I recommend the group to writers who are just getting their feet wet in this business. It's a great way to get new blog followers and members are helpful and kind.
When I was feeling pretty down on the whole online book world recently, I found it uplifting to to visit a community where people haven't forgotten the Golden Rule.
Evolved, generous spirits tend to attract other evolved, generous spirits, and that is what what Alex J. Cavanaugh has done. He volunteers with literacy programs and is always looking for ways to make the world a better place.
Today he's going to talk about how to create a blog community of your own.
Yes, I'm always telling you not to market your books exclusively to other authors, but the first step in building platform is to network and build a solid core of online friends. Connecting with a group of writers in similar genres can benefit your career in many ways. Not only can you prop each other up during tough times, but you can publish anthologies
, put on joint 99c sales
and and team up for newsletters. Writers need writer friends. Forming your own community can pay off in huge dividends later.
Creating an Online Community
by Alex J. Cavanaugh
When I first began blogging, I was one lone writer. Little by little, I discovered other bloggers and writers and began to immerse myself in this awesome community. Through events, blogfests, and memes, I connected with others.
And I noticed something – writers are an insecure bunch!
Most writers are quick to offer encouragement and support of one another. I started to wonder if there was a way to focus that positive energy and make it even more powerful. I wanted to bring everyone together as a group and let other writers know they weren’t alone.
Thus two years ago the Insecure Writer’s Support Group was born!
Its purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting schedule: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.
The success of the group has exceeded all expectations. Every month there are so many touching posts as writers bare their souls, followed by a slew of encouraging comments. Sometimes writers post encouragement, providing others with hope. Now three hundred strong, the group has come together in ways I never imagined.
Groups and communities like the IWSG are where we connect and thrive. Other groups have risen, including the Indiebles’ Indie Day, where writers and bloggers can come together and share their wisdom, knowledge, and experience. It’s a powerful force.
There are five ingredients and steps in creating a successful group:
- In any group, there are those who participate and those who facilitate. You get more when you are directly involved. Whether organizing or teaching or leading – you learn and benefit. You are able to give back. This benefits you in countless ways.
– There has to be a purpose and meaning behind the group. What can you and the other members offer? How will everyone benefit? Is there a real need that can be met?
–Do you have the time? Plan it out first. Perhaps get feedback from a couple key blogger friends. Make sure you think of every aspect and how long it will take to implement. Setting up the mission statement, sign up lists, badges, pages or group blogs, etc. – it all takes time and a commitment.
– Entice others to get involved not just with the group but with each other. This starts with you first. The leader must be involved. He must promote and uplift more than anyone else and set the example for others to follow. Find ways to actively involve the members.
5) Keep it going
– Never lose the passion. If the leader loses it, the group falls apart. Delegate where necessary, because you can’t do it all. Evaluate members and make sure everyone is participating. Continue to promote and encourage. Be prepared for growth and adjust for it.
The IWSG has been a huge blessing to me and all who’ve participated. The comments and emails of thanks often pour in as writers tell me it’s their favorite day of the month. I’m no longer able to visit every single post (despite rumors I have clones) and have three rotating co-hosts every month. The group has grown large and I’ve already made plans to take the next step up and propel it into the future by setting up an IWSG dedicated site.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He's experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.
For more on creating online communities check out this post by Alexis Grant
on Jane Friedman's blog.
Are you part of the IWSG? Have you ever thought about starting your own online writing group? Have you been bullied or treated rudely in other online communities? What other communities can you recommend that are friendly to new writers?
CassaStorm by Alex J. Cavanaugh
From the Amazon Best Selling Series!
A storm gathers across the galaxy…
Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.
After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.
Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…
“CassaStorm is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.
” – Edi’s Book Lighhouse
"Cavanaugh makes world building on the galactic scale look easy. The stakes affect the entire known universe and yet Cavanaugh makes it intensely personal for our hero. The final installment of this series will break your heart and put it back together.
" - Charity Bradford,
science fantasy author of The Magic Wakes
BARGAIN OF THE WEEK
2 Bestselling Thrillers for the price of one
"Slick and sexy. All the sure elements of a big seller written by pros who know how to tell a story." --Publishers Weekly
"Delivers the goods: thrills, gut-churning suspense, nightmarish terror. Ruth and Michael Harris have delivered another great read and sure bestseller. I dare you to put it down!" --Bob Mayer
The Harper's Bazaar UK Short Story Prize
is open to all writers. NO ENTRY FEE. Are you the next Dorothy Parker or Anita Loos? Submit an original short story (up to 3,000 words) on the subject of 'spring' to:email@example.com. The winning entry will appear in the May 2014 issue. Its author will be able to choose a first-edition book from Asprey's Fine and Rare Books Department to the value of £3,000 and enjoy a week-long retreat at Eilean Shona House, on the 2,000-acre private island off the west coast of Scotland where JM Barrie wrote his screenplay for Peter Pan. Deadline December 13th.
The Rumpus has launched the Weekly Rumpus
and is calling for submissions. They are interested in "sharp, fresh, original work that grapples with life as it is really lived and felt in the world today. We want writing that walks on a wire, questions conventions, conveys a vision." 1000-6000 words. Here's their submissions page.
Quirk Books "Looking for Love" contest.
They offer a $10,000 prize for the best quirky love story of 50,000 words or more. Visit the Quirk Books website to download the entry form or for further information. Quirk Books was founded in 2002 and publishes around 25 books each year. Their bestselling titles include Pride and Prejudice and Zombie
s and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
. Entries close October 1.
is now advertising bargain books to close to a dozen countries, including the US and Canada.
Make sure your book is under $3.99 and provide links to all stores, not not only Amazon (unless you're in Select.) Ads go for as little as 10 bucks.
. I've signed up for the new US version. If you like bargain ebooks, this is a great free service.