Being a writer can be a lonely profession, even if it’s just your part-time side gig. Unless your partner or best friend have also written books, they aren’t likely to understand how challenging the entire process can be. From inception of manuscript to book publication to promotion and beyond, becoming an author can be a complex journey.
The good news is there are many writers who are traversing the same path you are, and they feel just as overwhelmed as you do. Following are ways to connect with writers and adopt strategies to support each other along the way.
1. Cultivate Relationships for Long-Term Support and Success – When you get to know others who walk in your shoes, all kinds of magic can happen. This is true for writers, and it’s also true for life experiences. Think about how you have shared connections with coworkers or classmates, allowing you to discuss shared experiences, exchange emotional support, and spark ideas.
Now imagine communing with fellow writers who are in various stages of their own journeys. New writers can benefit from the experience of long-time writers. Long-time writers can enjoy sharing their experiences and gaining new ideas and fresh perspectives. It’s a win for all involved!
The best way to start building these types of relationships is to get involved with writers’ groups and communities. There are many options out there, though we think ours is a great choice! Check out the Nonfiction Authors Association. And keep reading for an exciting announcement.
2. Support Book Launches – Once you’ve established rapport or a friendship with a fellow writer, you can support each other’s book launches and promotions. This can be done in a variety of ways:
- Share announcements on social media
- Publish in your newsletter
- Interview for your podcast
- Share an excerpt on your blog
- Host a book give-away for your social media followers
Keep in mind that when you support your fellow author’s goals, he/she/they will naturally want to reciprocate when it’s your turn for a promotion.
3. Buy the Books – I have lots of author friends and I always aim to buy their books when they’re released. Not only is this an easy way I can show support, but it also gives me a chance to get familiar with their books so I know how to recommend them to others. It’s fun to cheer friends on and look for ways to help them uncover new opportunities.
But note this caveat: Please avoid pitching and attempting to sell your book to fellow writers. This can be a giant turn-off, especially when you’re in a room with several dozen writers and various participants are walking around with copies in hand trying to make sales. As authors, we should be focused on selling to our ideal target audience, not fellow writers.
It’s a different experience after you’ve established a relationship with a writer because you will both naturally want to purchase each other’s books. No hard sell necessary.
4. Recommend to Readers – When you get to know your fellow authors’ books, you can confidently recommend them when an opportunity arises. This can be especially powerful on social media. Let’s say you belong to a Facebook group and someone asks for book recommendations. You can then recommend your friend’s book, which will likely receive lots of attention from other group members. Ideally, your writer friends will do the same for you.
Take a moment to notice the difference in what happens when we recommend someone else’s book instead of our own. As humans, we value recommendations for restaurants, shows to watch, and books to read. But we may not have the same appreciation when asking strangers to buy our own books. When someone else makes the recommendation, it’s more likely to be heard.
5. Write a Review – It’s no secret that book reviews can be tough to acquire, so when you are connected with peers—especially those with whom you’ve cultivated a relationship—you can comfortably ask them to write a review on Amazon or another online retailer.
Think about how the response is different when you ask someone you barely know to write a review. Or you reach out to a group of people and say, “Please write a review on Amazon.” The motivation will be underwhelming and chances are you won’t get any reviews at all. But when you can ask your friend, the response will be quite different. Note that when asking a friend to write a review, you should also request they buy the book on Amazon so the review appears as a verified purchase.
By the way, Amazon disallows reviews from people you share a household with and sometimes people it deems close friends, but their policies do not prohibit you from asking for reviews. They do, however, prohibit you from offering an incentive in exchange for a review—like a gift card or bonus of some kind. You should also avoid only asking for “positive reviews.”
If you provide readers with a complimentary copy of your book, it’s best to instruct them to add a disclaimer to their post: “I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.” This should prevent Amazon from removing a review that it thinks came from a friend and it will keep you compliant with their review policies.
Also note that readers can post a review on Amazon even if they acquired the book elsewhere—as long as they have an Amazon account and have spent more than $50 on the site in the previous year.
6. Enlist Beta Readers – You can opt to give chosen friends and peers early access to your manuscript ahead of publication. You might do this to solicit editorial feedback or simply aim to build some momentum and buzz ahead of releasing the book. Giving readers early access gives you a head start on book promotion, especially if those readers have large networks of their own.
Your author-friends make great beta readers because they want to support you. And once the book is released, they can help spread the word, write reviews, and connect you with other opportunities.
7. Make Introductions – If you know podcasters or media pros, or if you occasionally hear about speaking opportunities and other benefits for writers, you could introduce or recommend your author-friend(s). Imagine the loyalty you will cultivate with a friend who you recommend for an amazing interview or speaking opportunity. And what it will be like when your friend does something similar for you!
8. Brainstorm and Exchange Ideas – A mastermind group typically consists of 5 to 10 people who share similar circumstances (such as fellow writers or fellow entrepreneurs). Each participant is allotted a brief amount of time to share a challenge or idea and ask the other participants for feedback.
I’ve been involved in several mastermind groups off and on since 2005. These gatherings have been instrumental in helping me decide which books to write next, map out marketing plans, and grow my business—all because we help each other brainstorm ideas and solutions.
I’m not sure the Nonfiction Authors Association would exist today if not for my mastermind group. One of the members, who later became one of my best friends, still loves to tell the story of the day I showed up to our meeting and said, “I think I’m going to start an association for writers.”
That group was instrumental in helping me flesh out my ideas, develop membership benefits, create marketing plans, and figure out all the complicated technology requirements. A decade later, members from that group have also become some of my closest friends.
When you connect with other writers on a regular basis (typically once or twice a month), you benefit from not only getting support with your challenges but learning from their experiences. Much of the value I’ve found in participating in mastermind groups is in hearing what the others are up to, what’s working for them, and where they struggle. It’s fascinating!
If you would like to share masterminding time with fellow writers, we have some exciting news!
The Author Brainstorm Exchange is a monthly gathering held on Zoom where nonfiction writers meet in small groups to brainstorm ideas, share their experiences, and collaborate with each other. It’s like having your own advisory board with fellow writers who are walking in your shoes and at different stages in the journey.
Participation in the Author Brainstorm Exchange is free and open only to Authority and VIP members of the Nonfiction Authors Association. You must register each month to attend. (Link is found in your member dashboard.)
Not a member yet? Join the Nonfiction Authors Association!