One of the things “They” tell authors to do in order to promote oneself is to interact on various writer’s forums. But who are “They”, why would they know, and what does it mean?
“They” first of all, refers to a vast variety of writing advice things. Smashwords, Writer’s Digest, etc…. Anything that tells you how to build up your platform as a writer suggests forums as a good way to do so. This is a way to interact with other writers, get the word out about what you know, and swap knowledge. There are a couple of writer’s forums I’ve been looking at and I’m going to compare them and their usefulness here.
The first is, of course, LinkedIn, as I’ve talked about before. This of course, isn’t strictly a writing forum, but it can be used as such. There are groups on LinkedIn for every type of industry, and the creative writing industry is no different, with dozens and dozens of groups to choose from. I’ve talked before about the usefulness of these groups, but I’ll do it again.
You can find a group for just about everything you might need or want to talk about, and in the writing industry alone this covers everything from the very craft of writing to the marketing to how to deal with the various people and companies you might come in contact with. You can discuss things, get advice from experts, and even give advice yourself when you know the answer to a question. Just like any good forum, you help people and they help you! Sometimes you find opportunities to promote your work, some times you make opportunities, but the important thing about this and any other forum are the things you’re learning from other people that will HELP you be a better writer/promoter/self-publisher, etc.
The SECOND forum is AQ Connect, a forum with special dedication to query letters and agents who are accepting unsolicited queries. There’s tons of great information on this and other technical information that a writer might need NOT pertaining to the actual craft of writing. It’s really a one-stop shop for answers on anything from which e-publishing company to work with to which agents have switched to which company and what they’re looking for. You can also get advice on your query letter before you send it off, to avoid making any… beginner’s mistakes.
LinkedIn and AQ Connect offer varied and valuable information and authorly fellowship that anyone can benefit from in this crazy quest. I hope you find them useful as I have, and if you’ve got any more forums you think people could benefit from, I’d love to hear about them!