It didn’t work.
I quickly learned that I wasn’t a part of the community of my peers. They had grown up together and had been in the same classes for years. I just simply wasn’t able to compete with that. So I found my own community online.
My first experience with community was with the online art community. I wasn’t a great artist, but I drew every chance I got and starting posting my pictures online on an art website. I then searched for other artists with similar interests and commented and liked their art. Because of my effort to connect with others I soon had people commenting on and liking my art too. I had built my own little group in the art community of this website.
So how is this relevant for you as an author? Well let’s break it down:
- I found a place where people shared my interests. For you as an author this means paying attention to where your audience meets. If you write about how to knit, you should look for places where those who like to knit get together (which may not be online). If you write horror stories for teens you should look not only for where teens gather but also for places where teens gather to talk about horror. There are communities everywhere for all interests. Spend the time discovering your core interests and research groups that share them.
- I didn’t waste my time where my interests were not shared. If you have been on a social media site regularly for a year, following all the best practices, and are still not getting interaction with others, you are probably on the wrong platform. I know this can be a shocker coming from a social media manager, but it is more important to focus your time on tasks that connect you to your community then trying to be on every social media site in existence. It is better to be a valued part of a community in a few areas then to be everywhere.
- Becoming a part of a community takes time. I did not become a valuable part of the art community or the publishing community in one night. It took lots of time to build connections and grow relationships just as it always has. The internet and social media make it easier for us to connect with others and find our community, but they do not replace the value of time spent connecting.
- Becoming a part of a community takes effort. To get to the point where I had other artists commenting on my work, I had to first do a lot of commenting myself. It is important to remember that not only did I have to comment on others’ work, I also had to find artists who where creating things I enjoyed and I had to spend the time to come up with valuable feedback. A community cannot be built on only comments such as “I like this post” or “great job”. Expand on those ideas. What did you like about the latest blog post a reader shared? How do you feel about the subject your fellow author is speaking on? Share value and you will get value in return.
So while the holiday season is bright, take the time to find and connect with your community. Invest your time because your book is worth it. And more importantly, you are worth it.
"Becoming part of a community takes time ... and effort." Read more by @K8Tilton http://goo.gl/DyI1v2 #Authors #Writing #SocialMedia
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