Writing a book is a process that can be both exhilarating and exhausting; after all, an extraordinary amount of time, energy, thought, money, and effort go into it! With all that’s involved, authors often underestimate one crucial element: the author support group. What is an author support group? It’s the group of people you find (or create!) that will serve as your sounding board, cheerleaders, confidants, constructive critics, and biggest fans.
Author support groups are unique to each individual. For some, their author support group may consist of mostly friends and family… people who know them personally and want to see them succeed simply because they care about them. For others, their author support group may take the form of other authors who are, or have been, in the same boat and can talk about the writing and publishing process endlessly. And for others still, their author support group might be a mix of personal and professional contacts. Whatever shape your author support group takes is great! Just make sure you have one.
Why is it so important to find the group of people who will be your support while writing, publishing, and publicizing your book? Simply put: writing a book is a big deal! Just as marathoners are cheered on by their support group and new parents benefit from a support group as they embrace their new role, authors, too, will find that they are more motivated and successful when they’ve surrounded themselves with a support group that knows and understands their goals.
When identifying your group, start with those closest to you, which family members and friends can you count on to give you honest advice and feedback while offering unwavering support of this dream of yours? Loop them in and let them know that you are writing a book and would love their support along the way. That support might come in the form of encouragement when you hit a bump in the road, or maybe it’s word-of-mouth marketing about your book. As you begin to build your email lists and social media pages, as well as other elements of your author platform and brand, these will be the first people you add.
Once you’ve taken the first bold step of letting the people in your life know about your endeavor, branch out to see where you might find like-minded people who you can add to your support group. Are there local writers’ groups? Perhaps there are connections to make at your local library or bookstore? And don’t forget to take your search online – especially now, in the age of all things virtual – to check out Facebook groups for writers which will connect you with authors. You can share tips and tricks, resources, experiences, recommendations, referrals, opportunities, lessons learned, and much more in these groups.
Don’t forget: it’s just as important to be a supporter as it is to be supported. By creating your own author support group, you will hopefully be forming a team of genuine connection and admiration that will help you in all stages of the writing, publishing, and marketing process. As writer Robert Ingersoll once said, “We rise by lifting others.” So lift and be lifted with the help of your author support group.