Finding Friends and Making Connections in the Online Romance Writing Community
Finding friends and building a community is so important to the self-publishing process. There are so many benefits to talking to and getting to know other romance writers. Self-publishing is such an intensive process that having people to reach out to and lean on can be a tremendous help.
I want to kick off this post by talking about the benefits of making connections, in case you don’t think you’re interested in doing so. I’m an introvert, so I totally get finding it hard to network or connect with other people, especially in situations where I don’t really know who I’m reaching out to. That’s why I really want to convince you up front that you should make an effort to meet people in the romance writing community to help you and lift you up as you build a successful self-publishing career.
Benefits of Connecting with Other Authors
As I said, there are so many benefits to connecting with peers in the romance writing community. I have learned many of these first hand as I have an amazing group of authors I am connected to. The group chat has a conversation happening at least once a day. We all provide support and friendship, making for an awesome group. I even asked them what had worked for them in making connections in preparation for this post. So let’s break down what some of the benefits are.
Support from Peers
I have found the majority of romance authors I speak to or get to know are amazingly supportive. They want me to succeed, they want other authors to succeed, and they want to succeed themselves. Often, your author friends will be the first to share your posts and stories, engage with your social media, and reach out with a congratulations when you have good news. Cover reveals, publication date announcements, and when your pre-orders go live--your author friends will be there to share and be happy for you.
Your fellow authors can be great resources to you in your self-publishing and writing endeavors. You and those friends can share different resources you’ve found and experiences you’ve had and tips on what has worked for you or them. You have someone you can go to if you have questions or want to bounce ideas off of.
Friendships with Similar Interests
Surprisingly, even as a professional editor, I don’t have a lot of friends who enjoy reading in their downtime. And even my friends who love reading, don’t really read romance novels. So one of my favorite parts of of connecting with other romance novelists is that I have people to talk with about the romance genre. Plus, you'll have people to commiserate with when you’re struggling with writer’s block or being put under review on TikTok.
So... How Can You Find These Friends?
When you’ve just begun your social media journey or you’re just now ready to start reaching out to others, it can be hard to judge how best to meet other authors or connect with them.
First of all, just know that almost all the authors in the romance writing community are super friendly (at least in my experience), so don’t be afraid to reach out to people.
Even knowing that though, it can help to know what can get the conversations rolling.
Engage with Posts and Stories
When you comment on posts or engage with stories on other authors’ Instagram accounts, conversations can start. It’s a good jumping off point, and you support another author by increasing the engagement to their account.
Sign Up to Be an ARC Reader
A lot of authors put out requests for ARC readers on their social media. When you sign up to be an ARC reader, you not only get an early copy of a book you are interested in, but you get to support a fellow author and make a connection. You’ll review the author’s book and provide them with feedback, so it will be a great way to start talking with an author. Additionally, you may gain your own future ARC reader for when you are ready to send your ARCs out.
Participate in Challenges
On Instagram in particular, there are often monthly image challenges that feature your book and yourself. Participating in these challenges can connect you with other authors who are also doing them. It will also foster conversating in your comments as you are speaking with others in these challenges.
Join or Create Specific Groups
If you see Facebook groups that look like they relate to you and/or the subgenre you write, then try to join. These groups can be a great resource for you. For instance, if you participate in NaNoWriMo, you can participate in groups that support goals and work towards the completion of the challenge. (If you don’t have an author Facebook page yet, check out this post about how to make an author page on Facebook the right way.)
Additionally, if you don’t see a group you want to join, or you just feel moved to do so, you can create your own author group. You could do this through Facebook groups, or you could make a post on Instagram asking authors if they want to be part of an author groups on Instagram. You won’t be actually be able to create a group as you can on Facebook, but you can host it through a group chat where everyone can ask questions, share advice and good news, or just chat.
Connect with People Other Than Authors
The romance writing community goes beyond just writers. On Instagram, for example, you’ll find book bloggers, bookstagrammers, and avid readers who would be happy to connect and talk with you. It’s great to have connections with writers, but it is even better to branch out with your connections. You can learn more about the community and process as a whole, and you will get great friends who can offer you a different perspective or provide you with different resources. This circle of friends you cultivate can be wide and varied, so you can have amazing connections in the field.
Remember, most romance authors are really friendly and happy to connect with and help other authors. So, no matter how you reach out, don’t worry about if you shouldn’t be approaching them.
Though making these kind of connections can help you tremendously, it is honestly just great to have extra friends who you can chat with. I hope you are able to find amazing people who can be these friends to you.