It's essential, as a writer, that you get out into your writing community and start networking with other writers even before you have a published book in your hands. But if you're just starting out, how do you do that? Where do you go to meet other writers?
- Book launches. Check your local bookstore's bulletin board, get on their newsletter list, and check your local newspaper and community message boards to find out when these are happening. Look specifically for books in your genre that are being launched. You'll have an opportunity to meet the author and, it's probable, that they have writer friends who will be there to support them. When you have a book signed, introduce yourself. However, keep it brief, remembering this is their big day.
- Book signings and readings. Depending on how busy the signing is, these can great opportunities to interact with writers. By showing your support for others, others will be more
- Writers' groups. To find writers' groups, look at your local public library bulletin board, talk to the librarian, or contact a local writing organization. In writers' groups you'll make long-term contacts, receive, feedback on your work, and learn tons from the other writers. A writers' group becomes your writerly support system.
- Conventions and shows. Whether it be a writers' convention or a convention like Comic Con, you'll be able to meet loads of writers. At Comic Con for example, find authors amongst other artists, stop by their table, and chat about their books. Again, always be mindful of their need to interact with readers.
- Local writers' organizations. Here in Winnipeg, we have a number of different organizations for writers' including the Manitoba Writers' Guild and the Writers' Collective. Get a membership, and you'll be in the know for what's going on in your local writing scene from launches, to seminars, to writing markets. Call and ask about opportunities to network with other writers or volunteer at one of their events.
- Classes and seminars. You can find these through local community colleges or writers' organizations. You'll meet an industry professional who will be the instructor and a classroom full of other people like you who want to take their writing to the next level.
- Writers' retreats. Spend a weekend writing and socializing with others who share your passion. Again, local writers' organizations and writers' group will be in the know about how to find these.
- Social Media. Follow and interact with local writers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media outlet you frequent. This can be a great ice breaker when you finally meet face to face.
- Online forums. If you're in a remote area, it doesn't mean you can't make connections in the writing world. There are online forum, including online critique groups. Do a web search and you're bound to find plenty of them. A word of caution, though. If you're an introvert like me, online forums are going to sound more appealing than going to a book launch where you don't know anyone. You need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Will it feel awkward? Yes. Will it feel awkward forever? No. When I started, I knew no one. Now, I look around and see lots of familiar faces when I attend writing events. It takes time, but there is no replacement for meeting people face to face.
Now get out there, and meet some writer people! You won't be sorry.
Have you found a great place to meet other writers? Share it in the comments.
Melinda Marshall Friesen writes speculative fiction for teens and adults, including the One Bright Future series and The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse. She belongs to the Anita Factor writers' group. She's a hard-core introvert who has pushed herself to go out and interact with real people even when she doesn't feel like it.