Today’s Ask Us Pub Questions question is from Coral: Hi I would like to know about making friends in the writing community? I’ve checked your twitters and you ladies seem to be well entrenched in the community with friends and CPs etc. How does a new writer in the community get to that level?
Hi Coral! This question actually has me reflecting a bit. This exact time last year I joined the writing community, and didn’t get the instant friendships and bonds I heard about. And I was so angsty about it 😂. So looking back now and seeing how far I’ve come in terms of feeling like a part of the community has me smiling.
Because I craved being part of the community, I started following writers who were relatable on twitter and DMing some of them. As we found our similarities, friendships gradually blossomed. And before I knew it, writers began reaching out to me too. My blog also helped. I know blogging isn’t big now, but there’s a whole community there. I started commenting on other blogs I admired, following people and soon I found the most heartwarming community there. I love them all so much—Kat, Isabel, Jaya, Jennifer M, and Sarah especially!
And then twitter pitch events (twitter please don’t go 😢) also played a big part. Via #DVPit and #Wiplift especially, I met some of my tightest writer pals right now. And finally path2pub gave me one of the best teams. I’ve mentioned before that one of my reasons for wanting this site and co-Contributors was to belong to a team in the community I adore so much. And it worked! One day I’ll probably write a post on this haha.
So the main point of this long speech is, don’t be scared to put yourself out there. I know it’s not easy—trust me, DMing people all those months ago took no small amount of will. Even participating in pitch events took some pep talks because what if no one likes/RTs/engages with my pitch and it looks so lonely out there? It may also take time, months even, to find those you connect with. But if you really desire to be immersed in the community, you have to reach out and keep reaching until you find your people💙
—Lucia, the Fantasy Writer!
This is such an excellent question. I’ve been in fandom communities for a long time so I have seen my fair share of websites to join these communities. With writing, it’s a bit more complicated. I officially joined the writing community last December after I had finished my third novel and was getting ready to query it. That weekend was #PitMad (rip) and the next day was #PitLight. I started talking to a few people and then slowly I started to bond with other aspiring writers.
Right now I am active in the writing communities on Twitter (which will soon be living us, which is an international tragedy and so sad for me because I have been part of that site since 2008), Discord, and part time on Instagram. I am also in a few Facebook groups as well. I am on TikTok but still trying to find my footing there.
When finding a community, finding what site works best for you is key I believe. There are a few writing resource type communities that are on Mighty Networks, but those do cost money. Once you find the site or platform that fits your needs, look through the hashtags and see what is the vibe. Each community has a system, even though it doesn’t look like it at first. Once you figure out the system, start posting.
But I think it is also important to be yourself as you post. Just because someone is posting a certain aesthetic doesn’t mean it has to be your aesthetic. Being true to you is super important because that is how CPs and beta readers will start to come. Right now, I have two friends who are alpha reading my book and one of them will be beta reading it as well. A year ago I never would have imagined that I would have people willing to read my WIPs in hopes of querying but after talking to people a lot, it just clicked.
I hope my response helps and I can’t wait to see what my other co-contributors say about this.
—Briana, The Mystery Writer
I like this question, since it’s something that I wondered about myself early on my journey. I’m eager to hear what my fellow contributors answer too. I’d say that for me, my first connections were through Storyteller Academy, where I got to learn the very basics of PB writing and where I meet my first critique group (I’m lucky we’ve continued to be friends up to now).
Afterwards, it’s been Twitter which has helped me make connections with the writing community. When I began building up my contact list, I started by following agents, editors, writers, or organizations which are influential in the kid lit community, such as SCBWI, PBChat, 12×12, Rate your Story, among others. Then I would start adding writers that I found in such groups. I’ve noticed that the more you interact with people on Twitter by liking their content or commenting, it creates more visibility with others, which allows them to follow me as well. It was through a PBChat event that I got in contact with my second critique group three years ago, and we still are together. Sometimes, my Cps have been the ones to introduce me to other friends or contacts they have.
