Writing is a solitary profession, which might be preferable if you’re an introvert like me. But if you want to be a traditionally published author, you have to get along with others: your agent, editor, and other writers.
For a while, I felt that most writers in online communities were in it for themselves, maybe because I was in it for myself. Some online forums came off as pretentious and offered questionable advice. There’s so much self-promotion in indie publishing, and that made me uncomfortable. I hated Twitter, but I felt like I had to make an account ’cause I wanted to claim my name. I didn’t know how to navigate Twitter. I didn’t even know how to begin to connect with other writers. (Hint: hashtags.)
A little over a year ago, I decided to enter Pitch Wars. I put myself out there to connect with other hopefuls through #PitchWars, #AmWriting, #OnThePorch, #BoostMyBio, #PWPoePrompts…
When I miraculously got into Pitch Wars, everything changed. We all had our own mentors, so it wasn’t like we were competing against each other any more. We had a common goal of revising our manuscripts in time for the agent round. Once the agent round came, we boosted each other’s pitches and offered consolation and congratulations. It was the main thing I needed to get ahead in my writing career, and I feel like it was just handed to me.
But the months prior? Getting to know other writers through the hashtags and cheering them on and celebrating their victories? That was the effort I had never expended before, so maybe I was rewarded with a community.
It’s so hard to survive drafting, revising, and querying alone. You need a community. The most introverted, shy, reserved writers have to put in a little effort into finding their people. If you want to try it out on Twitter, utilize hashtags. Reach out to other writers. Joke with them. See who else shares your source of inspiration. (In my case, it’s video games.) The community is what you make of it, so put your best foot forward.
Before such pitch parties, check out the hashtags and see if anyone is giving away critiques. Look out for pre-pitch events like #MockPit or #PreDV, where others will suggest improvements for pitches. (But please don’t DM strangers and demand feedback! That’s really uncomfortable.)
It’s a good idea to announce that you’ll be participating in the pitch party to let your followers know what’s up. (A lot of people will like and retweet, anyway, but eh, they mean well.)
I’m participating in #DVpit tomorrow 😊 Please comment or QT (without hashtags!) to support, and leave likes and retweets for agents and editors.
— Adelle Yeung 👸🏾💕 (@Adelle_Yeung) October 15, 2018
When I announced I was going to participate in DVpit, I was added to a support group, where we helped each other polish our pitches and commented/QT-ed on the day of. If you see others announcing, reach out to them! See if they need help. Or create a support group of your own!
Our DVpit hopefuls group (#DViants!!) supported each other before, during, and after the event. It was a little hard boosting each of everyone’s pitches, but all of the support helped visibility. We celebrated likes from rockstar agents and asked each other questions about agency reputation. After the event, there was a lot of hyperventilating about sending out requests.
In about a week and a half, one of our own got an offer of representation 😱 And lemme tell you, celebrating that moment with someone, when you’ve supported them and they’ve supported you, is such a special moment. It’s so much more fulfilling being happy for someone when you’ve created a community with them. I was no longer pouting on the sidelines, wondering, “When is it my turn?” When you’re in a supportive community like that, their celebration is your celebration.
And it makes it a little more awesome when it’s their turn to cheer for you 😊
So, go out there and make your community! Break out of your shell. Be outgoing. This is your passion! Work for it! (You can always go home or log off the computer and huddle in your little introvert bubble.) Don’t be discouraged if it takes time. Leave an unfit group if you have to. (Especially if they’re toxic, eek. Bail fast!) It may take trying out several online and local groups before you find the perfect fit. You deserve it 😉
It’ll all be worth it in the end 😀