Monday 3 December 2018

Networking With Other Authors - The Creative Process


I talked a few weeks ago about all the hats that an indie author has to wear (found here) but while talking about that, I touched on the fact that other authors are not your competition, whether they be indie or traditional. I wanted to broaden the scope on that and talk about it a little more without bogging down one post, so that brings me to today's discussion. Part of being an author is networking. And while the word itself, at least to me, feels like it has some negative connotations, it's not a bad thing.

Let me explain. When someone talks about "networking" they usually mean using someone else's connections to further their own goals. It's not a bad thing, when done right, but so often it feels like it just isn't done right. It feels like too many people are seeing this opportunity as a way to push down their fellow author and lift themselves up in the process. There has been a lot of talk recently about issues in the writing community as a whole, part of that has been the reason for some of my recent blog posts. I want to both address those issues and also point out other ways that we can turn the process around and make it a positive experience for everyone involved.

So what am I talking about? Quite simply networking should be something that helps both authors. It shouldn't be a case of using someone for what they have and then walking away. I've explained this before and I will again, a reader can be a fan of several different authors, hundreds even and while they may not buy your book at the same time as someone else, there's no reason for them not to later. Using another author as a stepping stone is what puts people off. That level of toxicity in the writing and author community is what pushes readers away. I feel like it's something that we need to be talking about, but also learning from our mistakes and moving forward.

And I'm not innocent in that. I've made mistakes, as I've talked about before. But I've learned from them and I'm moving forward. When it comes to making author friends, I no longer worry about the indie/traditional divide. I just wanna read good books and help authors. It's one of the reasons for my Friday posts, so that I can shine a line on people who write amazing books. I don't have a problem with who's published by which route because we're all out here doing what we do because we love telling stories and we love writing. So when I'm looking to connect with other authors, I'm doing so in a way that allows us both to shine.

Now we're coming to the end of the year, and I know I'm looking at the goals I set myself last year and I'm realising that in that time, my whole outlook has changed. When I sat down to make my 2018 goals around this time last year, I put the one on there that's always on there. To keep up with author contacts and make new ones. I did do that this year, but my eyes were also opened to the idea of having a writing community. It started at the tail end of 2017 but this year I have made actual friends, have found people who completely get me, get why I write, love my stories and are helping me grow. And I'm doing the same for them.

And it's great, it's amazing because I've finally got to a point where I'm realising one key fact: being an author doesn't have to be isolating. It doesn't have to be me vs them. It's about having a community that works together. You don't have to be alone and you don't have to be isolated. You do have to be thinking about lost sales because another author you know did well this month. There are more than enough readers to go around. I know that this year I have felt so much more connected to the reading community, but also the writing one, because I've networked, but not in the way where it's a negative thing, in the way where we all win, where I've made friends and I've read amazing books. I have a CP who writes bloody amazing books and loves reading mine. I've made connections with readers because of my Friday posts and because of the community I'm a part of.

So when you're thinking about how to do things, how to reach out in the author community, be aware and remember that it's not you vs the rest of us. It's all of us, doing what we love and having fun doing so. You don't have to be alone, whether that's on Twitter or Youtube or Tumblr or Facebook. You can be an author and have a group of people who get you, who want to know what you're working on and who cheer you on every step of the way. And you can be part of that group for someone else. You just have to remember that it's not a competition, it's a collaboration. And everyone wins.

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