Writers Need Each Other
By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
Alone with our keyboard, every writer creates stories, articles and other types of communication. Yet without readers of those words, the stories have little impact on others. I understand it is hard to get an editor's or literary agent's attention to get your material on the road to publication. Part of this frustration is why self-publishing has exploded with 1.6 million self-published books a year. Yet many of these books are poorly produced and only sell 100 to 200 copies in the lifetime of the book (not a good path in my view and filled with companies who will gladly take your money with poor results).
Early on in my writing life, I learned that other people's input into my writing improved the results. Each of us have blindspots with our writing (no matter if we are beginners or have been writing for decades). Every writer needs an editor to go through their work in detail before it is published. I understand the business is subjective and you have to find the right editor for your work but it is an important part of the process. The best kind of publishing from my experience is using a team of people.
The writing community is an important part of the process. I learned early on to connect with others via email or phone or in person—and to maintain these relationships. I started writing for publishing decades ago in high school on my newspaper then worked for the local newspaper. While I have a college degree in journalism, I put my writing on hold for ten years while I was living overseas and working in linguistics.
Years ago a friend showed me how to write a query letter and pitch magazines so I could get assignments. Then I went to my first writer's conference and met editors and literary agents. It opened the door for my first book which was published in 1992 (and long out of print). One of my writer friends recently showed me a current outrageous price on my first book from a retailer.
When I joined a critique group, my published writing took a leap forward. It was a regular forum to gain insight from readers and also a consistent deadline for my writing. If you have never joined a group, I recommend you follow this link and read the details of how to join or create a group.
There are many ways to support other writers in the publishing process. It might be as simple as being in a critique group with them. Or you could read their book, then write a review. People are making buying decisions every day after reading reviews. It's one of the reasons I've written over 1,000 Amazon reviews because it is a way I can support other writers. You can also subscribe to their newsletter (then when it comes pass it on to others). You can reach out to others with a phone call or email to check in with them—and see how they are doing with their writing. Admittedly 202o with a world-wide pandemic has been a strange year but you can do this sort of networking effort any time and any year.
Look for ways to volunteer and give back to others. As you give to others in these ways, you join the community of authors—and yes giving will come back to you multiplied is my view. I've given you a few ideas in this article. The bottom-line is we need each other. What steps will you take today to encourage and reach out to other writers? Let me know in the comments below.