So, in my efforts to actually follow my own advice and start building a community, I reached out to Timothy Pike just the other day. He runs a coaching business for writers and has a daily podcast. (His information and podcast are at the end.)
Also, the name of the blog is “The Art of Procrastination.” Seriously, if you know enough people, you can share your work too. *winks* I share this blog with JM -which allows us to switch off weeks and give you better content. We may drag in more guests in the future though, just to spice things up.
Oh, and look for a mailing list to pop up here soon. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that. More great, actionable ideas below.
One of my 6 Daily Commitments That Will Change Your Life is to Join. By “join,” I mean join forces—one day a week, I encourage you to focus on joining forces with other people, groups, or organizations to create community. You’ve probably heard the expression, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This means that we can achieve far more together than we can alone.
Nowhere is this concept more important than in promoting yourself and marketing your book. And by making an effort to build your network little by little, week by week, you will reap the incredible benefits of establishing a community.
So how do you engage people and build a community around your writing? Here are three solid ways to get going:
1. Be more than just a writer. Literaly from day one, you must be 50% writer, 50% marketer. In other words, it is essential that you invest as much time and energy in building your following as you do in your writing. No exceptions. Why? Because a product without any marketing energy behind it is just that—a product. And what happens to products that aren’t actively marketed? They sit in our basements and collect dust, either literally or figuratively. It’s pretty obvious that if you self-publish, learning to promote yourself is critical to your success. But even if you sign on with a traditional publisher, only a limited amount of marketing will be done on your behalf—the rest is up to you. And of course, querying agents in the first place is an exercise in self-promotion. But really, start doing this now, whether or not your book is finished. Once you’re ready to sell it, not only will you have an established following, you’ll also be able to generate a good deal of pre-release buzz.
2. Start a mailing list. This should be among the very first steps you take. Even if it’s nothing fancy at first, starting your mailing list now will do wonders to build your confidence as you get those first few e-mail addresses and realize that people really do want to hear what you have to say. In addition, your mailing list allows you to easily make announcments, distribute your newsletter, and engage fans on your social media pages. The great thing about a mailing list is that it belongs entirely to you, so if you decide to start a new blog or come out with a new product, you always have your mailing list to promote to. Through one-one-one coaching, I help you navigate the myriad options for integrating a mailing list into your blog to start self-promoting right away.
3. Ask for favors. Part of the Join commitment is joining forces to harness the incredible power of the writer community. Its amazing how many people are willing to help you out and have knowledge or skills that can benefit you. But first, it’s important to get used to asking for and receiving favors from people. This can be as simple as asking a stranger in a coffee shop, “Excuse me, would you mind watching my stuff for a moment while I run to the restroom?” Some people hesitate to ask for favors because they don’t want to be perceived as weak or dependent. But it’s actually quite the opposite—others will see you as more relatable for acknowledging that you can’t do everything yourself. As a result, people will feel more drawn to you. Plus, since people want to feel useful and helpful, the experience of providing you the favor will be a positive one for both parties involved—especially you!
So don’t waste any time in getting out there, building your community, and promoting yourself. Once you have finished your book and are ready to sell it, you’ll be glad you put the effort into building your following. In my daily audio program, Dream, Play, Write!, I give daily tips on applying the 6 Commitments in your life, and how they also work to make your writing a success.
Timothy Pike is a blogger and host of the daily audio program, Dream, Play, Write!, which centers around making one simple commitment each day to set your writing life in motion and live a life of abundance.