Friday, May 17, 2024

Community – #AmWriting #MFRW #ERWA

Pensive  author

Image by Victoria from Pixabay

Many people assert that being a writer is a lonely profession. I beg to disagree.

For me, one of the most treasured aspects of my writing life is belonging to author communities. Having been in the book business for more than two decades, I know dozens of other writers. Of course, “know” has come to have new meaning in the Internet age. I’ve met a handful of my colleagues in the flesh. I’m connected with the rest only digitally.

Still, in many cases, I feel as though I do know who they are. I’ve read their books. I’ve hosted them on my blogs. I’ve answered their questions in writer’s forums and had them answer mine. I’ve talked to them (online) about their dreams, their disappointments, their private desires. I belong to a stellar critique group through the Erotica Readers and Writers Association (ERWA) where I’ve received invaluable help with my works in progress. I hope the feedback I’ve provided on others’ tales has been equally useful.

Each of us has our own genres, styles, favorite topics and pet peeves. Our commercial success varies widely, from people who make their living from their publishing to people (like me) who are happy with any sales at all. Still, we are united by a common passion for weaving stories and building worlds.

I’m deeply grateful for these people. They’ve given me a lot of concrete assistance. For instance, I have a list of fellow scriveners who have agreed that I can send them my media kits when I have a new release. Some of them put up blog posts, share my information on social media, or mention me in their newsletters. With my limited royalty income, I can’t really afford to pay for a lot of advertising. My author friends help me get the word out without breaking my budget.

I try to provide reciprocal help whenever I can. I support new writers with technical and publishing advice and informal critiques. My blog is always open to other authors. (If you’re reading this and want a blog spot, just contact me by email. I’d love to host you.) I read my colleagues’ books when I can find the time, and I do my best to review whatever I read.

Even more than this practical support, though, I appreciate the connections I’ve forged with my author friends. We carry on long, philosophical email conversations. We cheer each other up when we get bad reviews, or get screwed by Amazon, or have health challenges. I probably spend as much time each week interacting with my online writer community as I do talking to people in the “real world” (though due to my work schedule, my authorly life takes place almost exclusively on weekends). My life would be far poorer without these people.

So if you’re part of my community, and you are reading this – thank you! Keep in touch with me, please. Don’t be shy about asking for help. And keep writing. That’s who we are.

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