I will start with the Naysayers, the No-Nos – the Negative Nellies (no offence to Nellies).
If someone points out errors, don’t sniff; listen – this is valuable feedback, can they help improve your book? If you trust them, ask for help. They may surprise you!
- If they simply sniff, look disinterested or criticise – smile 🙂
You cannot control another person’s mind (except in certain SF/F/H of course – then you can).
And you cannot see into another person’s thoughts (ditto above – although sci-fact isn’t far off the sci-fi – MRI scans can ‘read’ spatial awareness [look for the Tennis Test].
Everyone (including you) has their own internal dialogue running – mine goes like this: can I see this screen? Could do with altering brightness, Gosh it’s hot today!, wonder if I really want chicken kiev for tea… need to catch-up on Humans before Saturday – what blog shall I do for this weekend, need to read those saved posts and so on.
So don’t absorb someone’s running programme and if they are not interested or too negative >> shrug. It doesn’t distract from your achievements. And you don’t need their approval. Support is wonderful but this is your life, your dream – own it.
Supporters then… it’s simple >>> find like-minded people.
Your family/friends may be wonderfully supportive but do they ‘get it’? Do they really understand when you waffle on about this great line you wrote or a new character? Maybe they are just being polite. You need writers. It’s like working at a shop and going home to off-load about customers or deliveries to someone who works in a factory packing sweets – there’s some common ground but neither of you can really ‘get it’ so you need others like you, doing what you do to share, sound-off and give honest critique.
And where are these like-minded people? They are like you, doing things like you: reading books, articles, watching TV/films, using Social Media, in groups of others with similar interests.
- If you use Facebook – look for them – search for groups. It’s not easy because groups can be called anything. A group called ‘The lost raiders of Ork’ may be exactly the right match but you can only find them by the group name, via friends or associations.
- Twitter is great too, practice & use # to share with others.
- LinkedIn has specific writer’s groups where you can join debates, ask questions and share ideas with other writers.
- Go to events. Even a local book club can lead to great connections. Ask someone to go with you for emotional support. But you don’t want to drag them along and see them be Bored. That isn’t any good for you or them. You want to be surrounded by like-minded people who can acknowledge what you have done well & tell you when something isn’t that good.
- And if you have time & the energy – Start groups yourself! Invite your friends and ask them to share it. *Make sure you have rules at the outset! And you will need to control it.
Join both Writer’s and Reading (Interest) Groups. Be careful that you don’t join one that simply spams or hard-sells – nobody will be watching – you need connections.
All of these are options. You don’t have to use all of them. Pick what works for you and at a pace that suits you. If you can only spare an hour every other day – use Social Media. If you only have one free evening – look for social meetings.
There is no rush, it’s not a race. Don’t set yourself too many goals.
The ‘trick’ isn’t a trick at all. You are starting new relationships. The basics are = Be Nice. Be friendly with others, share ideas, be open to listen/comment, don’t hog the limelight. Be patient & polite.
And don’t stress if a particular group isn’t to your liking. Stop using it/going.
I joined lots of Fb groups then realised all the posts were authors hard-selling their own books. It was relentless and boring. A constant stream of ads. I was brave and when no one was looking, I clicked on ‘unlike’. Thunderbolts did not strike my house, there were no nasty comments about me – phew!
so: GET Out There! Nod to the nellies, smile and walk away & find people who you can share with 😉
Here are some great FB groups:
The Bookshop Café – very friendly group, over 3000 members who talk about books, reading & more. There is also a linked group called: Writers’ Circle for any authoring queries.
British Science Fiction Association (obvs for those writing SF/F/H) – you can post one ad per week as long as you actively involve in posts/comments.
Writer is a FB generated group but great to meet new people – then go and send them a friend request!
The Alliance of Independent Authors – full of great articles/advice & they run on-line competitions, offers and events.
Writer Beware – essential for keeping ahead of scams that target writers, eg ‘publishing houses’ that just want your money.
~~~~ well have fun making new contacts & of course feel free to friend request me on Facebook: Elizabeth Haley-Wood is my main page & you can like my author page too: Lizzie HW
bye for now!