Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
Experienced authors know that finishing your book does not mean you've finished your work by any means. It's just beginning. If you want to keep your enthusiasm alive, build lasting friendships and even possibly rack up more sales, knowing how to build and nurture a support network online will help you immensely. This is a very valuable skill in any profession. For writers, there's no better place to start developing it than amongst those who will understand you and your passion most: your fellow authors. And doing so long before your book is published is even better.
Before you dash out to do so though, it's important to be honest with yourself. Do you see every other writer as the enemy, someone that's going to steal your ideas or your publisher or that coveted first prize in a contest or contract out from under you? Are you wondering what nefarious plot they will be hatching next to thwart your success? Do you get jealous when you read they have had some measure of success or accomplished a goal that takes them a step closer to publication and/or fame?
Oh dear. Then you're not going to do well at this networking thing. Unless you are willing to take this next sentence on board.
Your fellow authors are not your competition nor your enemy.
They really aren't. Honest.
Don't you feel better now having lifted that weight from your shoulders? Take a long deep breath to get over the shock if you must. When you're ready to start building your support network, remember: it's not you vs. every other author in the world. They are your comrades in arms, with aspirations and dreams of their own. As a fellow creative, is it not better to embrace that mindset and admire them for pursuing their dreams too, just like you are? There's room for us all. You can celebrate and support that creative spark and the magic both you and they do, or you can waste time fretting and worrying.
Speaking of fretting and worrying: writers can be very self-critical and easily discouraged almost as soon as they put pen to paper at times. Don't we all have days when we need buoyed up or wish we had a sounding board to bounce ideas off? How nice it would be to have that support network to draw upon on those dark, uninspired days! And a lot more fun than feeling some self-inflicted pressure bearing down on you.
There's a wonderful quote attributed to Papyrus which says "Compete with yourself; set your teeth and dive into the job of breaking your own record. No one keeps up his enthusiasm automatically. Enthusiasm must be nourished with new actions, new aspirations, new efforts, new vision. It is one’s own fault if his enthusiasm is gone; he has failed to feed it. If you want to turn hours into minutes, renew your enthusiasm."
Know thy enemy, friends: usually the worst one is yourself. Don't become jaded and let that tarnish your attitude towards other writers. Be excited for them and their journey and they'll become interested in yours too!
I hope I've piqued your interest in building a support network amongst your peers now. Right here at Authors.com is a great place to start! So why not make a commitment to yourself that you'll do three things here every day or two. Create stepping stones towards building that support network and/or supporting your fellow authors. Social communities like this have many, many different sides to them where you can join in. It shouldn't take you long to find something you'd like to comment on or start a discussion about. Explore and discover all those nooks and crannies you haven't yet. Even if all you do is hit the Like button on someone's post as a way of saying you appreciate what they took the time to share, it's a start! :) Chat, blog, discuss, debate, share, watch, comment... there's loads of possibilities right here.
Building a support network doesn't happen overnight, true. It definitely doesn't happen if you don't at least take baby steps towards it. When you do you'll be amazed at how it all starts coming together beautifully and another time I'll share more details on ways to do so. People respond well to kindness, help and enthusiasm.
Go on, make someone's day. :) I'll leave you with the wise words of Mark Twain.
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."