In the competitive and often solitary world of writing, finding a supportive community can be a game-changer for authors. Being able to reach the reader often means collaborating with other authors. Black Château Enterprises understands both the need to form a strong writing community as well as a vast reading community. The power of an author’s network is two-fold. When leveraged together, the sum of the two parts of an author’s network has a greater value than you may initially think. Let’s break it down.
Why Is Community Important?
It is my experience that authors who are successful tend to “get it”. Often, new authors or those unfamiliar with the writing community and publishing world are a bit taken aback by the ins and outs of the value of community in their new writing world. I have actually heard new authors “bad-mouth” writers’ groups as they felt they “only preached to the choir”. That newbie author did not look beyond the veneer of that group to see the significant influencers who were part of that community, how the organization’s experience and resources ultimately impacted readers, and how the networking opportunities could lead to lasting friendships.
My first bit of advice is to be open to writing groups and membership organizations — especially those who might be genre or area specific. Some of my favorites are the Horror Writers Association for dark fiction authors. In Southern California (or heck, even if not as they have members from around the world) then check out the Independent Writers of SoCal. The list goes on and on. Do some research and find something local or genre-specific that suits your goals as a writer. The important point is to find your tribe to take advantage of events, group activities, and the benefits that come along with membership.
Writers Conferences and Retreats
Conferences and writers’ retreats serve as invaluable platforms for authors to broaden their professional networks, gain industry insights, and find camaraderie in the often-isolated world of writing. Events like The BookFest exemplify this by bringing together a diverse congregation of authors, industry professionals, and book enthusiasts, facilitating a dynamic environment ripe for networking, learning, and collaboration. Authors have the opportunity to engage in enriching panel discussions, attend workshops, and connect with peers, offering a sense of community and support. Plus, with a day entirely dedicated to readers, the reading community is also engaged.
Similarly, WriterCon in Oklahoma City serves as another prime venue, where authors can immerse themselves in an atmosphere of creativity and shared knowledge, forging connections that can lead to future collaborations, mentorships, and a deeper understanding of the literary landscape. This past year WriterCon introduced ReaderCon to help bridge the writers and readers in their local area, too.
The Evolution of the Author Network
The core foundation of Black Château is based on the strength of community. This is how the bundle of services known as the Author Network came to be. The idea of authors joining together in a network to elevate their books collectively is the keystone of that philosophy. Authors who engage with this service find themselves part of a vibrant community that’s committed to their success.
Group giveaways and listicle promotions are some of the other aspects of the Author Network. With several books bundled together the reach is often wider, the audiences much larger, and the advertising dollar stretches farther. To use an old catch phrase, “you get more bang for your buck”.
In general terms, authors who collaborate with others on promotions tend to benefit from this strategy. I know of romance authors who regularly share email lists, do cross promotions, and are very supportive of each other. Depending on your genre, there might be pocket communities like this waiting for you to join them.
Lots of Bookish Events
Jingle Books and The Beach Bound Book Bash are two annual events designed to celebrate authors and their works, creating a festive atmosphere that encourages camaraderie and mutual support. Authors get the chance to showcase their books, connect with readers, and network with other writers. It’s about building relationships and enjoying the journey of authorship together.
Beyond what Black Château creates as events, there are other online and in-person events that authors can participate in. My recommendation is similar in strategy to finding writers organizations. Authors can seek out local opportunities as well as genre or book specific events.
A local book fair is a great opportunity for an author to connect with readers in their own community. Even a farmer’s market, county fair, or craft festival might be a good fit depending on your genre.
If your book is pop culture related such as a graphic novel, then consider a pop culture event like ComicCon. If your book fits specific demographics like health and wellness, business, spirituality, etc., then spend some time searching for events with those themes that you may pitch yourself to speak at. Even if you can’t secure a speaking spot, purchasing a table or booth space is a good way to get in front of that audience and introduce yourself to event organizers.
How Does an Author Become Part of Thriving Reading and Writing Communities?
First, be open to them. In addition to seeking out writers’ groups and organizations, utilize social media and online platforms to expand your network. There are plenty of groups on Facebook, hashtags to follow on TikTok and Insta, and writers who have banded together followers to form communities that you might want to join. But remember, this is about networking. Join far in advance of your book’s launch. Offer help and advice to others. Support other writers along the way to maximize the power of that network.
Read within your genre and hang out with fellow bibliophiles. If you’re a writer, then you must be a reader. If you don’t think you need to read contemporary fiction within your genre, I caution you to think again. Keeping up with readership trends, popular and evolving subgenres, and what readers crave will give you insights into both your writing and marketing. Plus, as you connect with these communities, you are naturally creating a foundation you can utilize for your next book.
If you want help that goes beyond what you feel comfortable doing organically, then feel free to reach out. Building your author platform, strategizing your email marketing, and your public relations efforts are just a few additional services that can also complement your strategy.
By becoming part of Black Château’s network, authors are not just accessing services; they are entering a community that celebrates them, supports them, and actively works toward their success. It’s a place where writers become part of something bigger, where they can thrive, grow, and most importantly, feel at home. If you want to chat, feel free to reach out anytime.