The Power of the Group: No author ever truly goes it aloneby Laura Orsini
How often have you heard that writing is a lonely profession? I suppose that’s true – the writing itself tends to be a solitary pursuit. But have you ever stopped to consider how many people have actually contributed to the success of your book or writing process?
- The teachers who explained who, what, why, where, when, how, and why and taught you paragraph structure, spelling, and grammar
- The first family who set the stage for your early success in life, and the family you built (by marriage, childbirth, adoption, and/or friendship) who support you today
- The muses, mentors, and/or supporters who encouraged you to pursue your writing goals or go ahead and write that book
- The bloggers, authors, reporters, videographers, and other experts who generated the material you used for your research
- The dozens of people you’ve observed and modeled over the years to develop your characters, plots, ideas, positions, writing style, and voice
- Members and administrators of your online and/or face-to-face writing and critique group(s)
- The barrista and/or proprietor of the coffeehouse you frequented during your writing and editing process
- The clerks at the office supply store or people who fulfilled all of your online orders
- The editor who made your words sound like yours, only better
- The graphic designer who helped you create a cover and interior pages to capture your readers’ minds and imaginations
- The typesetter who put your words into proper format for your book
- The proofreader who caught deceased when you meant diseased
- The printer, distributor, and delivery guy or gal
- The ebook formatter and/or audiobook creator
- Your legions of friends, followers, and social media connections
- The early readers who gave you feedback to help you improve the book
- Your publisher and/or agent
- Your web designer
- Your social media instructors, role models, and/or implementers
- Your accountant, CPA, attorney, and other behind-the-scenes pros
- The coaches, consultants, and other experts who filled the gaps in your knowledge
- All of the assistants and other support staff who helped in some measure – large or small – along the way
- The on- and offline book sellers that carry your book
- The audiences and bookers for the speaking engagements you’ve landed as a result of your book
- Other authors – for their camaraderie, challenges, partnerships, feuds, encouragement, and support
- And, most crucially of all, your readers
Do all of these apply to every writer? Of course not. But regardless of how many on this list may have helped you along the way, writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. And anyone who thinks it does, or tries to make it so, is only hurting his or her own development as an author. Sure, we may need our space, our alone time, our isolation in which to create the words on the page. But you didn’t pop out of the womb knowing how to write. Somewhere along the way, you experienced people, things, or events that inspired you to write. And giving life to your words in the form of a book is always group effort.
If you have a finished book to your credit, or yours is still in process, why not take a few minutes to reach out and thank your team, group, or tribe? And if you’re still trying to do it all on your own, maybe it’s time to consider bringing other members on to your team. Think you can’t afford it? Where there’s a will, there is always a way. Barter. Craigslist. Students. Fiverr.com. Ask around. Create a collective where each person takes a role. The group is almost invariably more powerful than the individual, provided you have the proper partners. The sooner you embrace this, the faster you will see success as an author.
LAURA ORSINI is a self-publishing consultant who works with authors who want to change the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Laura is the organizer of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup and the host and creator of the Holiday Author Event, coming up on December 6. She will be exploring more about the power of the group in her coming posts for this group blog. In the meantime, read her posts at Marcie Brock – Book Marketing Maven. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.