Why You Should Start or Join a Writer’s Group


When I moved to my current city, there was no writer’s group, so I created one. I am so glad I did. I have met some great friends that I might not have otherwise. There is a great sense of community and family between the members of our group. Basically, it’s a small club that gets together once a month at the local library to talk about what we have done as writers, what we are doing now, and what we want to do in the future. It’s great. We get to share ideas and talk about the failures and successes we have had, and in this way, we all learn from each other.

Putting yourself in a room with a bunch of other writers also helps let you know that you are not alone in your desire to write, create and succeed. There are others out there who are wondering if there are others out there, help them find each other.

Another great outcome of a writer’s group can be new collaborations between members. My writer’s group, Skiatook Writers And Poets, (S.W.A.P.) is putting together an anthology that will be released this September at the yearly Pioneer Days Festival. This anthology will include writings from many current and former residents of Skiatook and the surrounding area, and the very existence of this book will help to enrich the culture of our city. I’m proud to be a part of that. As I grow and change as a writer and author, it becomes increasingly important to me to share what I have learned with others, and assist everyone I can as they endeavor to succeed with their own books, blogs, etc. That’s why I created this site.


The Skiatook Writers And Poets group started when I wrote up a one page proposal to the local public library. In the proposal, I asked if I could start a group that would meet once a month to talk about writing. The library approved my proposal and the group was born. Then, I contacted the local newspaper and asked them if they would please run a small feature on our group, which they did, and we had a good turnout for our first meeting, and every meeting after that. The newspaper continues to incude our meeting dates in the monthly calendar of local events, so the group remains visible. New members come and go throughout the year, but we have a solid group that attends every meeting if they can.

One of the biggest things you can do to help your writing career is to continually learn new things about your craft, and starting or joining a writer’s group is a good way to do that. Find out if your town or city has one, and if not, do everyone a favor and get things rolling.


Why Mailing Lists Are Especially Important For Beginning Authors


When you are a Beginning Author just starting out, no one knows who you are. Well, some people do, like your friends, families, coworkers and online social network friends and followers, but unless you are already somehow well known, the vast majority of people on this planet are unaware of your existence. That’s why you need to put together a mailing list. People on your mailing list are people who know who you are and are waiting for news about your writing. Each person on your mailing list will be someone who has intentionally signed up for updates about you and your writing. You will put together this list using automated opt-in forms that compile names and addresses for you, using a service like MailChimp. When your list starts to grow, which it will if you follow the steps I will outline later, you will be ready to start sending out mass mailings to everyone on your list. When you do this, you will want to include freebies like special editions of your book, short stories or articles that only members of your mailing list will receive.

Here is a afantastic article that explains all that in a very good way: All You Need To Know About Author Mailing Lists

I know that’s a lot to digest, but that is the quickest and clearest way to reach your goal of success as an author. You will eventually have a mailing list comprised of thousands of subscribers. Each time you send out a mass mailing, thousands of people will instantly be given the opportunity to buy your book, read your newest post, watch your newest video, sign up for your latest contest of giveaway. You want to continually give valuable things to the members of your email list. This is why people will stay subscribed, and why they will eventually buy your books. The Law of Reciprocity applies, which means that if you continually give and give and give, then eventually, those your are giving to will want to give something back to you. This urge on the part of your email subscribers will manifest in the form of purchases of your books. This is what the big publishers and authors do, and it is what you need to do in order to achieve your own success, too.


There is a myth that the big publishing houses do all the marketing for their new authors and book releases. This is simply not true. What the big publishing houses do is create availability of titles, and arrange for online and brick-and-mortar distribution, make a few announcements in print media and online and sometimes give cash advances to their authors, hoping that money will be invested in advertising and publicity efforts achieved in large part by the authors themselves or people the author hires to do these things. When you are a traditionally published author, a lot of the weight of publicity and marketing still rests on your shoulders. In light of this, I recommend independent self publishing because you get to keep a much greater percentage of your book royalties, which will allow you to spend more on advertising, which you would very likely have to spend anyway even if you did get traditionally published.

When you have a mailing list, it is important to follow through with everything you have promised to your subscribers. If they are expecting a free download of a book or article, you have to provide it, or you will lose subscribers. That means losing potential sales. Create a mass mailing at least once a month that delivers to your subscribers what has been promised, and change what is promised every month, in order to avoid duplicate giveaways.

When you make commitments in the sign-up statement, make sure that you can meet them without fail. Offering something free is a great way to get people to join your mailing list. You don’t even have to give away your own work. You can give away gift certificates, or content collected from free Creative Commons sources. When your potential subscribers see that you are making them an offer, instead of a giving them a sales pitch, they will be more willing and eager to sign up for your list, and later buy your books.


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