Sunday, November 11, 2018

Four Reasons to Get With Other Writers

Terry Whalin teaching at the Independent Authors Conference
This weekend I just returned home from back to back conferences. I had two days at home between the events. Each one was a completely different experience. 

First, I spoke at the Independent Authors Conference in Philadelphia. Book Baby organized this event and it was their second year. I taught a six hour class in two three hour sessions about how to Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. This session was the day before the conference and included a small group of hungry writers—read fun to teach. This conference had about 400 people.
Some of IAC audience
I taught a packed room about the characteristics of successful writers. The speakers and sessions were on various topics and I met a number of people who I've corresponded with but never met face to face (again fun). Several of the people I met lived outside of the USA so it was a unique opportunity talk with them face to face.

Dr. Sherrie Campbell & Terry Whalin
Then I went to Nashville for our third Morgan James Publishing author event of the year. Our largest group of over 40 authors came to this unique gathering. As an acquisitions editor, I had not met many of the authors who I introduced to Morgan James. It was a brief but intense time with authors and my colleagues at Morgan James. Prior to the Morgan James event, I went to Lipscomb University for the Art of Writing Conference from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

Author Panel at the Art of Writing
The afternoon and evening concluded with the Christy Awards to celebrate excellence in Christian fiction. The timing was perfect for me because of the Morgan James event and it gave me a chance to see old friends and meet new ones.

Our writing is a solitary experience. We sit and crank words into our computer. As storytellers (whether nonfiction or fiction), the start of the process is something we do individually. You don't have to continue alone. We are a part of a larger writing community which has been a large reminder to me again through these events. 

In this article,. I want to detail four reasons for you to attend events with other authors. While I've just returned from some amazing events, I recognize there are many types of opportunities for writers and my encouragement is for you to seize them and take action. 

Here's my four reasons why you want to attend these events:

1. Discover Innovative Ideas and Learn from Others. Whether in a classroom lecture setting or through a one on one conversation, I gained numerous insights from these events. The real work will come as I apply this information to my work. One author told me about how he was a poor typist and uses Dragon Naturally Speaking for all of his writing—including his emails. Years ago I tried this program with poor results so I did not continue yet this insight intrigued me and is something I hope to explore soon in my own work. I have pages of notes and insights from these events that I apply in the days ahead.

2. Invigorate your own writing and marketing. From being with other writers, I gained new insights and marketing ideas. Dr. Joe Malone and Sarah Harris have recently released Battles of the Sexes (Morgan James). They brought copies of their book and gave them to other authors (always a good idea). When I picked up the book, a page was sticking out from back. The natural inclination is to turn to this page and straighten it. This page thanked readers and encouraged them to be in touch with the authors—then it added something more with a handwritten note: “Review on Amazon and Connect with us. Joe & Sarah.” The bent page was brilliant to call attention. It takes some additional effort and work but will pay off for these authors.

3. Opportunity to give and help others. I've had numerous conversations with authors but also the chance to teach and give back and encourage. I will never know the impact of those conversations to help others.

4. Make new connections and renew others. I exchanged numerous business cards with authors at these events. The follow-up work will be critical to continue the relationship and explore new opportunities. If you follow-up, you will be rare since many people never do.

To attend a writers group, you don't have to travel. Maybe you have one in your area. Could you offer to speak at this group? There are infinite possibilities but you have to take action and attend. When you attend, bring your books and business cards to continue the relationship.

Are you consistently getting with other writers? Let me know in the comments below.


Why writers need to connect with other writers. Get four reasons here. (ClickToTweet)

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