By Barbara M. Britton
Have you heard the word platform? Authors are told that they must have an electronic connection to readers in order to make their story a bestseller. Authors toil at increasing their newsletter followers, posting on several social media platforms, and are busy gathering these connections for reviews around launch day. There is reason behind this madness, but the true treasure in writing a story is developing friendships along the way.
I finished my first manuscript fourteen years ago. When I typed my final word, I had no idea if my story was any good, or how to navigate the business side of publishing. Fortunately, I joined professional writing organizations. In those organizations, I found the treasure of bonding with writers. It didn’t matter if the author wrote in a different genre, we all spoke the same creative language and navigated a similar publishing path.
Developing relationships takes time. I forfeited a Saturday morning once a month to drive to a nearby mall and meet with writers. I stayed for lunch to talk shop and gain wisdom beyond what is taught in a single workshop. I took on board positions to keep the love and learning growing. The time I spent with writers formed a bond that is priceless.
When one of our community lost a battle with breast cancer, it was a group of writers standing by her bed hours before she passed. When a fellow writer finally got that coveted first place finish in a contest, it was a group of fellow writers dancing on an empty floor in celebration.
If I have questions, or think what I am writing is unpublishable, it’s my writing friends who talk straight to me. They give me an honest perspective and affirm my writing, or they offer solutions to the plot holes in my manuscript. And when a critique partner asks, “Barb, how are you doing?” I can speak from the heart about life and stories, some real and some imaginary, and they encourage my heart.
Are you starting out on the publishing trail? Here is my advice.
— First and foremost, talk to God every day. Your value is in being a child of God and not in being a writer. Writing is something we do, it’s a gift and talent, it is not who we are.
— Stuff that backpack with memberships to professional writing organizations and get involved with the crazy people who have dialogue roaming through their brain and talk about characters as if they are neighbors.
— Make friends with members of your writing groups. Spend in-person time with them over lunch or working a conference or teaching a workshop. Bonds are formed unloading boxes of nametags and folders. These are the people who will show up when you need help with your story or at your book launch.
— Ministry happens outside of writing. I mentioned earlier about losing a writing friend to cancer. After my own cancer surgery, the first flowers to arrive in my room were from my writing buddies.
— Thank God that we live in a country where we can write about Jesus. Never forget that there is a big picture to life. We need to keep our focus on God when edits, and launches, and rewrites, and discouragement grab us by the shirt collar.
I always tell young writers to put money aside for marketing and swag and the cost of being a writer. The greatest money I ever spent was joining a professional writing organization and investing in people. My writer friends are one of the greatest treasures God has given me.People over Platform? Publishing treasure that is priceless. @BarbaraMBritton #writingtips #writinglife #encouragement #authorlife #ACFWBlogs #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Barbara M. Britton writes Christian Fiction from Bible Times to present day. Her Tribes of Israel series brings little-known Bible characters to light. She also authored a WWI Historical set in Alaska. Barbara has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.
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