If you’re a writer and you’re anything like me, you probably spend a lot of time doubting yourself. Is this novel I’m pouring my soul into really any good? How do I go about getting it published once I’m done? Am I really cut out for this industry after all?
These are just a few of the reasons I recommend getting involved in an online writers’ community. Sometimes you just need that boost of confidence; someone to read your hook and tell you, “Wow! I can’t wait to read the rest of it!” Other times you need constructive feedback, networking, or just to hear about a successful author’s story of finding an agent and getting an offer for that debut novel. Someone who will make you think, “That could be me.”
But how do you write that great hook? How do you pick out an agent for your query, and know what to include? How can you discover writing contests and small publication opportunities? Try an online writers’ community.
Communities come in many different forms. She Writes, a community for women writers, is one of the first writer communities I discovered online. It operates a bit like a dumbed-down version of Facebook, where you can send friend requests to other writers, write messages to other members or the community at large, participate in groups, and more. There are groups for everything you can imagine: children’s book writers, WordPress bloggers (like me!), mothers, you name it. These groups provide important linkage for your writer’s website, open up relevant opportunities such as contests or publications seeking submissions, and most importantly–they put you in touch with other writers like you. Exchange critiques, blog traffic, and anything else you can think of.
Another community I would recommend to anyone seeking publication in the immediate or distant future is AgentQuery Connect. It’s a one-stop shop for writers wanting to find out more about the querying process, the ins and outs of representation, and it even has an agent directory.
It’s more than just a drop-in place to dig up information. AgentQuery Connect is also a living, breathing community of writers both established and emerging. Get help writing your query, and post it for critique; learn how to write a synopsis; there are even closed forums for which you must apply where you can exchange and critique one another’s manuscripts. And all of this–like most online communities–is free.
Another community for the really dedicated writer has popped up on my radar lately, but I was dissuaded by the rigorous registration requirements: Author Salon, a commercially-minded author network where you can supposedly get recognized by agents and editors. If it’s worth it to you, give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Hope this helps you isolated writers out there feel a little less isolated, and at the very least, these are great places to meet people and socialize while learning the tricks of the trade.