As Lucia mentioned, participating in Twitter events was also crucial for me. I used to pitch in LatinxPitch, PitMad, and PbPitch. In this case, I really enjoyed engaging with other writers by leaving comments on their posts or RTing when it was allowed. That sense of encouraging each other was uplifting, as we all shared the same aspirations, dreams and frustrations. I noticed that it was likely that they’d follow me back if I supported them, which was a win when I experienced rejections during these events. In this way, at least I got to make new writer friends and their books.
Being part of groups such as Las Musas or Rate Your Story has brought me wonderful connections and learning. I think this has been one of the best decisions that I’ve made for my career. My agent “siblings” have been very supportive too. We follow each other, boost our good news on social media and we even have a chat to stay in touch and interact. Additionally, joining Path2Pub has been a gift. I’ve got to meet these talented kind ladies (contributors), as well as our amazing readers. So participating on this blog, opened a way to reach people I didn’t know before. I’m very grateful for that.
Finally, I’d say that being active in the social media you choose is key. You need to be willing to interact with others, but also to create content yourself. So it’s important that you decide which platforms you like and in which ones you’re willing to commit time to build them up. I really loved Bri’s answer regarding this idea, it’s spot on.
-Mariana, PB Writer
This is so interesting, because just like Lucia I started to immerse into the writing community and Twitter last year around September and it was during PitMad (RIP). I had just finished reading the Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and under acknowledgements she mentioned Pitch Wars. I had just finished my second manuscript and I was dipping my toes on the world of querying. I had one writer reaching out and helping me with how Twitter worked lol.
Quite frankly, I started joining TikTok and Instagram and hadn’t found my footing quite yet, but I also have found more friends over in TikTok compared to Twitter and Instagram. I don’t post videos of myself talking but I do aesthetics of my books and just music videos with writing quotes that seem to connect with some author. Just like Bri said, I think is staying true to yourself and for me is remembering that most writers started from scratch.
-Alex, Romance Writer
Ngl it was hard starting out because you don’t really know what to do and who to speak to, but I think when it comes to building community it’s important to be willing to put yourself out there and actively engage with others. Like most of the other contributors, I’m active on Twitter and that’s where I first discovered the whole new world of traditional publishing. I found a few users who shared interesting content about writing and their WIPs, and started interacting with them, that’s when they pulled me into group chats and Discord channels and opened doors to a community of fellow authors!
I agree with Bri that it’s important to find which site works best for you though, because Twitter might not be for everyone! I know of authors who have formed communities on Facebook, Discord, Slack, Reddit etc., so there are actually plenty of alternatives that you could look into, depending on your own social media preferences. Once you’ve found a platform, try putting out a few posts and interacting with posts that other authors put out 🙂
–Amber, YA/NA SFF!
This a great question! I’ve been part of Twitter’s #WritingCommunity for years & have seen a few “generations” of writers on there. Personally, I have always found my CP’s, beta readers, & close friends through pitch contests. They showed me incredible support for my pitches & I fell in love with their books too! It would start as a let’s swap books & beta read for each other to genuine friendships blossoming. I’ve also made great friends & found CP’s from smaller groups I joined like the #HorrorCommunity. I would suggest tweeting into the abyss 😂😭 & engaging with people until you feel like you have found your niche. Of course, this will be much harder if Twitter disappears, but I’m hoping it sticks around.
Now in regards to Instagram, I’ve personally found it a little harder to engage because I’m not a solid picture taker, but the #findmywritingcommunity on Instagram is magnificent! The writers on there are truly so genuine & beautiful humans too! I would imagine every social media has those special hashtags that help writers connect, we just have to find them. I’ve had magical experiences with these so far. I’ve also heard of a lot of people finding great friends & CP’s by tweeting about it. Of course, there’s risk with that because we don’t know who will interact with the tweet, but I have heard of great relationships blossoming from engagements like that too. I think there’s no “wrong” way of doing social media. Whatever works best for you to find your perfect CP’s & friends, but hopefully all of these incredible opinions from my fellow contributors will help too! Good luck!😊
—Demri, The Horror Writer!