Are Writers Really A Company of One?

When you are an author, you are a company of one. Kind of.

There are tons of people assisting an author in getting a book published – other authors, their critique group, their writing chapter, plus all the publishing professionals that might come into play. Building a writing team is vital to the success of any author.

What are some things that contribute to a writer’s success?

Believe it or not, good record-keeping ranks high on the list. Sales people are notoriously bad at record-keeping and paperwork and many writers are right behind them. This is a bit funny because writers are notoriously lacking in sales and promotional skills, although I see this trend changing (see the section on branding below).

What do authors have to say about unsexy subjects like record-keeping, organization, time-management and taxes?

This brave new world of publishing demands that an author build a brand.

What does that mean exactly? Simply put, your brand is the picture that pops into people’s mind when they hear your name. For more detailed information on branding, here are some of the best blogs I’ve found on the subject from people who say it far better than I do.

Particularly now that so many authors are going the Indie route with smaller independent publishers or even venturing into self-publishing for their first book, author branding is no longer a “nice to have.”

Read the posts above and take a look at these two books: Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone: A Writer’s Guide to Social Media, and Bob Mayer’s Warrior Writer. They will put you light years ahead of where you would have gotten on your own.

My personal observation is that people are seeking authentic connections and that, by branding themselves, an author is opening themselves up for connecting.

In my own experience on Twitter and with this blog, your Followers and your Tweeps become your friends. We spend time with these people, whether it’s chatting on Facebook, having a Worldwide Book Launch Party or sharing Sunday morning coffee with your Twitter pals (Gene, Ellie, Tiff, Stacy and Catie, you know who you are…and now everyone else does too!).

Seemingly disparate people throughout the world are connecting through social media and enjoying the hell out of each other. It’s a beautiful thing.

Perhaps you don’t know where people are gathering on Twitter.  Fret no more…here’s the list of where my Tweeps and I hang out. This is your invitation to hang out with us. I’m sure if I’ve missed any really cool hashtags, they’ll show up in the comments:

  • #myWANAThis love revolution started on Kristen Lamb’s blog (WANA stands for We Are Not Alone…I’ve linked to the book above)
  • #weWRITE – Hashtag started by Anna DeStefano and Jenni Talty based on their How We Write Wednesday Series. Note: There are no links allowed in this group – conversation on writing only…you’ll have to post your links elsewhere.
  • #PubWrite – these tweeps enjoy writing, sharing ideas and frustrations, and the occasional adult beverage.
  • #amwriting – writers from everywhere hang out here and encourage each other as they write. If this is your hangout, you might also enjoy http://amwriting.org/.
  • #amediting – writers from everywhere hang out here and encourage each other as they edit their works-in-progress.
  • #wordmongering – writers do timed sprints of 30 mins at :00 and/or :30 every hour. This is fun 24/7 and participants say they get so much writing done.
  • #Row80 – Hashtag started by Kait Nolan that I’m gearing up for. This is a writing challenge that lasts 80 days and requires that you publicly post your goal. For more details go here.

What about you? Where do you commune with people on Twitter or Facebook (and why)? What helps you stay organized? Are there groups of writers that you recommend above all others? Please share your discoveries with the rest of us!

~Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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19 Responses to Are Writers Really A Company of One?

  1. Very useful post. The hashtags on twitter are a somewhat hard to find resources for me. I love it when somebody collates the useful ones. Thanks a lot for that!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You’re welcome, Pavithra! They’re hard for everyone to find, which is why I thought I should include some of mine that aren’t obvious like “fiction,” “author,” “writing,” etc.

