does nothing to advance yourself—it only alienates you. Instead we should support other writers. If we work together there’s the opportunity for a great synergy among us.
How to Team Up With Other Writers
Okay, so it’s all good in theory, but how should you actually go about doing it? I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately, and I’ve come up with some great ways to team up.
- Writing collaboration
The most obvious way to access that synergy with another writer is to collaborate on a project. If you co-author a book, you’re automatically promoting another author through marketing and sales.
- Provide mutual feedback.
Getting other opinions on your work is valuable and it’s something most writers crave. Sharing your work with another writer can get you specific, constructive feedback you might not get from family or friends. Trade stories and agree to proofread, comment, and suggest edits for each other. Another benefit of helping someone edit his or her work is that it helps you grow in your own writing.
- Marketing support
The word “marketing” covers a LOT. Here are the ways I’ve thought about trading/combining efforts with other authors.
- Giveaways—Instead of doing a solo giveaway, how about joining forces for a contest? The prizes could be books from both authors. By working together you can spread the word much further.
- Reviews and endorsements—This is a great, tangible way to support fellow writers. Positive reviews are appreciated by all authors. The important thing is to keep your review honest. If you don’t like to give negative reviews, it’s better just to pass on a book. Respect the readers; don’t leave dishonest reviews no matter what.
- Guest blog posts—I’m assuming that as a writer you’ve already launched an author blog. (If not, you should start NOW.) Think of your blog as a place to share about not only your own work but other authors’ work as well. Consider a regular feature where you highlight a book or author, or ask a writer who inspires you to write a guest post. (If you’d like to be featured on my site as a blogger or author, check this page for more information.)
- Triberr—If you haven’t heard of it yet, this is a great way to gather a group of online friends and easily tweet each other’s posts. Triberr is a you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours type of thing, so it works best when everyone in your tribe is equally committed. A word of advice: Triberr is big on trying to spread their reach further. You can easily join and invite other non-members to your tribe for free, but if you invite a preexisting member, it will cost both parties a good chunk of their “bones” (Triberr currency) to connect. I found this out the hard way when asking people if they wanted to be on my tribe and quickly ran out of “bones.” If you verbally invite someone and they create their own Triberr account, they are THEN considered a member and CANNOT join your tribe for free. (It’s a bit of a headache to deal with, so make sure you warn you friends not to join until they get your invite.)
- Form a collective or cooperative
I can see this as being a massive wave of the future. In a world where the big publishing houses can no longer bar the gates against indie writers, there will soon be a surge of books on the market from unknown authors with no credentials. (There are already quite a few, but we’re in the early stages. It’s not fully saturated yet. Imagine how it may look five or ten years from now.) Despite how it sounds, this is a goodthing. The only problem is, with more and more books being released, it becomes difficult to tell the good ones from the error-ridden, unprofessional ones. Currently ratings and reviews are the main ways for reader to navigate the waters of new authors. Another way to help guide the reader’s search is through a collective imprint. Imagine how much easier it would be to find a good indie-published book if you didn’t have to look any farther than the logo on the spine. This would be a great way for a handful of high-quality, experienced authors to unify and brand themselves, thereby lending credibility to each other. The key in making a collective imprint effective is to ensure that you have have professional-quality books, several of which are getting many positive reviews. Forming a panel of writers and requiring them to approve each book would be a good way to ensure that what the collective puts out is worthy. If you’re a newbie writer and want to be a part of something like this, you’ll need good authors with a few popular books on your team to help it succeed. A friend of mine, Anna Howard, is putting together just such an organization. Check out Elder Tree Books for more information.
On my road to discovering what it looks like to support other authors, I’ve met and been inspired by a handful of great people in the writing community, Here’s a shout out to the other writers who’ve supported and help me carve out this philosophy in my own life. I’m looking forward to deeper friendships and more opportunities to help each other succeed. Follow them on Twitter and check out their websites.
This is my take on the synergy of writers, but I’d love to hear yours. Which of these aspects have you put into practice? What other ways can writers support each other?
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12 thoughts on “Why and How You Should Support Other Writers”
Thanks for the shout-out, Becca, and the great article. I love your thoughts on cooperatives and communities.
I love that this is the ‘marketing’ – gathering with other people who love books and writing.
I’m planning giveaways, lots of guest posts, and have plans to solicit reviews.
Thanks again for mentioning me; it’s been a delight to connect and collaborate with you!
You’re quite welcome.
I know, “marketing” is pretty fun when you’re a writer–hanging out with creative people, working together. What could be better?
Good luck with all your projects. I’m glad we met!
This is a great post, Becca, and so true. Thank you for putting it out there!
Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by, Eva.
Thanks for the mention, Becca! All good advice, except that my head starts spinning when I think of how Triberr works. I’m very slow, uninspired and underwhelmed when it comes to joining the masses in networking and so on. But I totally agree that other writers should be viewed as fellow travelers rather than competition. (Unless of course another writer had the exact same idea as me and was about to launch his similarly titled book a few weeks ahead of mine, in which case I’d have to hunt that writer down…)
Ha ha. I don’t think you have anything to worry about there, Keith. 🙂
As far as Triberr and the social networks go, it’s a bit overwhelming for anyone at first. And the key to enjoying it (rather than dreading it) is seeing the whole experience as a way to connect with individuals. Because that’s really what effective marketing does, in my opinion. No one wants to be broadcasted at, but most people are open to new friendships and meeting like-minded people. That’s sort of how I see this part of it. Connecting with other people. And doing that has made it very enjoyable for me.
And I keep telling myself that out of the droves of people we bump into, a few new solid writerly friendships are formed here and there, making it all worthwhile. Still… sometimes it’s hard work mingling when time is tight and I really just want to be writing! I do wish they’d legalize cloning.
Ha ha! That’s great. 🙂
I really enjoyed this post. I can’t tell you how important this subject is to me. As a n unpublished author I find myself getting lost in the sea of loneliness that writing often creates. It’s those authors, such as yourself, that have help pull my through this. So thank you!
Cheers to love & support….and getting published!
Aww. Thanks, Angie! I think most of us don’t want to go it alone. Writing can be a very solitary sport, and yet we need each other.
Thanks for the good wishes!
I agree, Becca. I’ve seen a few collaborations. My favorite is the dynamic duo of Sean Platt and David Wright. Their serialized fiction formula is awesome!
Holly Jahangiri, Marian Allen and I are collaborating with a friendly “Race to the Hugo” competition, which we promote via our blog.
I first saw you on CreativeCopyChallenge.com and, I must say, that is one of the best, low-pressure ways to hang out with other writers. It’s not just about hanging out – I’ve been inspired, then encouraged, to reach deep into my creative bag to make fun stories. The result has been one novelette, one detective story and a compilation of stories and poems.
Here’s to more collaborations!
That’s great, Mitch. I’m glad you’ve been inspired by other writers. I love the CCC and I’ll be doing a post about how they sparked my novel very soon.
Thanks for stopping by!