The Community of Writers | What Is Your Tribe?
It’s so exciting to have so many friends around the world–writers, heartful marketers like Lynn Serafinn, bloggers, like Kathy Pooler–I’m a guest on her site today–and all kinds of people passionate about memoir writing. I was telling someone about my good friend Sharon Lippincott the other day, and they asked how I knew her. Sharon is one of my colleagues at the National Association of Memoir Writers, and–we’ve never met, in person that is. We have talked on the phone countless times, collaborated, schemed ideas, planned, and even Skyped–so I know what she looks like–but meet? No, not yet. I hope to see her in person when she comes west. But we are good friends thanks to the Internet.
The other day on Facebook I was awed by the number of people responding to the huge beautiful moon this weekend–dozens of people posted about it and added their photos of the moon taken from all over the country. I felt blessed to be connected even in cyber space by so many people and their response to the moon! It is because of social media that we can be connected like this–and though people disparage the cyber space thing at times–every one of those posts I read was made by a real person. And on Twitter–it does not operate by bots, for the most part. The tweets that I read, and I don’t spend enough time there really, are all by real people who are writing, publishing, and reaching out with their message. It’s amazing to see this. There are so many communities online and so many ways to shake hands with people. I’m learning a lot about this attitude from Dan Blank, whose terrific course” How to Build your Author’s Platform” will help you change your thinking.
I know that memoir writers sometimes struggle with “social media” and mistakenly think that it’s superficial or a waste of time. I was one of those people, but no more. When we approach marketing and getting the word out about something important to us with respect, we will receive it back. When we offer something of value to others–in a memoir it’s the lesson, the message, the wisdom that is offered–others will think about how that message affects them. They will get curious and reach out to you.
Lynn Serafinn, a two-time guest at the National Association of Memoir Writers, is offering a conference about what I call “heartful marketing” in London in June–and I’m going! The reason I’m going is to connect with a large community of people who are passionate about having a spirit-ful connection with others, and I want to bring back lessons and wisdom about how memoir writers can shift their attitude about marketing and reaching out from a grudging “Okay, I supposed I have to start a blog and get on Facebook, what a drag,” to curiosity–“how can I make new friends on the web whom I would never know otherwise. How can I learn how to make all this work for me so I grow my community?” See below for how you can sign up.
1. Think about who you already have in your community–friends, relatives, friends of friends. That’s where you start.
2. Make a list of people whose message you resonate with–and what they say that triggers your response to them.
3. Now make a list of well known people–authors, talk show hosts, movie stars–whoever you really admire and like. Look at the review on Amazon of your favorite authors–maybe someone there is a person you can connect with.
4. Remember community is a circle–give and receive, comment and respond. It’s a little like going to a party where you shake hands and find out what you have in common. You listen, and you say a few things about yourself. Not the long form speech about your book, but the two-line elevator speech where you say what it is about and how it can help others.
There. Homework done, but keep making your lists and adding to them. Check your negative attitude at the door, and open up to the grand community we have here on the www–the World Wide Web.
If you are interested in Lynn’s global conference, the early bird discount is available. Sign up here for the conference or the simulcast–it’s very reasonable and easy to attend.
In my local community, I’m teaching a workshop at Beth Barany’s Write and Publish your Book in 2012 on May 19th. A great group of presenters will get you up to date in the 21st century of writing and publishing.
Now, back to writing. Later, I’ll look into Facebook for a few minutes, Twitter for a few minutes, and stop off at a couple of blogs. Just a regular day with my community of writers!