Participating in writing groups is a critical part of an aspiring author’s life. Considering the rising number of aspiring authors in the world who are driven to pursue their writing dreams by the popularity of self-publishing, writing groups have become fairly common entities. These groups of like-minded individuals provide the support new authors need to find their way around the writing and publishing arena.
Writing groups are everywhere yet many new authors still neglect to take advantage of the networking opportunities they afford. If you're new to the writing industry aren't exactly sure where to find and interact with other authors, consider the following:
1. The Library
If you are looking for a place where authors, both seasoned and amateur, are likely to congregate, pay a visit to your nearest library. It has become the norm for local libraries to hold special events such as readings and book signings that attract authors from near and far. Just check with the librarians in your area to find out about upcoming literary events and author gatherings.
Before complaining about the scarcity of writing groups in your area, consider visiting your local bookstore. Like libraries, bookstores are always holding events designed to attract readers and authors alike. So make time to drop by your local bookstore, talk to the manager, find out what literary events they have on their schedule, mark your calendar and prepare to socialize with other authors.
3. Cafes and Coffee Shops
Most writers can’t survive without caffeine in their system. So it should come as no surprise that cafes and coffee shops are common places for writers to frequent. Next time you're driving through your neighborhood Starbucks, ask the barista if there are writing groups that meet their on occasion.
4. Writing Classes
If you want to meet authors, why not indulge in a course designed specifically to attract and educate aspiring authors? Writing classes are everywhere today, whether in a formal classroom setting or via an online medium. If you prefer a traditional classroom setting, most local community colleges offer adult education classes to all levels and topics of interest, most of which are free of charge. If an online self-paced setting is more your speed, then sites like WordPress offer Blogging 101, Blogging 201 and Writing 101 courses. Either way, joining a writing class will give you the perfect opportunity to meet other authors and cultivate writing groups for exchanging ideas and experiences.
5. Conferences and Conventions
A simple Google search should reveal a variety of writing festivals and conventions in your area. These events draw book lovers from around your vicinity and through which you can network with authors and writing groups.
6. Blogs and Author Websites
The internet is loaded with writers’ blogs. Find an author whose posts you like and start following them. If you make an effort to engage with them, they will most likely reply to your comments. You can also check their bio pages for the names of writing groups or organizations they belong to. Visit these pages and you’ll find even more ways to connect with other writers.
Popular within the literary circle, Goodreads is designed like a social media platform specifically aimed towards book lovers. Authors and readers alike congregate on the site and engage endlessly in discussions about books.
8. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter
More than just a platform to increase your visibility as an author, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter allows you to engage in communities of like-minded people. Every author today understands the importance of using social media. So within these platforms you're guaranteed to have access to a wide variety of authors. Also, be on the lookout for Facebook and Twitter parties organized by writing-related groups.
Autonomy was developed by HarperCollins as a means of simplifying the process of finding writing talent. This website is a writing hub where authors can meet to share their work and support one another. More efficient than most writing groups, this website allows you to upload raw manuscripts for others to read, review and critic. You can also review and rate other author's work. Writing groups do not get better than this.
Libboo is a site that enables you to write and even manage the publication of your book. It’s unique because it also allows you to engage and collaborate with other writers from all over the world.
Readers and authors come together on this website to review books, share ratings and give (or get) recommendations. The website is home to a variety of book clubs as well as writing groups.
Clearly networking with other writers is invaluable. If possible, avoid tackling the writing process alone. Seek help where you can. Writing groups and clubs can help keep you grounded and motivated while supporting you through the most challenging times of your writing journey.