Writers often work alone and bring the ideas in their heads to the page without the input of a community of readers. Wherever possible, it is vitally important to receive feedback from your main audience while you create your book and then again, when you launch it.
Why is community important?
While building an audience, you receive creative energy and feedback from your readers. Their encouragement and feedback will give you the reminder you need to keep going when you feel like you’re shouting into the void.
But you’re never shouting into the void. Or, at least, the void is more crowded than you think…someone is always reading and watching what you do. They usually approach you at a dinner party and comment on your latest LinkedIn post, much to your surprise. And after you have the strangest conversation with that person, you leave feeling both shocked and grateful that someone is reading your words at all.
Readers are so valuable these days
In a world where it seems like everyone is shouting for attention, it is more important than ever to create a community of people who listen, reflect, and respond. If you want to create a dynamic of meaningful exchange, you have to ask questions, offer help, and support others where you can.
Building a community of engaged readers does the following:
– Provides you a solid sounding board so you don’t go too far in the wrong direction (for too long)
– Builds a support network for you when things inevitably go wrong (a soft place to land)
– Honest and critical feedback on your work that will lead to a better overall book
– A group to amplify your voice when you need them on book launch day/campaign launch day
– A go-to source for reviews on Amazon and Goodreads
– A group of people with whom you can feel really confident in sharing your voice
It’s easier with support
Indie author, Joanna Free and I were chatting via email (we connected over LinkedIn, believe it or not) and she said,
“I keep getting clearer and clearer, and on a visceral level, how important it is for me to be a part of a team. I’ve been unskillful in building one for myself. It almost makes me miss being in a workplace where that’s been done for me, and I can just step into my position within the team.”
When I launched the Knocked Up Abroad Again Kickstarter campaign, I kept saying to myself over and over again, “What would I do without these ladies supporting me? I’d be in worse shape than I am right now.”
My contributors really pulled through and they emailed me daily asking me how I was doing and cheered me on whenever I would send out a status update. They created new content, blogs, videos, and sent off hundreds of emails. Without a doubt, the team we created played a crucial part in our success.
Don’t go it alone
If you pursue crowdfunding or are about to launch your book, don’t overlook creating a team of cheerleaders around you. Nobody should take on 30 days of blogging, podcasting, and in-person book readings without a group of people checking in and cheering you on.
So much of the indie publishing process is done solo but we all fare much better when we have a team supporting us along the way.
Have you created a team of people around you?
What did you feel worked well? What would you change for the next time?