I am part of a fantastic writing group. The collective talent in this group of ladies surprises and delights me each time we meet and I am blessed to be affiliated with them. We call ourselves the Muse Crew and we have a blast creating, discussing and working out the kinks in each person’s creative works . We are busy developing a joint blog, and there will certainly be more on that when the time comes, but today I wanted to talk about there being strength in numbers.
Earlier this summer, the published members of our group participated in an Author Showcase held at a local library. Four of us were present, each at our own tables, with our own displays of published works. My personal focus that day was to network and obtain contacts, which I did, but in very low numbers. The book sales for each of us was low or non-existent. There were a total of 10 Authors at this event.
For the Holiday Bazaar, we decided on a different tactic and joined forces. We rented a total of 2 tables, decorated them with four distinct yet coordinated areas, and displayed the works of the same four authors. The difference was like night and day. Could it have been that we were one of the only tables with books? Could it have been that the Library next door was having a used book sale at the same time? I would agree it could have been a bit of both, but in my observation, it was also because we were marketing ourselves jointly as a local writing group.
Here are some of the benefits I observed from this particular event:
- Made sales: Browsers were more compelled to look further up the table when told we were part of a local writing group, which in turn generated sales. I found that there were many shoppers who felt strongly about supporting their local businesses.
- Gathered emails: We gave away a door prize including our collective works, and each of us reminded shoppers to complete a slip to enter. We collected over 10 times the email addresses than I had done individually.
- Expanded offerings: A bigger selection of offerings equated into more sales for each of us. If they weren’t into fantasy romance for instance, I sent them up the table to check out Linda’s cookbook, Madelyn’s novel, or Leslie’s children’s book.
- Networking: I was amazed by the number of writers who approached us and asked about our group, truly interested in what we were doing and how. We also sold books to someone who participated in a local reading group, who had some great ideas for reader-based events that might be fun for us to offer.
The biggest benefit to working as a team, is the knowledge that, as a writer, you don’t have to do it alone. There is truly strength in numbers, and I am excited to see where this journey takes all of us!
I recently attended my first local Writer’s Conference, held by the Rochester Writers group, and I have to say…I am hooked! When I paid for a full day of seminars, I had no idea that what I would actually leave with, was months worth of inspiration and ideas that I could put into practice right away. The speakers were excellent and straight to the point, sharing their experiences with things such as finding an agent, whether or not to self-publish, and how to market yourself effectively. If you are serious about writing, here are a few reasons you should consider attending a conference in your area:
- It gets you out of your writing cave – If you are a writer you know exactly what I am taking about and you know that without human interaction your stories and plots would be…well blah. If nothing else, attending the conference gets you out into the real world, interacting with real people. Much better than talking to the imaginary ones you create, trust me.
- It allows you to network with other writers – This is a huge reason to attend, especially if you aren’t part of a critique group who meets on a regular basis. Receiving feedback from other authors and sharing experiences is invaluable as you complete your work and attempt to market it. In my experience, other writers are always willing to help, answer questions, or provide guidance when asked. Tapping into their experience can save you a lot of work in the long run.
- It provides you with writing tools – The topics we discussed ranged from “How to Build a Writing Career” to “Creating Credible Law Enforcement Characters” and the speakers were engaging and knowledgeable. I made special use of the Q&A available during each session, to ask questions about things I struggled with in my writing. As a new author, it helps me to know that these successful authors have been through some of the same issues, and have found ways to overcome them.
- It energizes your Psyche – This is by far the most valuable thing that I came out of this experience with. Being around people who shared the same passion, filled me with a sense of belonging and the desire to continue to grow and evolve as a writer. For me that is priceless.
If you are unable to commit to a conference at this time, I highly recommend that you attend local writing group activities in your area. They typically are held at little or no cost and most actively seek members. Not sure where to look? Ask your local libraries, book stores or schools. They should be able to send you in the right direction. For those ready to find a conference, here are a few links to get you started:
I will be participating in the Hamburg Senior Center Holiday Bazaar with other members of the Muse Crew, and we can help you complete your shopping list for the book lover in your life! Titles include:
Leslie Barrett – Lost and Found (Children’s Fiction)
Judy Bobrow – Carrying On (Memoir)
Linda Grischy – What Real Landlords Know & What to do with Leftover Turkey (How-to)
D.A. Henneman – Sea of Dreams (Fantasy Romance)
Madelyn March – Nature of Denial (Women’s Fiction)
Some authors will be available to sign pre-purchased books (just look for us on Amazon), or will have copies for sale at the event. The bazaar coincides with the Hamburg Library’s Used Book Sale, so be sure to stop by there as well and stock up on your winter reading material! Happy shopping!