Ask most people what they imagine an author looks like, and they’ll probably describe a solitary figure hunched over a computer keyboard. There’s some truth to that, of course, but the business end of publishing now requires writers to be more extroverted than many of us are comfortable with. To be successful we’re expected to network, write guest blog posts or blurbs, give interviews, Skype into book clubs, and even do some public speaking.
If local writers’ groups are hard to come by in your area, there are many places on the internet for authors to mingle. Not all of us shell out the subscription fees for paid forums, and it's not absolutely necessary.
I’ve found most of my writer friends on Facebook. I joined several groups on there to begin with, but most boards struck me as a long line of commercials. Read my blog! Buy my book! Follow me! Buy my book! Like me! Buy my book!
Actual conversation rarely happened.
Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton started a Writer Unboxed (Facebook) group in celebration of the fifth anniversary of their blog of the same name. (If you haven’t yet visited Writer Unboxed, it’s well worth checking out. Writer’s Digest has listed it as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers from 2007-2012 and in 2011 it was a winner in the Top 10 Blogs for Writers Contest.)
The purpose of the WU Facebook group is to give writers a place to come together and discuss the craft and business of fiction without the pressure of building platform. I was one of the first members and in October of last year Therese Walsh invited me to join the moderator team.
As of today, Writer Unboxed (FB) has over 1,400 members ranging from respected published authors to newbies to top agents like Donald Maass. This is a community where you can ask an obscure research question and have a dozen answers in an hour. (My question, in case you’re curious, was how one might attach a prosthetic leg onto a rooster in the 1930’s. One of the answers from WU is now in The Oak Lovers.)
If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to come on over and check out the WU Facebook group here. Once an administrator has let you into the group, take a look in the menu marked ‘files.’ In there you can read the rules of the group and add your FB profile, twitter handle, blog, or website to the appropriate places. If you want a critique partner, we have a file for that, too. Any questions? Ask me or any other members of the Mod Squad – Vaughn Roycroft, Heather Reid, or Valerie Chandler - and we’ll help you out.