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  2. Sherry Isaac says:

    Great, Jenny! Now I have more sites on writing to help me procrastinate! LOL. As solitary as my career choice is, I do not write in a bubble, nor do any successful writers I know.
    I’m not on Twitter or FB yet, oh, the shame, but author/friend Joan Swan did a fantastic 3-part How-To series on Twittering featured on Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. Twitter is a summer project, and Joan’s guide will be my pseudo-social media ‘bible’ once I get the heart palpitations under control.
    In the meantime, I don’t write in a bubble. I am in Toronto, but instant messaging with my writing buds in Texas (Gloria Richard) and Colorado (Jessica Aspen) keep me motivated and on task. It could be a distraction, but someone always has a timer ready, and we put our heads down for 45 and 60 minute write-or-die sessions. Swapping weekly goals via email with Gloria, and historical romance author Carole St-Laurent, keep me motivated and organized. Meeting twice a week with a local author gets me out of my jammies, and out of the house, and makes this writing thing feel like a legitimate job, and that change in attitude and self-view has ginormous benefits. And I cannot forget my critique partners whom I meet with every three weeks, and all the other authors willing to trade off critiquing favours when I’m in a crunch. Comments on shared and independent blogs (Romance & Beyond, Wildflower) keep me motivated and connected.
    Hmm. Did not mean to prattle on this long…

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sherry,

      I’m glad you “prattled,” though I’d probably describe it as “shared.” It’s good for all of us to see what others are doing for support so your comment is AWESOME!

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    • Amy Kennedy says:

      Great post Jenny! Already have gone off on many tangents…good ones. ANd thanks for the hashtags — I knew of some and hang at a couple, will be checking out the rest.

      Sherry, I was scared of twitter too, but had to have an account when I was reviewing paranormal romances. Then — I don’t know what happened, I wandered back on. I had 30 followers…er. Then I started tweeting and commenting on other tweets got Great advice from Jenny, and Kristen Lamb and Anne Allen — and before you could say, “What am I doing here?” I had over 270 followers — within the last 2 -3 months. But more importantly, it’s fun! And informative. I get up to the minute info — even did a twitpitch — pitched my book to an editor on twitter.

      The beauty of twitter is you can ask questions — if you don’t know something throw it out there. People are more than happy to help. Okay…I’ll stop now. Jump in Sherry!

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      • Jenny Hansen says:

        Thanks, Amy! I agree on Twitter being soooo much fun. Who would have thought that we could have whooped it up the way we did at the #DevilColony party?

        i’ve only been on Twitter since the beginning of the year and I’m over 900 followers. It happens really fast if you jump in and connect. (Go, Sherry, goooooooo!)🙂

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  4. Jami Gold says:

    Thanks for the link, Jenny! And I think you’re right. It’s all about the connections. 🙂

    *runs off to check some of those organizational posts* LOL!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You are welcome for the link – I love your branding posts.

      The organizational section is not my area of excellence either. I think Kristen might be shocked to find herself listed there too.🙂

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  5. amyshojai says:

    I’ve a tip to add:

    Sleep with your tax preparer. *ahem* At least it works for me and my enrolled-agent hubby. *eg*

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  6. Hey, Jenny. I really like the crowd at How to Think Sideways. It is a writer’s course with a great forum. I recommend it highly.

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  7. A lot of writers are loners. However, they do need other people to succeed. Groups, if done correctly, can take us to great leaps we would never have known.

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  8. Really useful information, Jenny. It is especially hard for me lately to be more organized because I live with friends. I help out around here (long story) and they have a 3 year old who doesn’t understand the concept of working on the computer…he thinks they’re for watching his videos or playing games. So I have limited time…then when I do get a few minutes, I check the blogs and the e-mails and update my own blog etc., etc. of course I could also be procrastinating a tiny bit too.

    If you don’t mind, I think I’ll add this post to my growing list of helpful information to post on my blog today.

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  9. I love having our morning coffee together – even if Ellie thinks you put eggs IN your coffee. 🙂 I’ll stick to the Bailey’s.

    Thanks for the linkage! GREAT mashup….

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That was so funny. Ellie is a crack-up! This Saturday is my wedding anniversary but my Sunday morning coffee hour calendar is wide open at this point. *s*

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