I have been writing since 2003, and every year since I started, I have been in some form of online writing community. When used well by the members, they are invaluable. Here are my top pros and cons for writing communities…
Positive Reasons to Join an Online Writing Community
1 Grow and Manage Your Professional and Personal Writers Network (and make New Friends)
One of the strongest ways a newly published author can grow awareness of their book is through their professional and personal network. If they’ve done their preparations right, they will have started growing this whilst still in the first draft stage of their book’s production cycle. Once you know other authors and writers, there are several ways they can help you grow awareness of your book(s).
2 Open the Doors to Cross Promotion
One of the things knowing other authors and writers can result in is cross promotion across their readers/followers and yours. The guys at Sterling and Stone do this very well with their podcast, as they often invite others onto their show to share experience for writers. By doing this, you and your friend can grow awareness of your own projects to a larger group of people. Ways of cross promotion include guest posting (like I am here), being on podcasts, promoting each others’ books to email lists, sponsorship and sharing valuable content of others.
3 Discover Valuable Resources (with Less Work)
Ever had to scroll through several pages of Google for the most recent answer to a question? Me too. Often participants of a writing community will share links to online resources that can help other members of the group.
4 Get your Questions Answered
When people get stuck, they are more likely to ask someone they know than a stranger for help. This happens in online writing communities - members have the ability to ask others (that they can then check out to see if they know what they’re talking about) for answers to their questions or difficulties.
5 Learn from Others Ahead of You
Writing communities are invaluable - you can’t put a price on learning from those ahead of you in your chosen industry or passion. Writers and authors are some of the most friendly people around and are happy to share their experiences and knowledge. It’s better than university!
6 Find a Mentor
Several notable entrepreneurs I follow online are what I consider to be my virtual mentors (people online who are knowledgeable about a skill and that share this knowledge with others). Authors and writers can also benefit from mentors. Teaming up with another writer to learn from your experiences and theirs is the fastest way to achieve the success you want as a writer/author.
7 Find Beta Readers
Once you’re an established face in the community, regularly interacting and helping others, you may be able to ask if anyone would read through your current work in progress for feedback.
Negatives for Joining an Online Writing Community
1 Sometimes there’s a Membership Charge
Not many, but a few writing communities you will find online charge for the pleasure to be a member. This is a huge topic and not one I’m going to go into a lot of detail for in this article. Simply put: some aren’t worth it, whilst others are depending on the active members.
2 Can Take More Time Than it Should
If you start spending too much time engaging with others in the community, you may find you’re spending less time writing your book. Whoops!
3 You Don’t Always Have the Ability to Contact a Member Directly
This one ties into networking. If you are trying to get the attention of a specific member (perhaps to ask to have them be a guest on your blog), sometimes it is not easy to achieve. This is especially a situation when you can’t find them on social media, or they don’t have a website and they’ve gone quiet in the community.
Over to You!
What are some of the benefits and negatives you’ve discovered as a member of a writing community online? Share in the comments below!
PS: Want to know how to get started benefitting from a writing community once you’ve joined? I have the perfect resource for you as a special thank you for reading! :)
About Drae Box
Drae is a multi-passionate entrepreneur that can be found sharing helpful content for authors and entrepreneurs online and through her email list. Her mission in everything she does is to help others’ projects to succeed. Alongside providing web hosting and forum designs for your projects, Drae is also the author of The Royal Gift, the first in her fantasy flagship series for young adults. You can download The Royal Gift for free to enjoy on Kindle and Kobo until 2018. Nook users can download it from Kobo to get it free too :)
Find Her Online at:Draebox.com - the oldest part of her brand and were she offers her services and courses.
Drae Box Books - her author site and the main area where she provides valuable content and exclusive resources to authors and entrepreneurs through weekly articles and the email list.
wrpgs.net - the newest part of the Draebox Network, wrpgs.net is Drae’s upcoming podcast aimed at helping authors and forum-based roleplayers by interviewing authors and game creators, sharing useful resources, giving away valuable assets for your projects and more. Launches in 2016.
On Social Media
@Draebox on Twitter
Drae Box on Google Plus
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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