Saturday I once again had the privilege of attending the monthly Writers on the Storm meeting in The Woodlands, Texas. I’ve been a member for about six months, after moving to the state last spring.
This recent meeting was particularly sweet because author, editor, and fellow member Linda Yezak posted an interview of me on the W.O.T.S. blog that very morning.
But a blog feature is only one fragment of the benefits I’ve gained by belonging to this group. And that’s the reason I
push encourage new writers I meet to join real and online groups–and not to struggle alone! In a group of writers, you’ll meet others like yourself as well as established authors who’ve learned the ropes and are more than happy to share their knowledge with you.
At our meeting, a panel composed of several members of our group spoke about changes in the book publishing business. As our W.O.T.S. president, Janice, explained–you know longer have to become published by a big publishing house, Christian or otherwise, to become a successful book author. You might go with a small press, go it alone, or become a hybrid author like Janice who has some books traditionally published and others designed and produced herself.
The panel spoke on everything from using Amazon as an author to the best places for advertising your books to where to look online for the best free professional advice. We learned it’s a good idea to use MailChimp, a free newsletter subscribe service, when you want to start a newsletter and have visitors to your website subscribe to it. (I needed that affirmation to take the first step toward a newsletter myself.) We also learned that all the blogging in the world won’t sell books if you don’t establish relationships with your readers. (Again–newsletter!)
Of course it was mentioned that a great place to join a critique group, attend free webinars, and find a writing group like W.O.T.S. is American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), of which W.O.T.S. is a local chapter. If you’d like to join a local chapter of ACFW, expect to be required to join ACFW first and to pay the reasonable dues for both. If you don’t have a local chapter and would like to start one, contact ACFW.
Next month, W.O.T.S. will talk to its members about the ways to make money from our books. I can’t wait!
I totally agree about the benefits of writing groups. Every once in a while someone will contact me for help on getting published, and one of the first things I ask is, “Are you in any writing groups?” When they tell me no because they are “too busy” or say “I’ll wait until I’m published to join,” I want to bang my head against a table. I don’t think they realize all the benefits of being in writing groups.
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It doesn’t always happen on the first try, but when you connect with the right group, you wind up saving time. Why make all your own mistakes when you can learn from others who’ve been there before? Thanks for commenting, A.J.!